From NBC's Mark Murray
Earlier today, we wondered if the Obama White House was putting Republicans in a box over the tax (or "financial crisis responsibility fee") it has has proposed for banks with more than $50 billion in assets.
Do Republicans oppose this tax hike -- yet risk appearing to side with Wall Street?
Well, RNC Chairman Michael Steele released a statement blasting the tax. "President Obama's plans to institute a 'financial crisis responsibility fee' to recoup the bailout funds from major banks is nothing more than another tax on the American public. The fact is this money has already been paid back by the banks and this punitive tax will hurt Americans' savings and discourage job creation at the worse of economic times. However, it will fatten the wallets of Democrats on Capitol Hill by $90 billion over the next ten years."
Interestingly, in next week's special election in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley (D) is embracing this bank tax -- and daring opponent Scott Brown (R) to say whether he's for it or against it.
"As senator, I would support this proposal because it holds the largest Wall Street firms accountable for their abuses that caused millions of people to lose their jobs, as well as it works to recover the hard-earned taxpayer dollars of the middle class," she said in a statement.
"Now is the time for Scott Brown to tell us what side he's on, and who he wants to fight for. Despite his tea party rhetoric about never supporting a tax hike, the truth is that he has supported more than $300 million in new taxes and fees on middle class families. We'll find out if his 'no tax' pledge only applies to the privileged."