WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to differ from Barack Obama on at least two issues — tax increases and investigating the Bush administration.
The speaker said Sunday she wants Congress to consider repealing President Bush's tax cuts on those who make more than $250,000 well before they expire at the end of 2010. Obama had promised to repeal the tax cuts as well during the presidential campaign, but he has since backed off that pledge, signaling he would be willing to simply let them expire.
"We had campaigned in saying what the Republican Congressional Budget Office told us: Nothing contributed more to the budget deficit than the tax cuts for the wealthiest people in America," Pelosi said in an interview broadcast Sunday on Fox News Sunday.
Lawrence Summers, Obama's choice for director of the National Economic Council, signaled again Sunday that repealing the Bush tax cuts would not be a priority.
"Our overall focus is going to be on increasing spending," Summers said on CBS's Face the Nation. "Beyond that, there's going to be a substantial tax cut for the American people."
Obama's aides worked with House Democrats to craft their version of an economic stimulus package. The package, unveiled last week, includes $550-billion in government spending and $275-billion in tax cuts. It would leave the Bush tax cuts in place.
Pelosi said she won't use the stimulus bill to address tax cuts. But she also said: "I don't want them to wait two years to expire, because they have to prove their worth to me as to how they grow the economy, how they create jobs."
Republicans disputed the House speaker's assertion about tax cuts and the deficit.
A spokeswoman for House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said Pelosi's assertion was "flat wrong."
"Congressional Democrats need to understand that the best way to get our deficits under control is to confront spending," spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said.
Also Sunday, Pelosi said she wants an investigation into whether the Bush administration broke the law when it fired a group of federal prosecutors.
The president-elect has been more cautious, saying he wants to look to the future, not to the past.
Pelosi and Obama appear to be on the same page, however, when it comes to entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Obama announced last week that he would convene a "fiscal responsibility summit" in February to focus on long-term problems with the economy and the skyrocketing costs of benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.