House Republican leader John Boehner, one of President Barack Obama's most nettlesome opponents, said Sunday that he would be willing to forgo extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- those making more than $250,000 per year -- if a vote on reducing taxes for the rest of Americans came up.

Boehner said he'd continue fighting to extend the tax cuts for the rich, but wouldn't hold up extending tax cuts for the 97% of Americans who make less than $250,000 -- a measure that Obama has pledged to sign as early as this month.

"If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I'll vote for it," Boehner told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation," in comments cited by Reuters.

"If the only option I have is to vote for those at $250,000 and below, of course I'm going to do that," he said. "But I'm going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans."

Compromise or Gamesmanship?

It was the first sign of a compromise by the House GOP leadership on an issue quickly becoming central to the upcoming mid-term election -- the extension of Bush-era tax cuts, which Republicans have said are necessary to spur growth, and Democrats say would add billions to the deficit.

"I've been making the point now for months that we need to extend all the current rates for all Americans if we want to get our economy going again, and we want to get jobs in America," Boehner said.

On Friday, Obama said he would be willing to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for 97% of Americans, or those making less than $250,000 per year. Obama practically goaded GOP leaders to oppose such a move, saying they were holding middle-class tax cuts "hostage."

But Obama stood firm on not extending the cuts for income above $250,000 -- a key Republican priority, and now Boehner appears to have opened the door for a deal.

"With all the other budgetary pressures we have - with all the Republicans' talk about wanting to shrink the deficit - they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next 10 years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 each to folks who are already millionaires," Obama said earlier in the week in comments cited by CBS News.

Rhetorical Maneuvering

In a statement to Politico, a top Boehner aide amplified his remarks: "Despite what Obama says, Republicans are not holding middle-class tax cuts hostage and we're not going to let him get away with those types of false claims. Our focus remains on getting bipartisan support for a freeze on all current rates, because that is what is best for the economy and small business job creation. Boehner's words were calculated to deprive Obama of the ability to continue making those false claims, and as a result we are in a better position rhetorically to pressure more Democrats to support a full freeze."

Boehner made clear that he still favors extending the tax cut for the wealthy.

"I think raising taxes in a very weak economy is a really, really bad idea, and most economists would agree with that," Boehner, R-Ohio, told Schieffer. "And I just think that if we're going to extend the tax cuts for some Americans, why don't we extend these current tax rates to all Americans, and get rid of some of the uncertainty that's out there, so that small businesses can plan, and reinvest in their business, and the new economy?"

Meanwhile, Boehner pushed back against a Sunday New York Times article that portrayed him as cozy with some of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbyists. Boehner's camp called the article a "hatchet job."

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As I understand it, these tax cuts apply to "Income Tax". Meaning: Letting the tax cut expire on the wealthy is applying to what the CEO's take home. It's not a tax on the corporations themselves. So how does this effect an increase of unemployment or hurt small businesses? For the average small business owner to be taking home more than $250,000 (after all business expenses) yearly, his/her business needs to be grossing more than $1,000,000 on the average. There are 2 solutions to keep your taxes lower: 1: Change the structure of your corporation (from an S-Corp) to a real corporation, whereas you are paid by the corporation and can keep your salary below $250,000. Or 2: Hire more people to increase your expenses and stop being so greedy.

September 13 2010 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Obama with his Keynesian economy is set to get rid of 150,000 jobs...that's a lot of taxpayers...his administration owes almost one million in back taxes...ditto for one billion from government employees.........Pelosi has received twice monies from lobbiests that Boehner...while the liberals are meeting lobbiests in restaurant to avoid disclosure.

September 13 2010 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Taxing the rich (and the poor) is next to impossible. The Middle Class will always represent the backbone of this country.

September 13 2010 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Chuck Miller

It just kills me that the right has the working people doing their bidding. The tax cuts for wealthy only puts more money in thier pockets. No new jobs are being created, no raises,no heath insurance, or hire deductibles. They keep saying the government can't create jobs, but they are not hiring. Profits are up, but still not hiring. Wealthy win again. Now they are over working the employees they have. The statement DID YOU EVERY GET A JOB FROM A POOR MAN! How about DID YOU EVERY SEE WEALTHY MAN WHO DIDN'T MAKE IT ON THE BACK OF HIS EMPLOYEES! Regan helped big busines kill Unions and Unions helped kill themselves. The outcome is that workers have no voice other than the Demacracts to fight for them. Most of my life I was a blue collar employee. I now run my own business. Now I am going to have my taxes raised and I am ok with that.

September 13 2010 at 12:13 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chuck Miller's comment

Chuck, What country do you live in. Unions are flourishing in this country, they are a big part of our political problems now.

September 13 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy Lynn


September 13 2010 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Judy Lynn's comment

right. boehner wants to give himself a tax cut.

September 13 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Why and How did we let only 3% of people make all the money and 97% have to live week by week hum maybe tax cut to the rich

September 13 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Obama is ready to destroy another 150,000 energy jobs....on the jobs he has destroyed already....

September 13 2010 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Socialism does not work.........neither does keynesian economics.....both failed....the socialist left are failures as well...and majority of americans know it...Tsunami voting em out..........coming up

September 13 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patty's comment

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it. In my opinion both 'work' but not nearly as well as regulated capitalism. The economic policies of the far left and the far right are, again my opinion, equally inefficient. Maybe there will be a tsunami and the far right will be back to try one more time to get it right. If so I hope they do better than last time. It will take a while to recover from their last effort.

September 13 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

We are under the Obama administration with record deficits, spending, what we owe is more than all nations combined...poverty is going to record numbers, food stamps, unemployment. The printing machine for monies is working overtime, we are broke...while the left keeps spending while funneling tax monies off to themselves...ditto for not paying taxes....We are broke...economists say we are headed for an economic apocalypse.

September 13 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patty's comment

We elected President Obama in large part because of the mess we were in at the end of 2008. The situation is still grim but is much improved from 2008. Job losses of millions per quarter have stopped and employment is slowly growing. The deficit is bad and needs to be addressed through a combination of serious spending cuts and tax increases. Because you believe that Mr. Keynes was wrong (your later comment above) you have to believe that neither of these actions would have an impact in the short term. We can certainly give up our Christian values and cut food stamps and unemployment but I would start cutting with means tested Medicare and Social Security, eliminating price supports for most farmers, ending the wars and cutting defense sharply. Regulations to prevent or at least limit future bailouts have been passed and hopefully these will prove adequate. My actions would not end the deficit but they would put a crimp in it. Tax increases would help make up part of the remaining deficit but we would still have to make large cuts even if we end food stamps and unemployment. Your ideas for ending the deficit?

September 13 2010 at 12:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

The republicans wrote this current tax law to expire because at the time, it was supposed to stimulate job growth after 9-11. It turns out that after the entire Bush presidency, job growth was flat, no growth. We are, THIS YEAR, still under the Bush tax cuts. Where is the job growth at this percentage rate? Why aren't the wealthy taking their great tax rate and hiring? The increase is 3 percent. From 36.5 percent to 39.5 percent (the same as when Clinton was President). If not, we BORROW another 700 million dollars over 10 years to pay for the continued tax rate for the wealthy.

September 13 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply