Entries in Tax Cuts (41)


Vice President Joe Biden: Tax Deal Can Be Done in a Snap

ABC News(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Vice President Joe Biden took seven middle-class taxpayers to lunch at a diner in suburban northern Virginia Friday, highlighting their concern about the looming tax hike that could hit at the end of the month.

“This is no time to add any additional burden for middle-class people,” Biden said, seated with his guests at a table after the meal had been cleared.

“It would take 15 minutes from the time the decision was made by the speaker of the House to pass and make permanent a middle-class tax cut,” he said. “The president would probably have me sprint up to the Hill to bring the bill down and to sign it.

“It can be done like that,” he said, with a snap of his fingers.

The White House has been pressuring lawmakers to enact a tax-cut extension immediately for 98 percent of Americans – individuals earning less than $200,000 a year and families earning less than $250,000 a year – a move that would refocus the “fiscal cliff” debate on top tax rates, entitlement spending and the debt ceiling.

Republicans oppose decoupling the middle-income tax cuts from the upper-income cuts, however, preferring to negotiate on an entire package deal.

Negotiations to avert the cliff have stalled over the administration’s insistence top rates must rise and power to raise the debt ceiling must shift to the White House.

“There are two irreducible minimum requirements for us,” Biden reiterated today, though he noted how much rates could rise is “negotiable.”

“I’m an optimistic [person], genetically,” Biden said, when asked for his outlook on having a deal by Dec. 31.

Earlier in the lunch, Biden also commented on Friday’s jobs report, saying, “I think we have turned the corner” on the economy.

“It’s undeniable the trajectory is positive,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Urges Vote on Middle Class Tax Relief

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to allow a vote on legislation to extend tax cuts on the first $250,000 of personal income and delay the debate over tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers until next year.

“This doesn’t have to be a cliffhanger,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after a meeting Thursday afternoon with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “The president has his pen poised to sign a middle-income tax cut. It has already passed the Senate. House Democrats are prepared to vote for it. We urge our Republican colleagues in the House to bring a middle-income tax cut to the floor.”

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said that there has been “no substantive progress” during the past two weeks of negotiations to avert the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

Pelosi surmised that extending tax breaks for the middle class would be “a Christmas present to the American people” that would not only increase the confidence of consumers, but also financial markets.

“The president has been clear, and we support him, on holding firm to the … expiration of tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year,” she added. “That would be part of a big, bold and balanced package that has big cuts.”

A senior aide to the speaker revealed that Geithner came to Boehner with an offer of $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, an undisclosed amount of new stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and an end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

Another attendee at the Geithner meeting, the Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn of South Carolina, called the meeting “very fruitful.”

“The time for posturing is over,” Clyburn said. “We are in the holiday season when people would love to turn to their families with some certainty, and I think we ought to give them that.”

Rep. Xavier Becerra, the Democratic Caucus chairman, said that Geithner’s equation is “simple math” and results in “a bold but balanced plan that could easily get the [president's] signature and votes” to pass into law.

“We believe that we can move forward,” Becerra, D-Calif., said. “At least let us vote here in the House of Representatives on what has already passed in the Senate on a bipartisan basis, and that is protection for the middle class from seeing the rates rise for them.”

While Boehner seemed glum about the prospects of a deal, Pelosi said she was confident the leaders would strike a bipartisan agreement.

“Why am I confident? Because it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “They’re tough choices for us. This isn’t easy, but it’s necessary, and I have confidence that my Republican colleagues will see the light and at least pass the middle-income tax cut.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden Visits Costco in DC, Calls for Middle Class Tax Cut

TJ Kirkpatrick/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It appears Joe Biden likes a bargain.  The vice president flashed his Costco membership card to cheers from delighted shoppers as he walked through the doors at the grand opening of the discount chain’s first-ever Washington, D.C., store Thursday morning.

“I’ve got to show my card first,” he remarked, before launching into his holiday shopping.

The surprise visit was part of the Obama administration’s broader campaign to pressure Republicans to extend the middle class tax cuts as part of a deficit reduction deal.

