GOP Senator: Tax rates on wealthy should go up

Updated

Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn said he would prefer to see tax rates go up on wealthy Americans rather than simply capping deductions and closing loopholes as the GOP controlled House has proposed in its negotiations with the president over the approaching fiscal cliff.

“Personally, I know we have to raise revenue,” Coburn said on Morning Joe Wednesday. “I don’t really care which way we do it. Actually, I would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future.”

Coburn joins fellow Republican Rep. Tom Cole in indicating a GOP willingness to negotiate on tax rate increases.

The House GOP, led by Speaker John Boehner, said Monday that $800 billion in revenues could be generating in 10 years through their plan to close particular deductions.

President Obama has rejected the latest GOP offer, because it doesn’t raise rates for those households making $250,000 or more. It is an issue the president campaigned on.

“We’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2% go up. And we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it,” the president said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg.

Sen. Coburn has indicated in the past a willingness to negotiate on tax rates:

“I don’t think you have to raise rates—you can lower rates and you will have every bit as much revenue that the president wants by raising two rates,” Coburn told the Washington Post’s Wonkblog in November. “You can do both. If you just raise rates, that’s going to be a drag on invested capital. I’m all for the very wealthy paying more taxes. But how you do it is very important. “

Coburn has also remained somewhat at odds with the Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, a man who has seen defectors to his anti-tax pledge pile up during the fiscal cliff discussions.

In July, Coburn wrote a New York Times op-ed that “Senate Republicans—and many House Republicans—have repeatedly rejected Mr. Norquist’s strict interpretation of his own pledge, a reading that requires them to defend every loophole and spending program hidden in the tax code.”

GOP Senator: Tax rates on wealthy should go up

Updated