President Obama announced on Monday that he will ask Congress to pay for his proposed jobs bill by raising taxes on the nation's wealthiest individuals. The news provoked immediate opposition from Republicans, who held that increasing taxes during a recession would hurt the economy.
The tax hikes would largely take the form of an elimination of certain deductions for individuals making over $200,000 a year and families making over $250,000 a year, the Washington Post reports. In addition, the Obama administration said it wanted to close a tax loophole for buyers of corporate jets and end subsidies for oil and gas companies. In all, the administration said the provisions would raise about $467 billion, more than enough to pay for the $447 billion jobs bill.
Republicans signaled quickly that they were against the tax increases, although their responses were often measured.
"We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn’t appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit," Michael Steel, the spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Monday.
There were some signs, however, that Congress could achieve bipartisan agreement on at least some portions of the bill. Republicans have indicated so far that they would support Obama's proposal to cut payroll taxes for small businesses and employees.
At least one Republican, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, acknowledged the widespread fatigue over the gridlock in Washington and pledged to look for common ground. "Let us all try and take a breather and focus on what we can do together, try and lower the volume of rancor here and see if we can get along,” the Virginia lawmaker said.
Still, Cantor made it clear that Republicans are unlikely to go along with any plan that is heavy on tax increases. “I sure hope that the president is not suggesting that we pay for his proposals with a massive tax increase at the end of 2012 on job creators,” he said.