Congressional Republicans were thrown for a loop this weekend when House Minority Leader John Boehner confessed that, if forced, he'd vote for tax legislation that doesn't extend low tax rates for rich people. But if they're concerned that Boehner might throw in the towel, they're also are assuaged by the fact that growing numbers of Democrats have been joining their side, urging their own leadership to freeze all tax rates, even for the wealthy.
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"So far, the only people stating new positions are Democrats opposing tax hikes," said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, downplaying Boehner's remarks. If the top bracket tax cuts expire, he adds, "hundreds of thousands will pay higher taxes next year. Republicans and a growing chorus of Democrats oppose that outcome."
Over the next several days, Democrats and Republicans will stake out their final positions on the Bush tax cuts. After members return to Washington, the political and legislative strategies they adopt will determine both whether the wealthiest Americans continue to get a break, and the extent to which Democrats suffer a beating at the polls in November.