“I think it’s important that Congress acts now, I mean right now,” Biden told reporters.  “All it has to do is take a single vote to extend the middle class tax cut.”

“If they don’t do that and we go over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ the fact is that it’s been estimated that $200 billion less will be spent next year, as well as you’re going to have people having their taxes going up roughly $2,300 a year.  It’s going to have an impact on the economy,” he said.  “We have a lot we have to settle, but there’s one thing we should agree on and that is the middle class tax cut should be made permanent.”

The vice president did spent just under an hour shopping at the new store in the struggling Fort Lincoln neighborhood.

“These are hard-working folks who don’t need to see their taxes go up,” he said.

The Bidens, who have been members of the discount store in the past, re-activated their membership on Wednesday.  They paid the $55 membership fee to receive the new cards, according to the White House.

“I’ve got my own,” the vice president was overheard saying of his new membership card.  “My wife never let me have one before.”

The grand opening was at 8 a.m. and when the official motorcade arrived more than an hour later, the parking lot in the Northeast neighborhood was already packed.

An employee wheeled Biden’s cart around the floor as he stopped frequently to pose for pictures, shake hands and taste several of the free samples, which he appeared to enjoy.

Biden made stops in the bakery and frozen food section, and picked up several children’s books for “Book Buddies,” a program his wife is involved with in Delaware.

The vice president also perused the jewelry cases.  After borrowing a cellphone from his aide, he tried to call his daughter Ashley.  

“I’m getting some guidance,” he said, but the call did not go through.  He then took a closer look at some of the watches.

The vice president was greeted Thursday morning by CEO Craig Jelinek and Costco Co-founder Jim Sinegal, who was a huge Obama donor and campaign surrogate.  President Obama attended a campaign fundraiser hosted by Sinegal at his Washington state home earlier this year and Sinegal had a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention.

“Thanks for coming along.  Now you know why my wife doesn’t let me shop alone,” Biden joked at the end of his shopping.  “Thanks for shopping with me and I know you won’t tell anybody what I bought for Christmas.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Let the Liberal Pressure Begin: Union Ads Tell Dems Not to Cave on Cuts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Three major unions have joined forces to air ads pressuring Democrats to reject GOP demands as party leaders negotiate a way to sidestep the dreaded “fiscal cliff.”

Congress will return after Thanksgiving to hash out a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes in the hopes of averting what has also been referred to as “taxmageddon” -- a combination of the Bush tax cuts expiring and the budget “sequestration” that will enforce automatic, across-the-board cuts if Congress can’t find savings and revenues elsewhere. It’s the ultimatum Congress and President Obama gave themselves when they agreed to raise the federal debt limit in 2011.

With negotiations in their early phases, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME); the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and the National Education Association (NEA) have teamed up to air TV and radio ads pressuring moderate Senate Democrats to reject spending cuts and focus more heavily on tax hikes.

According to AFSCME, the ads are supported by a “sizable, six-figure ad buy.”

Ads like this are airing in Colorado, Missouri and Virginia. The ads target Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, D-Colo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jim Webb and Mark Warner, D-Va. All five are considered moderates.

The unions are targeting four House members in three more states with radio ads: Pat Meehan, R-Pa., Mike Fitzpatrick, D-Pa., Don Young, R-Alaska and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney's Economic Advisor: Compromise Needed to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- How would Mitt Romney have dealt with the fiscal cliff if he had won the White House?

A possible answer came from his top economic advisor, who seems to think that compromise between Republicans and Democrats is the only answer to avoiding another recession.

In fact, Glenn Hubbard, the dean of Columbia’s business school, did not rule out getting the rich to contribute more while interviewed Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, although he still advocates generating most of the needed revenue from spending cuts.

According to Hubbard, “If you raise every tax on the rich that the president has proposed, it’s about one percent of GDP (gross domestic product).  But our long-term problems are more like ten percent of GDP.  And we know from people who have studied fiscal consolidations are really all about spending cuts."

