Entries in Tax Cuts Bill (6)


Obama Hails Victories of Lame Duck; Has 'Evolving Feelings' on Gay Marriage

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Taking a victory lap at the end of what he called the most "productive post-election period" in decades, the president celebrated the raft of new laws passed in the final weeks of the year, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which Wednesday he signed into law.

Asked by ABC News why he believed gay Americans should now be allowed to fight and die for their country but not enter into legally sanctioned marriages, the president admitted that he struggled with the duality in those positions.

"My feelings are constantly evolving," Obama told reporters about his position on gay marriage.

"I have friends, I have people who work for me, who are in powerful long-lasting gay or lesbian unions," he said, acknowledging that same-sex marriage is "something that means a lot to them."

"My baseline is a strong civil union that affords them legal protections," the president said Wednesday, just before leaving for his Christmas vacation in Hawaii. "I recognize from their perspective, it's not enough."

The president hailed the bipartisan effort put forth by lawmakers in recent weeks, passing bills on cutting taxes, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," food safety, providing health care to rescue workers sickened on 9/11, and the START treaty on nuclear weapons with Russia.

"If there is any lesson to draw from the past few weeks it's that we are not doomed to endless gridlock," the president said.

Obama admitted to being disappointed by Congress' inability to pass the omnibus spending bill and the DREAM ACT, a bill that would fast-track young, illegal immigrants to citizenship after finishing two years in the military or in college.

When he returns from Hawaii, the president intends to hold a bipartisan retreat at Camp David, White House sources said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Obama Signs Tax Deal, Hails Bipartisan Effort to Grow Jobs

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Friday signed into law an agreement to extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years, ending with the stroke of his pen a bitter schism in his own party and heading off what could have been a major standoff with Republicans.

The president hailed the bipartisan effort, acknowledging that both parties compromised on the deal by extending both tax cuts for the wealthy and benefits for the unemployed.

"It's a good deal for the American people. This is progress and that's what they sent us here to achieve," Obama said before an assembled group of lawmakers from both parties.

The bill, he said, "would protect our middle class, grow our economy and create jobs."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle "did what was right for the country," despite what he called "occasional political discomfort" from partisans who thought the deal made too many concessions to one party or the other.

The deal, which continues to give tax breaks across incomes and extends unemployment benefits , was hashed out by the president and the Republican leaders earlier this month.

The tax cuts would have expired Jan.1, resulting in average Americans paying thousands of additional dollars in taxes next year. A key concession by the White House was letting the Bush tax cuts for the country's top earners be extended, although the president had previously denounced giving cuts to wealthy Americans.

House Democrats initially said the deal gave Republicans too many concessions and vowed to keep it from coming to a vote. Just before midnight Thursday, however, the House passed the $858 billion package with strong bipartisan support, 277 to 148.

Despite what last week was called a Democratic insurrection, more Democrats than Republicans ultimately supported the deal.

"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," House Speaker-designate John Boehner, R- Ohio, said before the signing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


House Passes Tax Cuts Extension

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After months of heated debate and White House negotiations, the House of Representatives late Thursday night passed the $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 that President Obama negotiated with GOP leaders in Congress passed by a healthy, bipartisan vote of 277-148, with more Democrats actually voting for the deal than Republicans, 139 to 138, respectively.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


House Delays Tax Cuts Vote, But Vote Still Possible Thursday

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team worked Thursday afternoon to reach a solution to move forward on the tax cuts legislation after Democratic opposition to proceed on the bill forced the Democratic leadership to pull the tax cuts package from the floor.

Democratic leadership pulled the tax cuts bill from the floor after it became apparent that liberals would not vote to pass the rule, according to a senior Democratic leadership aide.

The Democratic aide says that while the minority party never votes for rules and Democrats were not counting on Republican support to pass the rule, on Thursday it became "clear the votes weren’t quite there" from House Democrats either.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, explained the concerns raised by the majority of House Democrats, telling reporters that Democratic members were frustrated that they would not get the opportunity for a clear vote on the underlying tax cuts bill.

When asked which members specifically had a problem with the way the rule was structured, Slaughter let out a hearty laugh and said, "Just about everybody, would be my best answer, including me!"

Slaughter said House Democrats are now devising a strategy to move forward with the bill and she planned to go over the options this afternoon with the House Parliamentarian.

Some House Democrats said that by adding $858 billion to the deficit, the House will be forced to cut spending from other programs that need the money.

House Democrats are expected to meet once again Thursday with party leadership behind closed doors in an attempt to reach a solution. Sources said the leadership is expected to resolve the hiccup over the rule and that the House will take further action on the tax cuts legislation later Thursday.


End in Sight for Tax Cut Debate? Senate Passes Key Bill

Photo Courtesy - Christopher Zacharow/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate  passed a bill to extend tax cuts for all Americans by an overwhelming majority after a call from President Obama Wednesday morning to send the bill "swiftly" to his desk.

The bill now moves to the House, where it faces stiff opposition from liberal Democrats who argue the president caved in too quickly to Republican demands. Wednesday morning, President Obama, continuing his campaign to pass the contested tax cut extension, had urged Congress to move quickly on the issue that has caused much rebellion within both parties.

"I'm absolutely convinced that this tax cut plan, while not perfect, will help grow our economy and create jobs in the private sector -- it will help lift up middle-class families who no longer need to worry about a New Year's Day tax hike," Obama said.

Calling the tax cuts a "critical economic package" that's "a win for middle class families," the president for the second time this week pushed lawmakers to put aside their differences.

"We can't afford to let it fall victim to either delay or defeat," he added. "I urge members of Congress to pass these tax cuts as swiftly as possible."

Before the final vote, senators voted on three proposals, all of which failed.

The votes were on a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to pay for the cost of extending unemployment benefits with spending cuts; a plan by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to permanently extend the tax cuts and repeal the estate tax; and a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to extend the tax cuts only for the bottom 98 percent of taxpayers and extend the Making Work Pay tax credit that was part of the stimulus plan instead of a payroll tax holiday.

Unlike in the House, the tax cut bill in the Senate garnered bipartisan support for the most part.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


House Democrats Waiting for Senate to Pass Tax Cuts Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats emerging from a closed-caucus late Tuesday night told reporters that the Democratic leadership has not come to a conclusion on moving forward with the Senate bill, but that the options are plentiful and a vote is still expected by the end of the week. But before the House Democratic leadership decides how to move forward on the bill, they’ll wait to see what the Senate accomplishes in Wednesday morning’s vote.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, the chair of the Rules Committee, said that when members of the House eventually take up the bill for consideration (as soon as the Senate passes it), the bill likely won’t be altered through amendments, but rather members of the House will have multiple rules to vote on, which would contain various proposals -- such as changes to the estate tax break and the upper-income levels of the tax cuts. In a procedure known as “King of the Hill,” members would vote on a series of rules and the rule with the most votes beyond a majority would become law.
Beyond their opposition to the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy and the estate tax provision of the deal, some House Democrats have expressed their frustrations with the length of the Unemployment Extension being only one year, while many of the other proposals are two-year extensions.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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