Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says GOP should lock in middle-class tax cuts

As country gets closer to fiscal cliff, Oklahoma Republican says 98 percent of U.S. taxpayers shouldn't be used as leverage in negotiations.
by Chris Casteel Modified: November 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012
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Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said Cole's strategy met some resistance from House Republicans “who are very focused at this point on not raising anybody's taxes” while reforming entitlement programs and cutting spending.

Lucas said Cole was addressing the question of whether Republicans would ultimately prevail in a fight over tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

“Tom was offering up a strategy to be considered and apparently not everyone agreed with him,” Lucas said. “From my perspective, if something doesn't happen, we all go off the cliff together.”

Lucas said “hard-core liberals” in Congress and at the White House have nothing to lose if Congress doesn't address the so-called fiscal cliff because they would get more revenue from the expiration of all tax cuts and large spending reductions at the Department of Defense.

“You've got to say the leverage is on their side,” Lucas said.

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, agreed.

“The frustration is we're trying to bargain with people who get what they want by doing nothing,” Lankford said, adding that Democrats had yet to make any serious proposals about reducing spending and reforming entitlement programs.

At the White House, Obama urged Americans to put pressure on Congress to retain the middle-class tax cuts.

“Right now, as we speak, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody's income — everybody's,” the president said.

“And that means that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn't see their income taxes go up by a single dime. ... Even the wealthiest Americans would still get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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