Yet, Hubbard doesn't flat out oppose eliminating deductions from the wealthiest Americans because "we're going to have to have some compromise.  And I think step one is figure out how to raise some revenue without killing the economy."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boehner Rejects Obama’s Request To Extend Middle Class Tax Cut

TOBY JORRIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fresh off his reelection as House speaker Wednesday afternoon, John Boehner emphasized the need for bold leadership in order to repair the ailing economy, telling reporters that job creation remains the top priority for congressional Republicans.

“Our majority is a primary line of defense for the American people against a government that spends too much, borrows too much when left unchecked,” said Boehner, R-Ohio. “With so many challenges that are ahead of us, the American people need to see us act courageously, think selflessly and lead boldly. And our majority is up to the task, and I expect the president is, as well.”

A short time earlier, the House Republican Conference voted Boehner in to another two-year term as speaker.

Boehner rejected the president’s call earlier Wednesday for House Republicans to quickly pass Senate legislation that would extend middle class tax cuts, and he alternatively called on the Senate to take up House-passed legislation to extend all of the current tax rates for one year.

“Instead of the House moving on the Senate bill, the Senate ought to move on the House bill,” Boehner said. “We are not going to hurt our economy and make job creation more difficult, which is exactly what that plan would do. It’s not the direction that we want to go because it’s going to hurt job creators in America.”

Boehner is set to join President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the White House on Friday to begin conversations on the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff, which includes expiring tax cuts for the rich and middle class, $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts set to take effect next year, and a debt limit increase, remains the most daunting challenge for Congress during the lame duck session.

Despite the vast disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on taxes, the speaker said he remains “optimistic” that leaders will be able to avert a crisis.

“If you’ve looked closely at what the president had to say and you look closely at what I have had to say, you know, there are not barriers here to sitting down and beginning to work through this process,” Boehner said. “I don’t think anyone on either side of the aisle underestimates the difficulty that faces us.

“You’ve got members on both sides of the aisle, you know, who have their own ideas about how to resolve this,” he added. “If we stay focused on what’s in the best interest of our country and what’s in the best interests of the American people, I’m confident that this issue can be resolved.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama to Call for Deal on Tax Cuts

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Friday will call upon Congress to work with him on preserving the lower tax rates first pushed by President George W. Bush for those Americans who earn under $200,000 a year.  But he will state his belief that in re-electing him, voters were clear that they support a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction -- meaning that the lower tax rates for higher wage earners should expire.

The president's aides tell ABC News that he will argue that the tax cuts for the middle class are something everyone agrees on, so there’s no reason for them to be linked to tax cuts for wealthier Americans, about which there’s more disagreement.

This will be the president “setting the table” for negotiations with Congress, one White House official told ABC News, just as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, did on Thursday when he expressed his determination to stop any de facto tax increase on higher wage earners.

A report issued Thursday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warned about the consequences to the U.S. economy if no deal was struck and the Bush tax cuts expired in addition to all the other issues related to the so-called “fiscal cliff” -- including the expiration of a payroll tax cut, indexing the alternative minimum tax for inflation, continuing emergency unemployment benefits, and spending cuts forced on the budget because of the failure of the Super Committee to come up with $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

The CBO predicted that should no deal be struck, “real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 0.5 percent in 2013,″ causing “employment to decline and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

The president will note that the CBO report states that most of the impact of the tax cuts relates to those wage-earners who make less than $200,000 a year.  

Extending all the Bush-initiated lower rates would boost GDP by 1.4 percent and help create 1.8 million jobs, the CBO report states, while allowing their expiration for those higher wage earners while maintaining the lower rates for those making $200,000 a year and less would boost GDP by 1.3 percent and generate 1.6 million jobs.

The .1 percent difference in GDP growth and the drop in jobs is already being described by progressive pundits as “minimal.”

White House officials insist that they’re confident that a deal will be struck.  However, one top Obama adviser told ABC News that if the House GOP refuses to cut a deal with the president that includes some tax increases on the wealthy, the tax cuts will expire.  

