Entries in Tax Cut Extensions (14)


House Passes GOP's Full Tax-Cut Extension

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House voted Wednesday to approve the one-year extension of the current tax code, 256-171. This includes an extension of the tax cuts for the country’s wealthiest earners. Nineteen Democrats peeled off to support the GOP legislation. One Republican along with 170 Democrats voted in opposition.
As for the Democratic plan -- which would extend the current tax rates only for families making under 250,000 -- it didn’t fare as well, suffering a stinging defeat with a 170-257 vote.
The GOP extension is unlikely to move any further, with Senate Democrats and President Obama opposed to the measure.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House Preps Vote on Full Tax Extension

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the House of Representatives set to vote Wednesday on a measure to extend all of the current tax rates for one year, Republicans are amplifying their calls for Democrats to abandon plans for a tax hike on the country’s wealthiest earners.

“Two years ago the president said that stopping the tax hike was the right thing to do for our economy. Well, economic growth is worse now, but he’s out campaigning for a tax hike on small businesses,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference today on Capitol Hill. “Americans want us to focus on jobs, not on raising taxes.”

Democrats maintain that extending the tax cuts for the country’s top two percent is unaffordable, adding $1 trillion to the deficit. But Republicans warn that the economic cost of a tax increase on small businesses would be dire.

“What we have is a plan, a plan to extend current law for a year as a bridge to comprehensive and fundamental tax reform that will lower rates and really get the kind of economic growth that we haven't seen,” Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee said. “Their plan will cost us 700,000 jobs. Our plan will create a million jobs in the first year alone.”

Last week, Senate Democrats approved a plan to extend the current tax rates for families making under $250,000 for one year, while allowing the rates for families earning above $250,000 to expire. House Democrats will offer that plan Wednesday, although a vote on it is expected to fail.

Since taking over the majority, Boehner has insisted that “Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” But with a lack of bipartisan consensus on a resolution ahead of the election this fall and an all-out brawl expected during the Lame Duck session of Congress, he maintained that the voters’ “No. 1 concern is about the economy and jobs.”

“You've heard me talk about it for over 18 months, and it has been our relentless focus over our time in the majority to do everything we could to help get Americans back to work,” the speaker said. “Stopping the looming tax hikes is another great example of trying to help our economy. The president said two years ago that raising taxes in a weak economy was the wrong thing to do; 119 Democrats voted with us to extend all of the current rates. There is no reason that we shouldn't be doing the same thing again.”

The House is expected to vote late this afternoon on H.R. 8, the tax extension, and then before lawmakers leave for a five-week recess Thursday, the House will vote to fast track pro-growth tax reform within one year.

“The choice is clear: you either want growth or you want more taxes,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said. “You either want to endow the folks who have earned the money with the right to keep that money and grow this economy or you want to tax those people more and let Washington decide how it’s going to allocate that money.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Grapples with Democrats on Tax Cuts

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama calls on Congress today to extend tax cuts for individuals making less than $250,000, House Speaker John Boehner criticized the president for failing to lead on the economy, restating his opposition to extending only some tax rates while letting others run out.

“President Obama is still asleep at the switch when it comes to our economy and jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in a statement. “In the wake of another weak jobs report, the president is doubling down on his quixotic call for the same small businesses tax hikes that have been routinely rejected by the House and Senate. How will these small business tax hikes create jobs?”

At the center of the debate is a range of temporary tax cuts that are timed to run out at the same time January 1, 2013. Today the president is drawing his line in the sand, cutting off the extension of the current rates for anyone making more than $250,000 per year – a familiar threshold for lawmakers fighting this battle over the past couple of years.

The House is set to repeal the president’s signature health care law again later this week, and to extend all of the current tax rates before the end of the month. For the speaker, these two votes go hand-in-hand not only for spurring job creation, but also to winning the election this fall.

“We have already announced that later this month we will boost economic growth and create jobs by preventing the looming, massive tax hikes and providing a fairer, simpler tax code that lowers rates and closes special interest loopholes,” Boehner said.  “President Obama needs to learn that when it comes to jobs and the economy ‘leading from behind’ is not good enough.”

