WASHINGTON Dec 9 Conservatives have no choice
but to give into White House demands on higher tax rates for the
wealthy, if the fiscal debate is to move to their main goal,
overhauling big government benefits programs, several
Republicans said on Sunday.
"There is a growing group of folks who are ... realizing
that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue
before yearend," Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said
on the "Fox News Sunday" program.
The Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans are set to expire at
the end of the year if Congress and the Obama administration
fail to pass legislation to extend the tax breaks.
The White House and Republican congressional leaders are
deadlocked over the tax rate on upper income earners, and
without resolution massive tax rates are to kick in shortly.
It is this $500 billion in tax increases along with $100
billion in automatic spending cuts that comprise the year-end
"fiscal cliff." Economists and policymakers warn it could drive
the U.S. economy into recession.
President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are insisting
that the tax break expire for families with incomes above
$250,000, and remain in place for other taxpayers. They are
wagering that if all the tax cuts expire, the public will blame
Republicans for raising taxes on the middle class.
"Some of our people think if we just dig in and hold strong
we can stop it. That's just not the case. It happens
automatically. You have to do something," said Republican
Representative Tom Cole on CNN's "State of the Union."
"In my view, we all agree that we're not going to raise
taxes on people that make less than $250,000, we should just
take them out of this discussion right now," Cole of Oklahoma
Rank and file Republicans are eager to move beyond that
fight to overhauling Social Security and Medicare, which are
both on track to start running out money without major reforms.
"A lot of people are putting forth a theory - and I think it
has merit - where you go ahead and give the president the ...
rate increase on the top 2 percent, and all of a sudden the
shift goes back to entitlements," Corker said.
Republican Senator Tom Coburn, also of Oklahoma, said it
would take significant reforms to the Medicare health care and
Social Security retirement programs for him to agree to a tax
"Will I accept a tax increase as part of a deal to actually
solve our problems? Yes," Coburn said on ABC's "This Week"