Nancy Pelosi: Million-Dollar Proposal Meant To 'Smoke Out' Republicans

09/03/2012 04:08 pm ET
  • Ryan Grim Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday that her earlier call to extend the Bush tax cuts for anyone making less than a million dollars was an attempt to "smoke out" the GOP, as part of an effort to determine whether there was any level at which Republicans would come to a deal.

There were no takers for Pelosi's offer, made in May, so on Monday she said it's off the table. "I think the decision has been made. It will be 250," Pelosi said during an interview with HuffPost Live at the Oasis in Charlotte, referring to the $250,000 mark that has been suggested by President Barack Obama.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been the most vocal advocate of drawing the tax-cut line at a million dollars. The president has consistently pushed for $250,000.

"The only reason I was saying a million was to smoke out the Republicans to see if there was any figure, no matter how high, that they might agree to," Pelosi said. "And it sends a strong message to the public that they won't even agree to a million dollars."

Those making more than a quarter-million dollars would only pay higher taxes on income above that amount.

Hiking taxes on the wealthy, Pelosi said, could stave off automatic cuts scheduled to take effect in January. "It also alleviates some of the need for sequestration," she said.

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