News / USA

Bill Clinton: Tax Deal Best That Can Be Achieved

President Barack Obama looks on as former President Bill Clinton speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010.
President Barack Obama looks on as former President Bill Clinton speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010.

President Barack Obama has received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton for the controversial tax deal the White House negotiated with congressional Republicans. President Obama and Mr. Clinton made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room on Friday.

The former president said it is clear that all sides in the debate over the proposed tax bill, which the White House and Republicans are calling a framework agreement, see things differently.

Estimated to cost more than $800 billion, the package would extend current lower rates approved under President George W. Bush for all Americans, including the wealthiest, in return for extending government benefits for the unemployed and other provisions the White House calls crucial to avoiding another recession.   It would also add to the government deficit and $13.8 trillion national debt.  

Mr. Clinton said it is important to achieve what he called principled compromise in a time of divided government, without which he said there would be paralysis. "The agreement taken as a whole is, I believe, the best bipartisan agreement we can reach to help the largest number of Americans and to maximize the chances that the economic recovery will accelerate and create more jobs and to minimize the chances that it will slip back," he said.

Asked by reporters about intense negative reaction from many Democratic lawmakers, Mr. Clinton said he hopes they will support it.

Democrats in the House of Representatives formally rejected the deal.  Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said discussions would continue with the White House and Republicans to improve the proposal before the House considers it.  The U.S. Senate is expected to take a first test vote on Monday.   

On Friday, a fierce opponent of the tax deal, Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, began what he vowed will be an all-out effort to block the legislation. "The agreement that they reached is a bad deal for the American people. I think we can do better," he said.

President Obama said the tax deal was one topic in an Oval Office discussion with Mr. Clinton that lasted about 90 minutes.  He reiterated what he sees as the positive points of the deal.

"Billions of dollars in payroll tax cuts that can immediately help rejuvenate the economy, as well as tax cuts for middle class families, unemployment insurance for folks that desperately need it, credits for college, child tax credits, as well as a range of business tax credits, are so important to keep this economy moving," he said.

President Obama finds himself in a situation similar to Mr. Clinton in 1994, when in mid-term congressional elections, Republicans won control of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, threatening his agenda.

Mr. Clinton was forced to come up with a new strategy, moving more to the political center and working with Republicans.  He won re-election in 1996.   

President Obama faces similar decisions, facing a Republican majority in the House of Representatives in January in the wake of the mid-term elections last month.  In the Senate, Democrats will have a narrower majority, but  Republicans have already shown their ability to block Obama legislative priorities there.

Former President Clinton said it's clear President Obama will have more difficulty negotiating in January, but he disagreed with those who suggest Mr. Obama's compromise with Republicans has damaged his political prospects.

The former president emphasized what he sees as most important now for the country. "The economy first, we can't go back into a recession, we have to keep crawling out of this mess we are in. And this is a good first step," he said.

Mr. Clinton also talked about Haiti during his surprise appearance before the media at the White House.  And he reiterated his support for U.S. Senate ratification of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.

President Obama's meeting with former President Clinton was the second time in a week he has met with a former president.  He met with former President Jimmy Carter last week. The contents of those discussions are unknown.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More