Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that the White House would be willing to make a deal on how much tax rates rise for the wealthy, as long as Republicans agree to let the rates increase.”We are prepared and the president has made it clear…there are two irreducible minimum requirements for us,” Biden said during a lunch in Virginia, according to a White House pool report. “Top brackets have to go up — this is not a negotiable issue; theoretically we can negotiate how far up. But we think it should go — the top rate should go to 39.6%.”
Biden’s statement is public confirmation that the Obama administration is not insisting that Republicans agree to a return to Clinton-era tax rates for the wealthy as part of a fiscal cliff deal.
But the Vice President reiterated that any deal will still have to include an expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on those earning more than $250,000.
“We have laid out where we are,” he said. “There has been in a sense a referendum on the two points I’ve made already. I think everybody knows, every serious economists I’ve spoken to, left right and centre, knows there has to be revenue. You have to do something about rates. You can’t get there from here without affecting these people around this table.”