W. House distances itself from Volcker tax remarks

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) - The White House distanced itself on Wednesday from remarks by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker that higher U.S. taxes might one day be needed to control the country’s deficit.

Volcker, an influential adviser to President Barack Obama, made the remarks on Tuesday in New York.

“Mr. Volcker was speaking for himself and not the administration. The president has not proposed this idea nor is it under consideration,” a White House official said.

“The president has passed historic tax cuts for middle-class families and continues to push for more tax cuts. The president is not proposing to cut the deficit at the expense of middle-class families,” the official said.

The topic is a delicate one for Obama, a Democrat, with opposition Republicans likely to make taxes a key issue in November’s congressional elections.

Volcker said that “if at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes.” The U.S. budget deficit is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in fiscal year 2010. (Reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Mohammad Zargham)