WASHINGTON (AP) - Another Republican is breaking ranks with party leaders on the issue of tax rates.
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says he could support President Barack Obama's demand for an increase in tax rates at upper income levels, as part of a comprehensive plan to cut federal deficits.
Coburn had made it clear months ago that he was ready to support higher tax revenue as part of an overall deal. Today, he went a step further, telling MSNBC that he'd "rather see the rates go up than do it the other way" -- because he says that would provide "a greater chance to reform the tax code" later on.
A handful of other Republicans in both houses have aid in recent days that they could support raising the top tax rates.
In the House, conservatives say they suspect Speaker John Boehner let it be known that he wouldn't mind the discussion. But in a closed-door meeting of the rank-and-file last week, he made the case that raising rates would be worse for the economy than raising revenue by closing loopholes.