WASHINGTON — Republicans control neither the House nor the Senate – and certainly not the White House. But they largely dictated the terms of President Barack Obama’s proposed tax-cut compromise, which disgruntled congressional Democrats want to discuss in closed meetings that are likely to be rowdy.
Republicans prevailed on their biggest demand: continuing Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, despite Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to let them expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year. Obama, while acknowledging Democratic unrest, agreed to extend the tax breaks for two years, whereas Republicans wanted a permanent extension.Obama Tax Cut Deal Terms Largely Dictated By Republicans
House and Senate Democratic leaders were noncommittal on the proposal, saying they would discuss it in closed caucus meetings Tuesday. Vice President Joe Biden, a key player in seeking a compromise, scheduled a rare visit to the Senate Democrats’ weekly luncheon the same day.
Obama explained Monday that the concession was the only way to prevent a congressional impasse that would cause the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 to expire for all taxpayers. With 9.8 percent of Americans unemployed, he said, that would be “a chilling prospect.”Obama Tax Cut Deal Terms Largely Dictated By Republicans
Liberal groups were furious at his willingness to bend, but Obama said he rejects “symbolic victories” that hurt average Americans.
His plan also would renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes paid by workers but not by employers.Obama Tax Cut Deal Terms Largely Dictated By Republicans
The president had barely stopped speaking before top Republicans applauded his proposals,Obama Tax Cut Deal Terms Largely Dictated By Republicans