One scenario the official discussed included the president barn-storming the country, telling the public that Democrats will put forward a bill to restore middle class tax cuts as soon as Congress convenes, and calling on them to pressure Republican congressional leaders to stop holding those tax cuts hostage in exchange for tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Turns Attack Dog on Romney Day After Debate

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa) -- One day after President Obama delivered what was by all accounts a lackluster debate performance, Vice President Joe Biden went on the attack against Mitt Romney, delivering zinger after zinger against the GOP nominee and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Biden drilled into the former Massachusetts governor on Medicare, saying the governor has changed his position on Medicare so many times that the “public is gonna have collective amnesia” if it believes Romney over “those of us who spent our entire careers protecting and fighting for Medicare.”

“Now, they’ve got a new plan.  They’ve got a lot of new plans.  Matter of fact, it’s hard to … keep up.  It really is hard to keep up,” Biden said at the Mid America Center, adding, “I think it’s even hard for them to keep up.”

The vice president highlighted the lack of detail in Romney’s debate answers, saying, “It’s bad enough that Gov. Romney won’t release the details of his tax returns. Now he won’t even release the details of what he plans on doing about your taxes. Seriously. Last night the governor walked away from the centerpiece of his economic plan.”

Speaking to reporters outside a grocery store, Biden criticized Romney for denying that his tax plan amounted to a $5 trillion dollar tax cut, a charge Obama levied against his GOP rival multiple times during Wednesday’s debate.

“Last night, we found out he doesn’t have a $5 trillion dollar tax cut, and I guess he outsourced that to China or something. I don’t know if that’s off-shored,” Biden said outside a Hy-Vee in Council Bluffs. “But it’s hard to figure out what Gov.  Romney’s position is on a number of issues.”

The vice president prodded at Romney for his proposed 20 percent across-the-board tax cut, saying the public realizes the middle class will end up paying for any tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Now folks, I went to a school, a high school that demanded an awful lot of -- you had to take math every year. … I’m not a bad mathematician, but I can still add and subtract,” Biden said.  “Folks, that adds up -- what I just said to you -- over $5 trillion right there, and that doesn’t even count their insistence on continuing the Bush tax cut for the very wealthy, which is due to expire on Jan. 1 of this year, which costs $1 trillion. So now you’re over $6 trillion.”

The $5 trillion figure that Biden and Obama often cite comes from an analysis of Romney’s tax plan conducted by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and does include continuing the Bush tax cuts. Romney has insisted that his plan will not add to the deficit and will be entirely paid for. The GOP nominee has yet to specify exactly how he plans to pay for his proposed tax cuts.

“Look, folks, I know we all don’t have access to Gov. Romney’s accountant. I thought last night when he said, ‘I’d like to introduce my accountant,’ that I’d love to have his accountant,” Biden said. "We may not have his accountant, but we understand someone ends up paying for all of this.”

But while Biden delivered a handful of zingers against Romney’s tax plan, he also provided fodder for Republican attacks against his own. The GOP’s rapid response team shot out a clip of Biden’s speech in which he said “yes we do” want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. The clip cut out  Biden’s next words -- “in one regard” -- in which he explained that those trillion dollars would come only from the “superwealthy.”

“On top of the trillion dollars of spending we’ve already cut, we’re going to ask -- yes, we’re going to ask the wealthy to pay more,” Biden said. “You know the phrase they always use. ‘Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars.’ Guess what? Yes, we do, in one regard. We want to let that trillion-dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the superwealthy. That’s not a tax raise. That’s called fairness where I come from.”

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said shortly after Biden’s remarks that they showed Biden had “fully embraced the president’s job-killing tax increases.”

“Fresh off admitting that America’s middle class has been ‘buried’ over the last four years, Vice President Biden went a step further today and fully embraced the president’s job-killing tax increases,” Williams said.  ”The choice facing Americans in this election gets clearer every day.”

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith responded on Twitter, saying the GOP was attacking Biden “for siding with a majority of Americans and  wanting a balanced approach to deficit reduction.”

