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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid