Democrats are willing to risk a threat to the economy to force Republicans to raise taxes on high-income earners, according to The Washington Post.
The paper reports that Democratic Party leaders are saying they'll allow $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts to take effect if the GOP doesn't give in to their demands.
"If we can't get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., wrote in a speech provided to the Post.
"If middle-class families start seeing more money coming out of their paychecks next year, are Republicans really going to stand up and fight for new tax cuts for the rich?" she said.
"Are they going to continue opposing the Democrats' middle-class tax cut once the slate has been wiped clean?" she asked. "I think they know this would be an untenable political position."
Some economists liken such a scenario to taking the economy over a "fiscal cliff," which could put the nation back into recession.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats had issued an "outrageous ultimatum."
"At a moment when the American people are reeling from the slowest recovery in modern times . . . and just five months away from the economic body blow that will result if tax rates spike, as scheduled, on Jan. 1, the president's solution is to take more money away from the very business folks we are counting on to create the jobs that we need," McConnell told Senate lawmakers Thursday.
"Naturally, Republicans oppose this," he said. "The way we see it, nobody should see an income tax hike right now."