Entries in Bush-Era Tax Cuts (27)


GOP Senator Says ‘Put Politics Aside’ to Avoid ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the “fiscal cliff” looming, there was plenty of talk Sunday by members of both political parties of reaching a deal to avoid spending cuts and tax hikes that some economists say could plunge the country back into recession.

“We need to put politics aside.  The election is over.  President Obama has won,” Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said on ABC’s This Week.

But while there are signs of a way to make a deal, it’s not clear that everyone is on board, even though Speaker of the House John Boehner says he will consider increasing revenues.

“The tone was good.  I think the jury is still out on exactly what the substance of what he said is,” Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said.

The so-called “cliff” comes on Jan. 1, when several tax cuts expire and severe cuts to government spending are triggered.  It’s also been called “taxmageddon,” because an average American family will see their tax bill increase by $3,700 next year.

The sticking point to solve the stand-off is what the president calls a “balanced approach” of spending cuts and increased revenues.  The president campaigned on -- and won on -- the pledge to allow the tax rates for the rich to rise, while keeping middle-class tax rates where they are currently.

A leading Republican said “no” on Sunday.

“No Republican will vote for higher tax rates.  We will generate revenue from eliminating deductions and loopholes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

That’s the position Boehner is promoting as well.

While Obama has said he is open to “new ideas,” a leading Democrat suggested closing loopholes is not enough.  Sen. Patty Murray of Washington was asked on ABC’s This Week if Democrats will allow the country to go over the cliff.

“To solve this problem, the wealthiest Americans have to pay their fair share, too,” she said.  “So if the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we’ll start over next year.”

The two sides have a few more days to make their cases before congressional leaders are called to the White House on Friday.  That’s when negotiations start in earnest and we learn if the election made a difference in relations between the two parties.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michael Bloomberg: US Default on Debt Obligations a 'Seismic Event'

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg believes a U.S. default on its debt obligations would be a "seismic event" that would damage "America's word" and its status as a dependable financial standard.

"I don't think anybody will look ever again at America and the dollar as the reserve currency, where this is the standard by which all other risks are measured," if the U.S. defaults on its debt obligations, Bloomberg told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "It's one seismic event that says you can never depend 100 percent on America's word anymore."

Even Bloomberg is willing to see his taxes increase in order to reach a long-term budget agreement.

"I get pretty good value for my taxes... We get a lot for our tax dollars," Bloomberg said. "I don't want to pay any more taxes than is necessary, but I do want the services, and I want us to live within our means. So, if we want more services, we've got to come up with the revenue."

Bloomberg does not think the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy should be eliminated right now while the economy is still weak, but does think they should be allowed to expire in the future.

"I think right now is not exactly the right time to let those tax cuts expire," Bloomberg said. "But if you told me six months from now or a year from now, when the economy was better and job creation was better, yes, I don't have a problem with that."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


A Dozen House Dems Urge Obama to End Bush-Era Tax Cuts for Rich

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A dozen House Democrats wrote a letter to President Obama Friday expressing “serious concerns about the direction of negotiations regarding federal spending,” and called on the president to include an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for the country’s wealthiest earners as part of a bipartisan deal to increase the debt limit.
“Our nation’s most respected economists and business leaders agree that we need a long-term solution to our budget deficit coupled with responsible choices about investing in rebuilding and renewing our economy in the short term,” the letter reads. “We urge you to push for a fiscal 2012 budget deal that makes responsible short-term choices that do not threaten our fragile recovery.”
“We also urge that this deal provide a long-term fiscal solution that includes an expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- a step which, by itself, will stop the growth of the deficit over the next decade,” the letter adds.
Last December, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-House Minority Leader John Boehner struck a deal to extend the tax cuts through the end of 2012.

Earlier this spring, Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead negotiations with a select group of lawmakers from each of the four caucuses and conferences. Over the past few months, the vice president has held five meetings, either at the Capitol or at the Blair House near the White House.

The Treasury Department says that lawmakers have until August 2nd before the US. government defaults on its credit if negotiators are unable to strike a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion statutory debt limit.

