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How GOP could be forced to raise taxes this December

Twenty leading congressional conservatives are imploring GOP leaders to head off any Democratic attempt to use the threat of a government shutdown to force Republicans to accept tax hikes.  

By Staff writer / July 18, 2012

Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday. He's one of 20 Republicans who wrote a letter warning congressional GOP leaders against accepting tax hikes.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP



Some of Capitol Hill’s most conservative Republicans have a message for their party’s leadership: Don’t get trapped into a tax hike.

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“We fear that without immediate, decisive action in the House of Representatives, the American people could soon find themselves in a perfect fiscal storm: a lame duck session of Congress with the looming threat of a government shutdown creating an unnecessary crisis for the purpose of forcing through tax and spending increases,” reads a letter, sent to sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky, from 20 Republicans split roughly between the two houses.

How could the GOP get trapped into a tax hike? If Republicans keep on the current path, they argue, that’s very well where they could be headed.

The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. So come this September, Congress is going to have to fund the government by continuing resolutions, or “CRs,” that roll funding for all government programs into a single massive bill. (Because of election-year politics, the chances of Congress actually passing a budget before Sept. 30 are virtually nil.) 

At present, the Republican letter-writers see a potentially deadly scenario come December. First, Congress passes a continuing resolution sometime before the fiscal year ends, funding the government through December. Then, Congress must come back into session after the November elections in order to handle government funding for the coming year.

It’s at this juncture – with the Bush tax cuts set to expire, the debt deal's budget-slashing "sequester" set to hit, and the government about to run out of funding – that Republicans stand a chance of getting backed into a corner. Democrats, they fear, could hold the threat of a government shutdown over their heads to win a concession like the expiration of tax cuts for household income over $250,000, a top priority for President Obama.


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