"Put me down as clearly as you possibly can as one who wants to have those tax cuts for the wealthiest in America repealed," she said.
Pelosi said the income tax cuts to the highest earning Americans -- which were decreased from 39.6 to 35 percent as part of the 2001 Bush tax plan -- have been "the biggest contributor to the budget deficit," which now stands at $1.2 trillion for fiscal year 2009. That deficit figure does not include the impact of the pending stimulus measure, which will cost around $800 billion, nor does it include estimates for supplemental spending bills that will come later this year to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pelosi said the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy "have not grown the economy, have not contributed to the our economic security.""I couldn't be more clear: Put me down as one in favor for repeal as soon as possible," she said.
"I'm not prepared to make a hard and fast commitment.... What I've said is that I'm less concerned about whether it happens this year or next year. More concerned with the basic principle that we've got to restore balance and fairness to the tax system," Obama said.
But Sen. Richard Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, put the chances for repeal at practically nil, especially given Obama's expressed reservations. "The president-elect believes this may not be the moment," Durbin said, referring to the economic crisis. "I agree with her in principal," he added, "but I disagree with her on timing."