In the letter, the group warns “that sharp immediate cuts in government spending risk plunging our economy into a double-dip recession that will cost further jobs and ultimately worsen our fiscal situation.”
The letter is signed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Jim Moran, John Olver, Michael Honda, Luis V. Gutierrez, Jim McDermott, Lynn Woolsey, Donna Christian-Christensen, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gwen Moore, John Conyers, and Barbara Lee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boehner Praises Tax Cuts Passage; Pledges to Cuts Spending

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Speaker Designate John Boehner says that House Republicans took a strong step late Thursday night in helping to rebuild the economy by passing a full extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, including breaks for the country's wealthiest taxpayers, but says that the GOP must now work to cut spending and decrease the size of government in order to further stimulate job creation.

"It's a good first step, but let's be clear, if we actually want to help our economy get back on track and to begin creating jobs, we need to end the job- killing spending binge. We need to cut spending significantly and we need to provide more certainty to small businesses around America," Boehner said. "Doing this is going to require tough choices. And we'll start first by cutting our own budget. It will be one of our first votes. Then we'll turn our attention to the rest of the federal budget and the job-killing policies that are denying economic growth and opportunity for the American people, including killing the job-killing health-care law."

Just seconds before the stroke of midnight, after months of heated debate, back-room arm-twisting and White House negotiations, the House of Representatives finally passed a $858 billion tax cuts package, including a two-year extension on all of the Bush-era Tax Cuts, a 13-month extension for Unemployment Insurance benefits, and approval of the controversial estate tax break that gives 6,600 families a break worth $23 billion.

The compromise negotiated by President Obama and GOP leaders in Congress passed by healthy, bipartisan vote: 277-148, with more Democrats (139) actually voting for the deal than Republicans (138). Thirty-six House Republicans voted against final passage and 112 Democrats opposed the measure.

Responding to recent criticism over the compromise from conservative leaders, including Sarah Palin who called the deal "lousy,"  Boehner stressed that the bill was not perfect but it successfully achieves his primary objective to prevent any of the Bush-era tax cuts from expiring in the midst of a sputtering economy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


FreedomWorks CEO: Tax Deal ‘No Brainer’ for Conservatives to Support

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican opposition to the tax deal reached by President Obama and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill is growing even as the package motors toward passage, with former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., the latest prominent Republican to come out in opposition to it.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of the Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks, told ABC News on Tuesday the bill remains a “no-brainer” for conservatives, despite concerns that the president is using the deal to pass a stimulus package by another name.

“This isn't stimulus. This is dodging the tax bullet,” Kibbe said. “To me, it's a no-brainer to not allow taxes to go up dramatically in January so we can then deal with fundamental tax reform. We can deal with [Rep.] Paul Ryan's [proposed] budget, which he's going to offer, which will offer substantial spending reform.”

The deal, as it now stands, is the best Republicans can hope to reach, as long as Democrats remain in control of the House in the lame-duck session of Congress, Kibbe said.

“The next Congress is going to be fundamentally different. But the problem with this bill is that we have this Congress. We have Nancy Pelosi as speaker. We have Harry Reid as majority leader. And if we don't do anything, taxes go up dramatically on Jan. 1.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Poll: Broad Backing for Obama-GOP Tax Deal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With decisive votes in Congress pending, Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll broadly support the tax-and-benefits deal forged by President Obama and Republican leaders of Congress.

Sixty-nine percent support the package overall, far outnumbering the 29 percent opposed. When given arguments that it will add as much as $900 billion to the federal budget deficit, 62 percent continue to support the measure, with opposition inching up to only 34 percent.

While support is broad, its tepid nature in part reflects skepticism that the changes will do much to improve the long-troubled economy. Just 36 percent think it will help, including only nine percent who think it will help a great deal. That leaves six in 10 who either don't think the deal will have much economic impact at all, or fear it'll make things worse. Strong support for the package is higher among those who think it'll improve the economy.

Some individual elements draw sharply partisan views. Support for extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthy, ranges from 85 percent of Republicans to just 38 percent of Democrats. On the other hand Democrats are 33 points more apt than Republicans to favor extending unemployment benefits, 88 percent vs. 55 percent.

