With elections looming, Republicans are digging their heels in on the fight to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans, Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) said during a CNBC appearance on Monday.
"It's incredible -- there's no bending. Pick up your morning Washington Post and find out what the Republicans are willing to bend on," Kaufman said. "This is like a holy jihad to keep the tax cuts going."
Kaufman said the Democrats have been scarred by previous attempts to compromise with Republicans -- particularly after the disastrous health care debate.
"Hey look, we went through six months of trying to compromise with the Republicans on health care reform. We got zero, and in fact, we got beat over the heads with the death panels, which was in the bill, sponsored by a Republican," he said. "It takes two to compromise."
At least two top House Republicans drew their lines in the sand on Monday, vowing that they are not willing accept the Democrats' proposal to extend tax cuts for only the middle and working classes.
"Lest there be any doubt why we are so determined to fight -- instead of going quietly and giving President Obama his way before Congress bolts for the elections -- the GOP has two primary motivations," Eric Cantor (R-Ohio) wrote in a Wall Street Journal column on Monday. "The first concerns the pain that tax increases threaten to inflict on our economy over the short term. The second is to stop the slide under our current leadership towards becoming a stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship."
Pete Sessions (R-Texas) predicted that Democrats will be forced to swallow tax cuts for the wealthy in a lame-duck session of Congress after the GOP gains a House majority in November.
"I cannot vote for and should not vote for a tax increase," he said on "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend on Bloomberg Television. "If you leave out the investor and the person who brings capital to the table, you cannot grow the economy and we will continue to have joblessness."
Kaufman said he is opposed to extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because that demographic is the least likely to cycle that money back into the economy.
"I was at a fundraising event... with a bunch of people sitting around a table," he said. "They all made over $250,000, and not one of them was going to spend anything they got. They were all gonna put it in the bank."
Though some Democrats in Congress have said they would consider agreeing to a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, Kaufman said he doesn't see either party willing to budge on the issue.
"I don't hear a compromise coming out of anybody," he said.
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