Think Progress: GOP Blew Up Debt Negotiations To Protect Tax Breaks For People Making $500,000 Or More

-By Marie Diamond

June 24, 2011- Yesterday House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) may well have doomed negotiations to raise the nation’s debt limit when they walked out over a dispute with Democrats about raising revenues. Their theatrics bring the country closer to the brink of financial collapse, and observers have described the move as a “tamper tantrum” and “political grandstanding.” Today, more details emerged about exactly what Republicans are willing to threaten the global economy over to defend.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the bipartisan debt discussion group led by Vice President Joe Biden, said Republicans chose to “protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires”:

Democrats want to close tax loopholes that benefit oil companies, and eliminate a tax preference that gives corporate aircraft a friendlier depreciation schedule than commercial aircraft. Additionally, Van Hollen said, Democrats were proposing to phase out tax deductions and certain credits for people making more than $500,000 a year. These would be paired with a reduction in the tax burden on lower earners, by eliminating existing limitations on their deductions. […]

“The message Republicans sent was…unless we accept their lopsided approach…they’re prepared to tank the economy,” Van Hollen said 

Cantor had been vague about the specifics, saying only that the disagreement had been a “tax issue.” His spokesman, Brad Dayspring, described the impasse as being over “Democrats’ push to raise taxes” on “individuals, small businesses, and employers,” which TPM notes is the language Republicans often use to make their position sound more palatable than “defending tax breaks for millionaires.”


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