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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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 Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
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