Still, it is highly improbable that Congressional Democrats will cave without a fight. Instead, the resolution of the tax standoff will likely be delayed until the Lame Duck session after the election.

That won’t stop House Republicans from passing these measures in order to demonstrate what the GOP could achieve with a full congressional majority. As one senior Republican put it, “A jobs message will trump a fairness message every time.  Washington Democrats will lose on this politically and substantively.”

A senior House Democrat summarized the Democratic defense by emphasizing that it is “unnecessary” to extend the current tax rates for the wealthiest earners because doing so does little to grow the economy.

“Democrats support immediate extension of the middle income tax cuts and we have offered our support at several levels to ensure passage and provide economic security to the middle class,” the aide said. “Republicans are very clear: they continue to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to costly and unnecessary tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, even though tax cuts for the rich have created more debt and won't produce jobs. Democrats say pass the extension of the middle income tax cuts now and end the uncertainty.”

Some Democrats have signaled a willingness to extend the current rates for taxpayers earning up to $1 million per year.

Congressional Republicans point to the lack of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate for anything less than a full extension across the board, demonstrated by the Democrats’ compromise on a two-year extension of all the rates in December 2010.
“President Obama already caved once on a full extension of the tax rates; he will again,” one senior GOP leadership aide predicted.

The aide also foresees Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, who figures to be a top player in future negotiations, treading carefully given an upcoming reelection bid in 2014.

“[Baucus] is a key player in getting a tax agreement done,” the source said. “While he may echo the president’s position now, when push comes to shove, he will again push for a full extension of the tax rates that he helped negotiate back in 2001.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Call for Tax Cut Extension for Middle-Income Earners

McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday will call for a one-year extension of the “Bush tax cuts” for individuals making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing cuts for those earning above that level to expire at the end of the year, a campaign official tells ABC News.  

This will be the focus of the Obama campaign and White House this week, including the president’s round of local affiliate interviews on Monday and campaign events in Iowa on Tuesday.

The president will announce his proposal in the East Room of the White House at 11:50 a.m. ET.  It comes as part of a continuing effort by Obama to change the subject from jobs and the economy, particularly after last Friday’s Labor Department report.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tax Brawl Brewing on Capitol Hill

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The reality of “Taxmageddon” -- a heavy load of tax code provisions expiring at the end of the year -- is that lawmakers probably won’t come together on a comprehensive agreement until after the election this fall.

But that has not stopped congressional leaders from posturing on their party’s policies, hoping to drum up support for their respective platforms before November.

Republicans and Democrats alike often publicize the need to create certainty for the country’s small businessmen and women by removing uncertainty from the fiscal horizon.

But if anything on Capitol Hill is certain these days, it’s that the divided Congress is unlikely to bridge its differences before the election this November, and depending on the strength of a mandate that voters award to Congress on Election Day, the issue is likely to drag on well into next year.

Looking to get ahead of the game, House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday that the House will act to “extend all of the current tax rates” next month “bringing some certainty to the tax code.”

Across the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote Boehner last week asking him to bring a middle-income tax cut bill to the floor immediately, leaving the battle over the upper-income tax cuts for another day.  The Democratic leader said on Thursday that she believes it is “important for us to get the show on the road, to act now so that we can remove all doubt that there will be a middle-income tax cut.”

“No longer will middle-income taxpayers be held hostage to those making over a million dollars a year and that money raised by the expiration of the high-income tax cuts would be used to reduce the deficit,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said.  “This is urgent because, as we go toward the months ahead, we have another conversation brewing about the debt ceiling and it’s important for us to show that revenue will be on the table as we reduce the deficit.  We have to deal with our economic issues, and we have to do it now.”

Whatever the House Republican majority passes next month, President Obama and congressional Democrats are unlikely to wholly embrace the GOP’s approach to extend all the current tax rates.  Democrats have their own preferences, especially allowing the tax rates to expire for the wealthiest earners making more than $1 million per year and using that new revenue to pay down the deficit.

