Here's your Republican bipartisanship folks. From CBS's Face the Nation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Bob Schieffer that Republicans will be happy to work with President Obama on taxes, as long as he does everything they want and keeps the Bush tax cuts for the rich in place.
And extending them for two years would be just as bad or worse than letting them expire because it just gives Republicans another chance to keep beating this drum for the 2012 elections as well.
SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell joins us today from Louisville, Kentucky. Senator, I want to start by giving you a chance to make some news here. You want to extend the bush tax cuts for all income levels that expire this year. You want to extend them permanently. The President’s opposed extending those cuts for the richest Americans, but in an interview to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES tonight, Steve Kroft asked the President if he’d be interested in extending the Bush tax cuts for those upper-income Americans temporarily as say two years. Presumably, in order to extend the tax cuts that he wants for lower-income Americans. Let’s just-- first listen to what President Obama said.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (60 MINUTES): Hopefully, we can agree-- agree on a set of facts that-- that leads to a compromise. But my number one priority coming into this is making sure that middle-class families don’t see their-- their tax rates go up January 1st.
STEVE KROFT: Do you want to make a counterproposal to him right now?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think I’ve -- I’ve already invited them over to the White House.
SCHIEFFER: All right, senator. Does that sound like a starting point for serious negotiations? Can you do some business with the President on the basis of that?
MCCONNELL: Sure. We hope to do business with the President on a number of things. I-- I think the issue here is whether you want to raise taxes on small businesses in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession. I and all of my members, think it’s a-- it’s a bad idea to-- to do that. I do sense some flexibility on the President’s part. And we’re happy to talk to him about it. But let me make sure everybody understands what we’re talking about here. These aren’t tax cuts, these are tax increases. Tax increases in the middle of a recession. This so-called upper-income thing diverts people away from the following fact.
If you do that, you raise taxes on seven hundred and fifty thousand of our most productive small businesses, which represents fifty percent of small business income and twenty-five percent of the work force, at a time when job creation is just bumping along. And we’d all like to get the private sector going again. We really think that’s a bad idea. But look, we’re happy to talk to the President about that and-- and all the other issues that he has on his mind.
SCHIEFFER: Well-- well-- I-- I would just want to get back to what he said because what he seems to be suggesting is that he might go along if you do those upper-income tax cuts temporarily, say for a couple of years or so. Is that something that you-- that you would consider?
MCCONNELL: We-- we don’t raising taxes on small business is a good idea. And you can’t do what he’s suggesting you might do without having a small-business tax increase. Small business is the biggest job generator in America. But we can’t negotiate it this morning. But our view is, don’t raise taxes on small business. We would-- we would rather not do it at any time. In fact, I’ve introduced the only bill that would make the current tax rates permanent. But certainly you wouldn’t want to do it--
SCHIEFFER: But you’d at least--
MCCONNELL: --in the middle of an income slowdown.
SCHIEFFER: From what he said, you’d at least be willing to start talking about that.
MCCONNELL: Well, we’re-- we’re willing to start talking about getting an-- an extension of some kind--
MCCONNELL: --so that taxes don’t go up on anybody.