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

Nearly 900 Dead, Missing in 2014 Air Disasters

Southeast Asia took a particularly heavy hit; 3 major events involved weather, two planes were shot down in eastern Ukraine, and one crash was attributed to mechanical problems More

Video Islamic State Emergence Transformed Syria, Iraq in 2014

'It was very clear that there were problems building up in Iraq at the end of 2013 but everybody was distracted by Syria,' says one expert, explaining group's rapid rise More

Rights Group: IS Executed Nearly 2,000 in Syria in 6 Months

Islamist group also killed 120 of its own members, most foreign fighters trying to return home, in past two months, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights 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.
Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaisei
X
Daniel Schearf
December 25, 2014 4:34 PM
Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video 2014 Saw Intensification of Boko Haram Insurgency

The year 2014 saw Nigerian militant sect Boko Haram intensify its five-year insurgency and target civilians in large numbers as it seized territory in the northeast. The kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in April sparked global outrage, but failed to become the turning point against the sect that Nigeria’s president said it would be. The picture at year's end is one of devastation and uncertainty. VOA’s Anne Look reports.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Fight to Survive Water Crisis

In a region choking from dwindling water supplies, Lebanon has long been regarded as one of the few places where there is enough. But in recent years, half the people in the country have faced severe shortages. And the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are hit the worst by the water crisis, making the country's most vulnerable people increasingly impoverished and sick. Heather Murdock reports for VOA in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid