Senate Republicans Coalesce Around Tax Cut Compromise

Lauren Victoria Burke/

Republican Senators are coalescing around a compromise on tax cut legislation that would extend all of President Bush’s tax cuts — including on the wealthiest Americans — until at least 2012.

“We need to leave things as is [for] at least two years,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), told TPM this afternoon.

He shares that view with numerous GOP colleagues, conservative and moderate, who are walking a middle path between Democratic leaders, who want to let the upper-bracket tax cuts expire, and the GOP top brass, who wants to extend all of Bush’s tax cuts permanently.“I hope we could agree to a two-year extension of the current law,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters today.

Her Maine colleague Olympia Snowe said much the same.

But if the tax cuts for the rich are extended for two years, that will force Congress to address the issue again in 2012 — another election year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has a solution: extend them all for three years!

“It gets us through the presidential election,” Graham told TPM this afternoon.

It should be noted that before his recent admission that he might vote to let the tax cuts for the rich expire, House Minority Leader John Boehner had also proposed a two year extension of all the Bush tax cuts.

A debate over a temporary extension of all the cuts has been looming for some time. It has the support of several Senate Democrats and even some influential economists.