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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid