Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she wants to see the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy repealed "as early as possible."
The call for repeal may place Pelosi at odds with President-elect Obama; during the campaign he called for repeal but his aides have since indicated that due to the deteriorating economy, he was leaning towards allowing them to expire.
Asked again after her press conference about the tax cuts, the Speaker said she is "urging repeal."
Pelosi noted that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the tax cuts are the biggest contributor to the ballooning deficit. "Put me down as clearly as you possibly can as one who wants to have those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans repealed," she said.
Pelosi said she has yet to settle on a specific threshold as to what constitutes wealthy, but said that the $250,000 income range was being considered.
First, though, the House will take up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act tomorrow, aimed at assuring women equal pay for equal work.
Next week, it's children's health insurance. The House will vote on a package to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which President Bush vetoed twice last session.
The stimulus package will then take priority. "We will have a bill before the President's recess," she said. "If we don't have a bill, there will be no President's recess."
House and Senate Republicans -- as well as Democratic committee chairs -- have been urging that the stimulus bill go through the normal committee process. Pelosi said that it would.
More broadly, she said that she told the Democratic caucus this morning that they need to rethink the way they approach legislation now that they are no longer in the minority or facing a Republican president. "We're thinking a political way about this," she said. "We have to think differently about this...We've been so used to an uphill fight but now we have arrived."
Claiming that polls show some 79 percent of the American people are behind Obama's stimulus plan, the Congress should "move quickly -- not hastily, but quickly," she said.
As her press conference ended, she was asked if she had any parting words for the president. She paused as the reporters laughed and finally said, "I have some. And I think I'll share them with the president privately."