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was produced by Langer Associates. The survey was conducted among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results have a 3.5-point error margin.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Score One For Obama, Tax Bill Victory Looks Likely

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a week of arm twisting, negotiating, endorsement peddling -- and even an impromptu press conference held by former President Bill Clinton -- President Obama looks like he has successfully contained a revolt from within his own party and will get his way on taxes.

Lead House tax negotiator Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD., said on Fox News Sunday the House "will have an opportunity to work its will, and that “we're not going to hold this thing up at the end of the day.”

“The main sticking point,” according to Van Hollen, is the estate tax. Although the estate tax is currently zeroed out, the compromise tax plan would lower what had been a 55 percent tax on estates to 35 percent, a reduction that has been a major source of Democratic complaints.

The Senate is expected to hold its first votes on the tax measure Monday.

During his television appearances over the weekend, White House senior adviser David Axelrod took care to mention that the compromise tax plan now featured a renewable energy tax credit, an incentive pushed for by key Democrats. In short, tweaks like that give Democrats a chance to save face while not making sweeping changes to the deal.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


David Axelrod: House Democrats Will 'Come Together' On Tax Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats in the House of Representatives will pass the controversial tax plan President Obama brokered with the GOP leadership, despite their deep reservations, Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod said Sunday on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

"I believe there will be a coming together around it," Axelrod said of the plan, which last week prompted a surprise insurrection from House Democrats who refused to take up a vote on the proposal, citing the many concessions it made to Republicans.

Axelrod said Democratic lawmakers would not have an opportunity to further negotiate or change the deal. They will have to agree to the plan hashed out by the President.

“I don't anticipate it's going to change greatly," he said referring to the biggest sticking point in the deal, an extension of the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans and lowering taxes on inherited income -- the estate tax.

He said there were enough elements of the deal to bring Democrats on board when it came time to vote. The proposed package would extend the Bush tax cuts across incomes, extend benefits to the unemployed and cut payroll taxes. Some Democrats also said that the plan would add $700 billion to the national debt.

Axelrod argued that the proposal would extend unemployment insurance and spur middle-class Americans and small businesses to spend, which would energizing the economy. He said the deal did not contradict promises President Obama made during the campaign not to extend the Bush cuts for the wealthy, because the extension would only be "temporary" and not "permanent."

The Senate is expected to vote on the proposal this week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Dec102010 Vows Primary Challenges vs. Dems Who Support Tax Deal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Amid outrage on the left over the tax deal reached by President Obama, liberal activists are promising 2012 primary challenges against Democrats who vote in favor of the package.

Ilyse Hogue, the director of political advocacy for, told ABC News Friday that her group’s members are eager to stand up for their viewpoints even against Democratic office-holders, as they did in an unsuccessful primary challenge against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who went on to lose in the general election.

“We saw in 2010 that our members’ appetite to fight for people willing to fight for middle-class Americans is huge,” Hogue said. “Did Blanche Lincoln win?…Yes. But, did she have to pay a steep price, and was a message sent that…this is a long-term fight to get the Democrats to stand up to special interests, and fight on behalf of the American people. And we’ll use every tool in our toolbox to do that, moving forward.”

Hogue said the president has made a “wide miscalculation” about voters’ intent in caving to Republicans on a range of tax cuts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Congressman Weiner: Obama More Like 'Negotiator-in-Chief'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- After his behind closed doors sparring match with Vice President Biden on the tax cut deal Wednesday night, Congressman Anthony Weiner still had some fight in him Thursday morning.

“Unfortunately I think that President Obama sees the job more as negotiator-in-chief than really the leader of our country and the leader of our party,” the New York Democrat told ABC News.

Weiner conceded that there are “some good things” in the tax cut deal, but he believes it could have been better if Obama had put up more of a fight.

"We want the president to be a success, there’s no doubt about that," Weiner said.  "And that’s what separates us from the Republicans.  But I have to tell you something it’s only going to get worse for the president if he allows himself to be pushed around by this with deals like this."

Weiner added that the Democrats' "objective isn’t to necessarily block it.  We’re trying to improve it.  We’re trying to get some things included in the deal that aren’t.  We’re trying to get some things taken out.  If the idea is that, that this is a take it or leave it deal I think the president is going to realize that there are going to be a lot of Democrats who are going to be voting no."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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