Paul Ryan: We're not talking about tax "cuts"
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 10, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(CBS News) If Democrats let the Bush-era tax cuts expire, a top Republican said Friday, the party should be blamed for raising taxes -- not for denying another round of tax cuts.
"These tax policies have been in place for a decade. They're not cuts," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said on CBS This Morning. "A year and a half ago the president said the last thing you want to do in a soft economy is raise taxes. We agree."
The tax cuts first enacted under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 were intended to be temporary, and they are set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends them again. President Obama favors letting those cuts expire for Americans earning more than $250,000 while extending them for everyone else.
Most Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for everyone, but Democrats are now warning that they're prepared to let the tax cuts expire for everyone if Republicans won't negotiate on the issue. Ryan said that the GOP-led House will pass a bill next week to extend all the tax policies in question.
Also at the start of next year, $1.2 trillion worth of budget cuts to domestic and defense programs will kick into effect unless Congress can reach a deal to offset them. Those automatic "sequester" cuts, spread over 10 years, are the result of the failure of the congressional "super committee" to reach an agreement to reduce the deficit as mandated by the deal last August to raise the debt ceiling. Also set to expire January 1 are some unemployment benefits and a deferment of payment cuts to Medicare physicians.
Ryan criticized the White House for not announcing any plans yet for dealing with the sequester.
"We passed a bill almost unanimously in the House on Wednesday telling the administration, if you have no plan to deal with the sequester, you got to tell us," he said.
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