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(USA TODAY) --The Senate's top Republican renewed an offer today to President Obama over the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, due to expire at the end of the year.

"What we ought to be doing is extend the current tax rates for another year with a hard requirement to get through comprehensive tax reform one more time," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaking on CNN's State of the Union.

President Obama and aides have shown little interest in a one-year extension, saying the Bush tax rates should be extended for middle-class Americans but ended this year for the wealthiest.

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, also on CNN, said the Bush tax cuts "disproportionately impact millionaires and billionaires," and should be preserved only for the middle class.

The fate of the Bush tax cuts figures to be a major issue in the race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to a temporary two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts in 2010; that deal expires in December.

The debate over a temporary extension mirrors that of a permanent extension that many Republicans support.

McConnell and other GOP officials say any tax hike would slow job growth.

Democrats say ending the Bush rates for only the wealthiest Americans would affect few people.

"Do you think we are a Bush tax away for a millionaire away from a flourishing economy?" Gibbs said. "Or should we protect and keep taxes low for middle-class families and give them a chance?"

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