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Reid Says GOP Protecting Millionaires At The Expense Of The Middle Class

In a sign that the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts will heat up as lawmakers return to Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a scathing statement Monday accusing Republicans of being willing to raise middle-class taxes to protect millionaires and CEOs.

"It is unconscionable for Senate Republicans to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to secure more tax giveaways for millionaires and CEOs who ship American jobs overseas," Reid said.

He added, "Today's declaration by Senate Republicans means they are willing to raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses in the middle of a recession."

While House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, indicated on Sunday that he might be willing to compromise on the issue of extending the tax cuts, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said Monday that Senate Republicans are united against any tax increases.

President Barack Obama has proposed extending the tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans, but Republicans have argued that all of the tax cuts should be extended due to the sluggish economic recovery.

"Regardless of what any individual Senator may think about tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, I had hoped we could all agree that middle-class families deserve to have their taxes cut," Reid said. "But by this Republican logic, until rich CEOs get what they want, middle-class families can't get what they need."

"This is not only wholly unfair to hard working families in Nevada and across the country, but it is bad economic policy that will hurt our nation and its recovery," he added.

Last week, former White House budget director Peter Orszag wrote in a piece for that New York Times that the president's plan to only extend the middle-class tax cuts would be ideal, but he noted that it may be necessary to extend the high-income tax cuts in order to reach a deal in Congress.

Orszag added, however, that the tax cuts should be ended altogether after two years in order to help address the country's long-term fiscal problem.

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