WASHINGTON -- Elections often come with a mandate -- or at least some sort of consequences for the defeated party, which not only has its candidates rejected by the public, but its ideas as well. Nevertheless, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is vowing that even if President Obama is reelected, Republicans will not budge on their refusal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
At a press conference Friday morning, a reporter asked Boehner whether Republicans were "eventually going to have to raise taxes in some way" if the president wins in November.
"No," replied Boehner. "Raising taxes, according to Ernst and Young, would threaten our economy with a loss of 700,000 jobs. Now why would I ever be for something like that? I'm not."
Boehner's stand-firm stance is not shared by all of his caucus. According to the Washington Post, "senior Republicans in the House and the Senate" admit that if the president is reelected, he will have leverage to push for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on income above $250,000.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the budget committee, admitted that if Obama does prevail in November, taxes are likely to increase for wealthy families.
“This is a referendum on taxes,” Cole said. “If the president wins reelection, taxes are going up” for the nation’s wealthiest households, and “there’s not a lot we can do about that."
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said that as long as Republicans retain control of the House, he'd be "really surprised if we capitulate on what’s essentially a core fundamental of conservative orthodoxy."
The study Boehner cited by the accounting firm Ernst and Young was funded by pro-business groups that disagree with the president's push for higher taxes on certain segments of society. The White House also quickly issued a thorough response taking issue with the report's conclusions.
The Post reported on Friday that lawmakers are looking for compromises with Democrats in case the GOP loses at the polls in November. For example, Republicans would allow taxes to rise in exchange for other GOP priorities like saving the Pentagon from budget cuts and changes to Medicare.
"[I]f things stay as they are, and all the players are generally the same ... finding a responsible reform for Medicare is the secret to unleashing very productive talks that would put in place a balanced solution to our fiscal problems,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “If you deal with the Medicare issue, then Republicans are far more open to looking at revenues.”
Polls have shown that the public backs tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans.