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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid