News / USA

Obama: Compromise with Republicans on Taxes 'Essential Step'

President Barack Obama makes a statement on a year-end bipartisan agreement to extend expiring tax cuts, 06 Dec 2010
President Barack Obama makes a statement on a year-end bipartisan agreement to extend expiring tax cuts, 06 Dec 2010

President Barack Obama on Monday announced a bipartisan agreement with opposition Republicans on extending current tax rates for all Americans, while continuing government compensation for unemployed Americans and providing tax credits to help businesses and strengthen the economy.   

The compromise comes after a week of intense negotiations between the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill on the issue of tax rates approved by Congress in 2001 and 2003 under former President George W. Bush.

Republicans had threatened to bring end-of-year work in the U.S. Senate to a halt, unless they received an assurance that lower income tax rates would be extended for the wealthiest two percent of Americans as well as the middle class.

For months, President Obama insisted that permanently extending tax cuts for the wealthy would be unfair to middle class Americans and add $700 billion to the government deficit.

What the president calls a framework agreement involves a two-year temporary extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, continuing unemployment benefits for 13 months, and reducing payroll taxes for workers to encourage businesses to hire new employees.

Citing what he called real and profound differences between Democrats and Republicans, Mr. Obama said he decided to move to break a stalemate that could have continued into the new year.

"I know there are some people in my own party, and in the other party, who would rather prolong this battle, even if we can't reach a compromise," said President Obama. "But I am not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington.  I am not willing to let our economy slip backwards, just as we are pulling ourselves out of this devastating recession."

The president spoke after intense negotiations, headed on the White House side by Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.  Mr. Obama also met late Monday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other fellow Democrats who, reports, say urged him not to endorse a compromise.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans stressed that the deal was not yet final.  Lawmakers will be holding additional conversations with the White House, and the compromise would be subject to votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The president said he is confident that in two years, as Americans make tough choices about bringing down the $1.3-trillion federal government budget deficit, it will become apparent that tax cuts cannot be extended again.  But for now, he said, the compromise is critical to support the nation's economic recovery.

"It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize," said Obama. "It's not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery."

The president says he wants a final agreement and congressional approval before lawmakers leave Washington for the Christmas break.  Mr. Obama vowed that his focus next year will be on continuing the economic recovery and creating more jobs.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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