Asked about the prospect of a short-term extension of the current tax rates in order to get lawmakers past the lame duck and into the next session of Congress, Pelosi said that the idea of a three- or six-month extension is “fairly stupid” and another example of Congress “kicking that old can down the road.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Signs Payroll Tax Cut Extension into Law

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The payroll tax cut extension has officially been signed into law.  President Obama put his John Hancock on the measure Wednesday night.

The "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012" renews the 2 percent reduction in the payroll tax -- which was set to expire at the end of this month -- through Dec. 31, 2012.  It also extends unemployment benefits for up to 73 weeks.

After some uncertainty over whether there would be enough votes to put the deal into play, Congress passed the bill last Friday.

Obama touted the success on Tuesday, calling the legislation a "big deal" that will will help middle class Americans by providing an extra $40 in their paychecks.

“That $40 helps to pay the rent, the groceries, the rising cost of gas -- which is on a lot of people's minds right now,” he said.

“Congress did the right thing here.  They listened to the voice of the American people.  Each side made a few compromises.  We passed some important reforms to help turn unemployment insurance into re-employment insurance, so that more people get training and the skills they need to get back in a job,” the president continued.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Guantanamo: The Next Democratic Rebellion Against Obama?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As extension of tax cuts pits Democrats against the White House, President Obama is facing another rebellion from House Democrats, who slipped a provision into the federal funding bill this week barring alleged terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay from being moved to U.S. prisons.

Guantanamo has been a sore point for Democrats and Republicans; Obama signed an executive order 21 months ago -- one of his first as commander-in-chief -- to shut it down.  His plan to have detainees move to federal prisons has taken much heat from both sides of the political aisle.

The president's plan this week also received another blow in the form of a report by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, which said "the number of former detainees identified as reengaged in terrorist or insurgent activity will increase."

Of the 598 detainees who have been released, the DNI report found that 81 of them, or 13.5 percent, are confirmed and 69, or 11.5 percent, are suspected of re-engaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.  Of the 66 former Guantanamo detainees transferred since Obama took office, "two are confirmed and three are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities."

The White House insists that closing the Guantanamo Bay detainee center is a "national security imperative," but the latest move by the House, amid the background of Clapper's report, does not bode well for the president's agenda.

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


Biden Tells House Democrats to 'Take or Leave' Tax Cut Deal

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden met with House Democrats Wednesday night in an effort to persuade them to accept the tax cut deal that many of them are having a hard time swallowing.

Paraphrasing the vice president, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, said Biden referred to the compromise as a kind of "take it, or leave it" deal.

Democrats in the meeting said that Biden left little room for tweaking the deal, and while many members of the party continue to be agitated at the substance of the compromise plan as well as the White House’s handling of the negotiations, there are now signs that it may be moving toward congressional passage before the end of the year.

With backing from a critical mass of Senate Democrats, the administration will likely be able to avoid a filibuster.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint Opposes Tax Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina says he will oppose the tax deal President Obama made with the Republican leadership.  He’ll join the likes of liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in filibustering it.

“Most of us who ran this election said we weren’t going to vote for anything that increased the deficit.  This does,” DeMint said Wednesday morning on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

DeMint doesn’t like the fact that the tax cut extension is temporary and he doesn’t like the extension of unemployment insurance.

“I don’t think we need to extend unemployment any further without paying for it, and without making some modifications such as turning it into a loan at some point.  It then encourages people to go back to work,” DeMint said.  “The biggest problem I have is we don’t need a temporary economy, which means we don’t need a temporary tax rate.  A permanent extension of our current tax rates would allow businesses to plan five and ten years in advance, and that’s how you build an economy.”

Even the estate tax provision -- which has enraged liberals because it would cut the scheduled increase in the estate tax from 55 percent to 35 percent and only applies to estates valued at over $5 million -- doesn’t satisfy DeMint.

“It raises the death tax,” DeMint says, presumably because this year, in an anomaly, the estate tax is zero percent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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