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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican in the House of Representatives said on Sunday he would support an extension of tax cuts for middle-class Americans even if tax cuts for the wealthy are allowed to expire.
Representative John Boehner said President Barack Obama's plan to renew lower tax rates for families making less than $250,000 but let the lower rates for wealthier Americans expire was "bad policy." Republicans want to extend all of the cuts passed under former President George W. Bush.
"If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I'll vote for it," Boehner said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program.
"If the only option I have is to vote for those at 250 and below, of course I'm going to do that," he said. "But I'm going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans."
Republicans say raising taxes on the rich would hurt a flagging economy and have promised to fight to extend the entire package of tax cuts when Congress returns to work this week.
"I've been making the point now for months that we need to extend all the current rates for all Americans if we want to get our economy going again, and we want to get jobs in America," Boehner said.
Obama has pressured Republicans to push ahead with extending the middle-class cuts that both parties agree on and then focus on the tax rates for wealthy Americans. He says extending cuts for the wealthy would increase the budget deficit and represent a return to tax policies favoring the rich promoted under the Bush administration.
Editing by Philip Barbara