Biden said he spoke to President Obama before his debate performance. The vice president lauded his boss for staying consistent and took a not-so-subtle dig at Romney for not doing the same.

“I learned this man never says anything he doesn’t mean, and means what he says,” Biden said of Obama. “He never, never says -- unlike some others, he never says one thing one day, another thing the next day, and he never changes position because it may be politically convenient.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama: Romney’s Tax Plan Is ‘Bad Math’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — President Obama mocked rival Mitt Romney’s tax cut proposals Sunday, telling supporters in Florida that his opponent’s plan is bad math and that he should “get some tutoring.”

Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., struggled in separate Sunday show appearances to offer specifics when asked what tax loopholes they would close to help pay for their proposed tax cuts.

“I guess my opponent has a plan, but there’s one thing missing from it: arithmetic,” Obama said to laughter from the crowd of 6,000 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

“They couldn’t answer the question of how you already have deficits, you add five trillion dollars in new tax cuts, two trillion dollars in new defense spending and somehow you’re going to close the deficit without raising taxes on middle class families?” Obama said.

“They did not take their arithmetic course,” he said to laughter from the fired up crowd. “They need to stay after school. They need to get some extra study hall in there. No recess for you.”

To reduce the deficit, Romney has proposed raising revenue, not by increasing taxes, but by ending loopholes and deductions for the wealthy. Pressed to explain what loopholes he would close, Romney offered few details in an NBC interview Sunday, saying “that people at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions.”

“We want to have this debate with Congress,” Ryan told ABC’s This Week when asked what loopholes they are going to target. “We want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them. And our priorities are high income earners should not get these kinds of loopholes.”

Vice President Joe Biden warned supporters in the swing state of Ohio that the Romney-Ryan ticket would take money from the middle class to give tax breaks to the super wealthy. “Ladies and gentlemen, look, all this has a giant price tag, and it’s not going to come from closing loopholes for millionaires,” he said at a campaign event in Milford. “Folks, when you give these kinds of tax breaks out to the very very wealthy, the money’s got to come from somewhere. And guess who? You.”

Traversing the battleground state of Florida this weekend, Obama has been hammering his opponents for pushing tax cuts as the cure to all economic woes.

“They’ve got the same plan they’ve had for 30 years: Tax cuts, tax cuts, gut a few regulations, and then give some more tax cuts,” he said at a rally earlier Sunday in Melbourne, Fla. “Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds tax cuts to improve your love life.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama: GOP Selling Tax Cuts to ‘Help Your Love Life’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — Mocking his opponents’ economic agenda, President Obama says Republicans are pushing tax cuts as the prescription to cure the ailing economy, “help you lose a few extra pounds,” and even “help your love life.”

The president unveiled the new quip Friday, but today he got a unique response as he kicked off his two-day campaign tour through Florida.

“It doesn’t help!” shouted a man of his lacking love life.

Obama, seemingly caught off guard by the joke, laughed in response. “You tried those tax cuts, huh?” he asked.

“Actually it does help when you give it to folks who need it,” the president continued, never missing an opportunity to push his economic proposals. “But I don’t believe, and you don’t believe, that another round of tax breaks for millionaires is going to bring good jobs back to our shores, or pay down our deficit.”

Two days after formally accepting his party’s nomination, the president reflected on the convention, suggesting former President Bill Clinton should be given a new cabinet position after his rousing speech.

“After he spoke, somebody sent out a tweet — they said, you should appoint him Secretary of Explaining Stuff,” Obama told the crowd of 11,000 gathered in the sweltering heat at St. Petersburg College-Seminole Campus.  “Although, I have to admit, it didn’t really say ‘stuff.’  I cleaned that up a little bit.”

Obama is spending the weekend on a campaign bus tour through the Sunshine State, part of his post-convention battleground state swing.

After his rally in St. Petersburg, the president rolled through Tampa, Fla., the site of the GOP convention two weeks ago, where he stopped for lunch at a Cuban sandwich shop.

“At their convention, they were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t say much about how they’d make it right.  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan,” Obama said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio