ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., left little room for compromise on the issue of extending the expiring income tax cuts, suggesting that if they are not made permanent by the end of the year, Republicans should redouble their efforts to do so in the new Congress.
Pence said on Thursday that he was backing up that pledge with legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to permanently extend the cuts for both the middle class and wealthy Americans.
“I really believe that the last thing we should do in the worst economy in 25 years is allow a tax increase on any American,” Pence told ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on “Top Line.” “And we shouldn't do it in 6 weeks, we should do it in 24 months or 36 months, we ought to start the road to recovery by saying to the American people all the current tax rates are the tax rates going forward, permanently. And then we can go to work on putting our fiscal house in order and pursuing the kind of pro-growth policy that'll really create growth.”
There are already several pieces of legislation pending to extend the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, and other members of Congress, like the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., have said they will proceed with similar measures.
Congress is expected to consider the tax cut issue when they return from the Thanksgiving recess.
“If we can't win it in the lame duck session, then I believe Republicans should come back, first thing in January, and pass legislation to extend all the current tax rates, permanently, send that to the President’s desk,” Pence said, “because we've got the American people on our side.”
But the Indiana Republican declined to say whether he would be willing to see some of the cuts expire on Jan. 1 if lawmakers cannot come to an agreement on the issue during the lame duck session.
In his appearance on “Top Line” on Thursday, Pence called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a debate on his bill before the end of the year.
“Let's have a fair up or down vote on extending all the current tax rates permanently,” he said, adding: “You bring the DeMint-Pence bill to the floor that extends all the current tax rates permanently, I bet it'll pass.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus' position on taxes. Sen. Baucus supports a permanent extension of the middle class tax cuts, not a temporary extension of all the cuts.