Boehner 2 Months Ago: 'Raising Tax Rates is Unacceptable' -- 'Votes Aren't There'

By Jon Street | January 4, 2013 | 12:25pm EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama. (AP)

( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), just two months ago,  said raising tax rates is “unacceptable,” adding, “It couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not even sure it could pass the Senate.” But on Tuesday, the House voted to raise taxes as part of the fiscal cliff deal and Boehner voted for it, along with 85 other Republican colleagues.

During an interview with ABC World News anchor Dianne Sawyer on Nov. 8, Sawyer asked Boehner, “Is it [raising tax rates] on the table to talk about? Because he [President Obama] campaigned on it, 60 percent of the voters have said they are ready to raise these taxes, they are ready to ask wealthier Americans to pitch in here.”

Boehner said, “I made clear yesterday that raising tax rates is unacceptable and, frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not even sure it could pass the Senate. So the votes aren’t there.”

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As previously reported, the Senate passed a bill to avert the “fiscal cliff” in a bipartisan vote of 89-8 on Jan. 1, which, among other things, raises the tax rate for individuals earning $400,000 or more (and couples making $450,000 or more), and also raises the payroll tax (Social Security tax) on all workers from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

(AP Photo)

With the payroll tax hike, a person earning $50,000 a year, for example, will take home about $1,000 less in 2013. The estate tax rate, or death tax, also rises from 35 percent to 40 percent for all estates of $5 million or more.

The Senate bill, negotiated between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden, passed the Boehner-led House late on Tuesday in a 257-167 vote.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

While some taxes will be going up, the bill makes permanent the Bush-era tax rates for those making less than $400,000 per year and for couples making less than $450,000 per year. The Bush tax rates and income thresholds for “married joint filers” that are now permanent – until a future Congress changes them -- are listed below:

Rate       Income, Married Joint Filers

10%        $0 to $17,900

15%        $17,900 to $72,500

25%        $72,500 to $146,400

28%        $146,400 to $223,050

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