Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans on Wednesday shot down a proposal by a senior GOP lawmaker that the House agree to President Obama’s demand to extend current tax rates for the middle class.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a respected party strategist and former chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, became the most prominent House Republican to suggest that the GOP do what has long been unthinkable within the party: lock in the George W. Bush-era tax rates for annual incomes up to $250,000 without simultaneously extending them for top earners.