Senior US House Republican sees income tax hikes in fiscal deal

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:08pm EST

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WASHINGTON Nov 29 (Reuters) - A senior Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday said he expects tax hikes on the rich, as demanded by President Barack Obama, will be part of a fiscal cliff deal.

"I wouldn't have a problem with letting those tax rates go up," provided they are coupled with spending cuts, Representative Mike Simpson said.

Simpson said that raising taxes on the rich "wouldn't be my preferred way to do it. But elections have consequences," referring to Obama winning a second term earlier this month.

A senior Republican lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that a Democratic bill, which passed the Senate in July and would raise income taxes on families with net incomes above $250,000, could pass his chamber.

The lawmaker said he was confident, however, that House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, would not allow such a bill to be brought to the House floor for a vote, explaining: "It may be popular" but, "It's class warfare."

The increased income taxes for the rich could be part of a broader, final deal - one that possibly raises the $250,000 income threshold.

Representative Steve King, one of the most conservative House Republicans, said: "Conservatives might be able to figure how they can go home and rationalize a vote that included a revenue increase and or a tax rate increase."

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