12/10/2012 06:00 am ET

Democrats Pressure House Republicans On Middle Class Tax Cuts

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new robocall campaign Monday urging House Republicans to agree to extend tax cuts for the middle class as part of a deficit deal.

The automated phone calls, which will go out in 35 congressional districts represented by electorally vulnerable Tea Party Republicans, ask the GOP representatives to sign a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill passed by the Senate in July that would extend the Bush-era cuts for all but the top earners.

"Tea Party House Republicans can’t defend holding the middle class hostage and threatening a $2,200 tax increase in order to get more budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires,” DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "Republican leaders are driving our economy over the fiscal cliff but their Members have a chance to put on the brakes by forcing this vote to protect the middle class and our economic recovery. Tea Party House Republicans were elected pledging to protect Americas middle class, not on a pledge to Grover Norquist, and its time they started acting like it."

Congress and the White House are under pressure to reach an agreement on the deficit by January 1, when the combination of drastic spending cuts and tax hikes threaten to throw the economy over the so-called fiscal cliff. While both the White House and the House GOP leadership have offered proposals on how to avoid going over the cliff, they have yet to reach an agreement. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met privately at the White House on Sunday to discuss the ongoing negotiations.

Extending the Bush tax cuts has remained a point of contention throughout the discussions. While Democrats propose extending the cuts for all but the top two percent of earners, Republicans have insisted on extending the cuts for the wealthy as well.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered the discharge petition as a way to break the tax cut stalemate.

"We believe that not [bringing the Senate bill to the floor] would be holding middle income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich," Pelosi said. "Tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations."



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