WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came out swinging Friday against a massive tax extenders package Congress is hoping to pass before departing for holiday break.
In the last week, Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth over the tax package and a 1 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill. The spending bill needs to reach the president’s desk by the middle of next week to avoid a government shutdown.
Negotiations surrounding the two pieces of legislation have become intertwined, and Republicans leaders have indicated that the omnibus and tax extenders bills will come to the floor together in one large vehicle.
That won't fly with Pelosi, who fiercely opposes the tax package in its current state.
“I don’t see very much support on the Democratic side for the tax extender bill,” she continued. “It includes hundreds of billions of dollars in permanent tax breaks for special interests and big corporations while neglecting hard-working families.”
If the tax bill gets tethered with the omnibus spending bill, Pelosi added she “wouldn’t vote for it” and would recommend her caucus doesn’t as well.
Making the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit permanent has been a priority for Democrats in negotiations. While the Child Tax Credit is in the extenders package, Pelosi wants it to be indexed, meaning its benefits will rise with inflation -- something Republicans haven’t been responsive on.
Another sticking point is the sheer size of the tax extenders package, which could cost upwards of $700 billion over the next decade. Republicans are also pushing hard to include a measure that would lift a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports to the tax deal.
“Lifting the ban on oil and all the money that that means for the oil industry, while they can’t index for children, it’s just, it’s too big,” Pelosi said. “It’s unfair, and it does not have the support of House Democrats.”
While the White House doesn't want Congress touching crude oil exports, it is involved in negotiations to ensure anti-environmental riders are stripped and that other priorities for Democrats are met in exchange. The administration hasn't threatened a veto of the extenders bill if oil exports are attached. Republicans in the House have enough votes to attach it to the extenders bill even without Democratic support. The president would likely sign the bill despite House Democrats' opposition.
“I made it clear, don’t count on our votes for that,” Pelosi said. “We will not be accomplices.”
Still, Pelosi indicated she wouldn't stand in the way of the tax deal as long as Republicans bring it to the floor separately from the omnibus bill, adding she didn't want to have anything to do with the tax bill.
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