WASHINGTON -- Idaho's Rep. Walt Minnick is among 31 Democrats in the House of Representatives who've signed onto a letter saying they won't support doing away with any of the Bush-era tax cuts.
President Barack Obama has called on Congress to maintain the tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000. Taxes would rise for some of the highest-earning Americans, if the president's proposal were to pass.
Democrats are divided on the plan, particularly in the House. The letter, originally penned by Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., was signed by some of the most fiscally conservative Democrats in the House. But it's also supported by some Democrats who face tough re-election battles and don't want to be painted in November as having raised any taxes.
Minnick and the 30 other Democrats fear that allowing the tax cuts to lapse right now could hamper the economic recovery.
"In recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth," the letter says. "Given the continued fragility of our economy and slow pace of recovery, we share their concerns. We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term."
Republicans, including Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, have been sticking firmly to proposals that would extend the tax cuts -- although House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, suggested over the weekend he would vote for the president's plan if it were the only option.
Sen. Mike Crapo earlier this week joined other Republicans in sponsoring legislation in the Senate that keeps the tax cuts from expiring. A spokesman for Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, also said he would oppose raising taxes in any form during a recession.