John Boehner (R-Ohio)

*House Minority Leader John Boehner says he would vote for President Obama’s plan to extend tax cuts only for middle-class earners, not the wealthy, if that were the only option available to House Republicans.

Boehner, R-Ohio, said it is “bad policy” to exclude the highest-earning Americans from tax relief during the recession, and later Sunday he accused the White House of “class warfare.” But he said he wouldn’t block the breaks for middle-income individuals and families if Democrats won’t support the full package.

Income tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush will expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts and Obama signs the bill. Obama said he would support continuing the lower tax rates for couples earning up to $250,000 or single taxpayers making up to $200,000. But he and the Democratic leadership in Congress refused to back continued lower rates for the fewer than 3 percent of Americans who make more than that.

The cost of extending the tax cuts for everyone for the next 10 years would approach $4 trillion, according to congressional estimates. Eliminating the breaks for the top earners would reduce that bill by about $700 billion.

Boehner’s comments signaled a possible break in the logjam that has prevented passage of a tax bill, although Republicans would still force Democrats to vote on their bigger tax-cut package in the final weeks before the November congressional elections.

“I want to do something for all Americans who pay taxes,” Boehner said in an interview taped Saturday for “Face the Nation” on CBS. “If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it. … If that’s what we can get done, but I think that’s bad policy. I don’t think that’s going to help our economy.”

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