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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Patty Murray: Dems would let all Bush tax cuts expire rather than renew for wealthy

WASHINGTON — Continuing a tough-talk stance adopted by Senate Democratic leaders in May, Sen. Patty Murray on Monday said her party would let all Bush-era tax cuts expire on Dec. 31 rather that give in to Republican demands to include cuts for the wealthy along with the middle class.

In a speech scheduled for 11 a.m. Pacific time at the left-leaning Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Murray planned to send an explicit signal that Democrats would rather take no deal than what they consider to be a bad deal that won’t raise taxes on high-earning Americans to offset mandatory federal spending cuts slated to take effect next year.

In fact, Murray contends that letting the Bush cuts expire would reset the debate on more honest terms: Democrats are for the middle class and Republicans are for the rich.

Murray also said it would make irrelevant the pledge signed by vast majority of Republicans with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist not to raise taxes.

“…many Republicans are starting to realize something important: On January 1st, if we haven’t gotten to a deal, Grover Norquist and his pledge are no longer relevant to this conversation.  A name I heard repeated by Republicans over and over in the supercommittee will no longer be a part of this debate.  We will have a new fiscal and political reality.

Bush tax cuts expire, every proposal will be a tax cut proposal and the pledge will no longer keep Republicans boxed in and unable to compromise,” Murray’s prepared remarks say.

Some Democrats, including Rep. Jim McDermott of Seattle, have long argued for letting the tax cuts expire for all instead of renewing them even for couples earning more than $250,000. That’s what President Obama agreed to do in 2010, to the dismay of liberals and fiscally-conservative Democrats.

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