House Democrats continue to tag Republicans as ‘hostage takers’

·Political Reporter

House Democrats on Wednesday launched a new microsite,, criticizing Republican leaders for not holding a vote to exclusively extend middle-income tax rates for another year as part of avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.

Current tax rates for all income levels are set to automatically increase in 2013 unless Congress takes action this year. Most Republicans want to extend the current rates for all income levels, while Democrats want taxes to increase for households earning more than $250,000 annually.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched the site as part of a larger messaging effort to goad Republicans into voting on a bill that excludes those earning more than $250,000 from the rate extension.

This week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, submitted a "discharge petition" that would force a vote on a bill to extend rates only for middle-class taxpayers, but only if she can persuade 218 members of the Republican-led House to sign it. (Realistically, it's unlikely.) On the microsite, House Democrats list the names of some Republicans they consider "vulnerable" who have declined to sign Pelosi's petition.

Earlier this year, the Republican-led House approved a bill to extend tax rates for all income brackets while the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a measure that extends them for households under the $250,000 level.