News yesterday of John Boehner's statements that if left with no other choice, he'd support extending the Bush tax cuts--even if it meant a raise in taxes for those making over $250K. This one's political landmine for both parties, and Boehner's admission was probably a realistic approach that will do the least damage to Republican prospects in November.
Don't get me wrong--Dems would like the tax cuts to expire on EVERYONE, but they know that if that happens--it will be one more massive log on their political pyre. But timing is the issue, folks. The tax cuts don't expire until Jan 1, and election day is in early November.
I see the Dems as having leverage on this issue simply because they control the agenda. If they come forward with a proposal--formal--to extend the tax cuts to 98% of American wage earners and Republicans stand in the way to support the other 2%, Dems will have a field day, and some portion of whatever cushion Republicans have created for November will be lost. Under one scenario, the Dems propose it, the Republicans obstruct it, the Dems retain both Chambers--and the Dems let ALL tax cuts expire without a near-term political penalty. This is really the nightmare for Republicans.
Another scenario is the Dems propose it, the Repubs support it, and the Tea Party eats the Republican Party alive for "supporting tax increases". Of course this also gives the Dems the ability to crow that they "cut taxes on 98%" of working Americans, when in actuality, they've done nothing of the sort. This strikes me though as the least worst option for Republicans, something echoed in Boehner's words yesterday.
I see no profit in playing chicken with the Dems in Congress. They'd like nothing better than to blame a "tax increase" on Republicans--which is exactly how it would be portrayed.