Republicans from across the conservative spectrum are swatting down a proposal from Democrat Chuck Schumer to resolve the tax cut dispute by ending tax cuts to millionaires only.
"The answer is no," said Sen. John Thune (R-SC) -- the fourth ranking Republican in the Senate -- on Fox News last night. "What you want to do if you believe the best ways to grow jobs and to grow the economy in this country is to keep taxes low and to allow small businesses...to get out and do that, then the worst thing you can do is raise taxes on them, which, if you raise them on those higher-income levels is what happens.
Thune is a contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and his position is reflective of the fact that he'll be guarding his right flank for the next many months.
Moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), however, agrees with Thune
"On the question of the wealthy, it has to get back to economic activity and economic growth and who, as well, pays those taxes, and that is, of course, small business owners, the preponderance of whom file individual tax returns," she told reporters today. "So it does effect them."
Now, Snowe is up for re-election in 2012, and a great deal of speculation has centered on the possibility that she'll face a primary challenge from the right. But she also signaled an openness to work with Democrats on a compromise that most Republicans are rejecting.
In any case, if it was Schumer's goal to get Republicans on the record defending tax breaks for millionaires, he got his way.
Watch Thune on video below: