Pelosi fires up discharge petition to extend middle-class tax cuts

“Tax cuts for the rich, which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations," Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday. “Tax cuts for the rich, which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations," Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday said she would file a rarely used discharge petition in a bid to force a House floor vote on a Senate-passed bill to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.

At her Friday press conference, Pelosi said, "As you know, as we've been saying, as the President has said, he has his pen in hand, he is ready to sign the middle income tax cut. Last July, that legislation passed the United States Senate -- the exact same bill was introduced in the House at that time, and since then we have been asking the Republican leadership to bring the middle-income tax cut to the floor. The clock is ticking. The year is ending. It’s really important, with tax legislation, for it to happen now.”

If the House majority does not schedule such a vote, then Democrats on Tuesday will file a discharge petition, which would force the vote if it attracts 218 signatures in the House.

“We’re calling upon the Republican leadership in the House to bring this legislation to the floor next week. We believe that not doing that would be holding middle-income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich,” Pelosi said. “Tax cuts for the rich, which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations.” The bill, she added, “has tremendous support in the Republican Caucus -- I think we would get a 100 percent vote on it if it came to the floor.”

Pelosi reiterated Democratic positions on avoiding the fiscal cliff, applauding President Obama for “sticking with his big, bold, and balanced approach.” Elections have consequences, she added. “The president campaigned, he made it very clear … that he was supporting a tax cut for the middle class, that he wanted the expiration of the tax cuts for the high end. The American people know that debate; they voted for him … if you look at the polls on the subject, it is overwhelming support for repeal of the high-end tax cuts to reduce the deficit and also to grow our economy.”

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Republicans have offered a balanced approach to averting the fiscal cliff, but the president is "not being serious about coming to an agreement." The White House, he added, is holding tax increases over the heads of the middle class while demanding more spending and tax rate hikes that will hurt small businesses.

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