A moderate Senate Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), offered qualified support Friday for a short-term extension of all of the expiring Bush tax cuts, including those for higher-income taxpayers, saying a one-year extension “probably would be good.”
“I’m going to stay open minded to it,” Landrieu said in an interview with FOX Business. “A one-year tax extension in this economy probably would be good. But we may not be able to afford it and there might not be enough concessions on the other side to make that happen, so we’ll see.”
Four other moderate Senate Democrats and one Independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), have publicly called for extending the all of the Bush tax cuts into next year or longer. Senate Republicans, who favor keeping all of them permanent, said this week that other Democratic senators have privately expressed support for an extension.
Landrieu said her priority is keeping Bush tax cuts for middle-class families in place and that any extension for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 would have to be paid for with spending cuts or revenue raisers.
“Let’s get as many people captured in the lower rates as possible and then see what other money or spending cuts might be available for additional tax cuts. We’ve got to get back to ‘pay-as-you-go’… We can’t keep charging tax cuts on the next generation.”
She noted that extending all expiring tax cuts for all taxpayers “is not the President’s position — I think he thinks that we just don’t have the money to do that. But if it could be part of some kind of compromise that could get this very troubling issue resolved, I’m going to stay open-minded to it.”
The Obama administration says maintaining the Bush tax cuts for higher-income families would cost about $700 billion. But that is a 10-year budget estimate. Extending them just into 2011 would cost about $30 billion, according to the administration’s budget projections. The administration projects a $1.4 trillion budget deficit in 2011.