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Obama, GOP work toward deal on tax cuts

Published: Fri, December 3, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


A critical compromise to head off a year-end tax increase for millions of Americans took shape in private talks between the White House and congressional Republicans on Thursday, and an extension of unemployment benefits for many others appeared likely to become part of any deal.

The Obama administration sought to expand the package with other provisions that officials said would accelerate the nation’s sluggish economic recovery. They included a tax break providing as much as $400 for individual working people and $800 for couples — even if they pay nothing to the IRS.

Two days after he and newly empowered Republicans exchanged pledges of cooperation at the White House, President Barack Obama expressed optimism about the prospects for agreement in time for enactment by year’s end.

Still, he cautioned, “That doesn’t mean there might not be some posturing over the next several days.”

Not long after he spoke, Democrats ignited a partisan row in the House with legislation that would prevent taxes from rising on lower- and middle-income wage earners but allow them to rise for people at higher incomes.

The measure has no chance of passing the Senate, and Obama already has signaled he will accede to Republican demands for extending tax cuts at all income levels, making the vote purely symbolic.

The measure drew withering criticism from Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who will become the House speaker when Republicans take power in January. “I am trying to catch my breath so I don’t to refer to this ... as uh, chicken crap, all right?” he said.

“But this is nonsense, all right? The election was a month ago,” he said, referring to voting that swept Democrats from power in the House and reduced their majority in the Senate.

The bill passed, 234-188, largely along party lines.

The vote was followed by a meeting of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Budget Director Jacob Lew and senior lawmakers to discuss the compromise plan to extend existing cuts for taxpayers at all income levels.

The outlines of the measure include an extension of income-tax cuts enacted while George W. Bush was president for an as-yet- undetermined period of time, perhaps two or three years. The bill is expected to apply to personal income-tax rates as well as capital gains, dividends, the alternative minimum tax, the so-called marriage penalty and more.

Any agreement on legislation extending tax cuts to those at upper income levels would mark a surrender on the part of the president, who long has argued the provision isn’t warranted in view of the $700 billion cost to the deficit.

At the same time, any measure that was limited to an extension of two or three years would leave Republicans with less than the permanent tax cuts they have long sought.

The impetus for an extension of expiring jobless benefits came from the Democrats, although Republicans have signaled they are willing to agree as long as the cost doesn’t add to federal deficits.

Two Senate Republicans, Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine, have drafted legislation for a one-year, $65 billion extension of benefits. The cost would be covered by cutting funds that already have been approved for government agencies but not yet spent.


1TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

He needs votes for 2012.

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2faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

db2, you are referring to the Bush tax cuts right? Was Bush trying to destroy America? If millionaires and billionaires are gonna get a tax cut too, this is what the right wing wackos want and got under Bush, then I say no one gets em. The cost of the tax cuts to 95% of working Americans pails in comparison to the amount the richest will save. And guess what, they aint gonna let it trickle down!

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3peacelover(839 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Is anyone else embarrassed to be from the same state as John Boehner?

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4cambridge(4163 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

$700 Billion added to the deficit so the richest 3% can get tax break. They are already among the richest people on the planet but the republicans have to make sure they acquire more wealth at the same time they are saying no to a nutritious lunch for school children and no to extending unemployment for the people whose jobs were sent offshore while giving tax breaks for the companies that shipped the jobs.

republican family values.

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5goman71(104 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

me peace lover

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6goman71(104 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

db2 george bush gave us a rebate in 2000 that effectively wiped out the surplus that we had under clinton. were you outraged with that one as well?

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7peacelover(839 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

goman, I hope the rest of the country doesn't think that knucklehead represents most Ohioans.

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8cambridge(4163 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

THOMAS....The link below shows the personal income of the top 25 hedge fund managers.

25 people made a combined personal income of 25.3 billion dollars with the top earner David Tepper making a 4 billion dollar increase over the previous year. How do you justify adding 700 billion dollars to the deficit and ultimately the debt to give these people a tax break?

I can understand the guy at the bottom of the list. He only made 350 million dollars. That's not even a million a day so he probably needs the money, right?


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9goman71(104 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

hey @ thomas the white wealth youre talking about is indebted to the chinese in bonds and loans . so if obama needs to go to sudan why dont the republicans go to bejing and beg for more money you genuis

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10goman71(104 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

i hope not either peacelover because that would be "chicken crap"

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11redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Same old crap again. Before the Bush tax cuts the top 20% of wage earners ($68,296 and above) paid 67.41% of the taxes. After the tax cuts the same top 20% paid 68.95% of the taxes. How could this be, because a lot more of the lower wage earners ended up paying no taxes. Now what was this big tax cut for the wealthy AKA successful people. Prior to the tax cut those earning $250K and above were subject to as high as a 39% tax rate. After the tax cut they were subject to a 35% rate. Really made a killing didn't they. How many of you whiners are paying anywhere near that rate.

Now I know that some here do not like to refer to percentages because they are too complicated. If you can use BIG DOLLAR amounts it impresses the other whiners.

Personally in a way I would like to see the tax rates for the 250K+ go back to the 39%. Tell you why, who are these rich people? Most of them are small business owners who have worked hard to succeed and provide JOBS, not just the chosen few that some posters base their whole whine on. I know one small business owner in Ohio that has busted his butt and dealt with the ulcers to build up his business to 20 million a year in sales. He has provided his employees (20+) with paid insurance, cell phones etc. Based on the effects of the Obowsercare and the tax rate, he will lay off people and force the remaining employees to absorb a good portion of their health care. Want to guess what the political preference will be of the ones let go? Hee Hee Hee!!!

The main thing to remember folks is that these RICH folks are usually the ones that provide jobs regardless of what kind of crap some here try to preach.

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12Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

they included a tax break providing as much as $400 for individual working people and $800 for couples — even if they pay nothing to the IRS.

what a great idea dont pay taxes and we will still pay you a tax refund. Democrats must really not want reelected.

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