News / USA

Obama Defends Tax Compromise With Republicans

President Barack Obama during a news conference at the White House, 07 Dec 2010
President Barack Obama during a news conference at the White House, 07 Dec 2010
TEXT SIZE - +
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is defending his compromise with Republicans to extend tax cuts that began under his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Most criticism of the deal has come from the president's own Democratic Party.

At a hastily-arranged news conference Tuesday, President Obama gave an unusually emotional response to fellow Democrats who say he gave in too quickly to Republicans on the tax issue.

"Take a tally," said President Obaama. "Look at what I have promised during the campaign.  There is not a single thing that I have said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do.  And if I have not gotten it done yet, I am still trying to do it."

The president agreed with Republicans to extend for two years the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest two percent.  The deal would also continue unemployment benefits for 13 months and reduce payroll taxes for workers to encourage employers to start hiring.

Many Democrats are especially frustrated about the upper-income tax cuts, which Mr. Obama has consistently said he opposes.

Analysts say the deal could cost an estimated $900 billion over the next two years.

The president said most Americans agree with him that extending tax cuts for the wealthy is a bad idea, but politically, he had no choice.  He said he could not convince Republican lawmakers that they should extend tax cuts for the middle class without doing so for the rich.

"But the issue is not me persuading the American people-they are already there," said mr. Obama. "The issue is how do I persuade Republicans in the Senate, who are currently blocking that position.  I have not been able to budge them."

Mr. Obama told reporters the deal will prevent a long political battle that would have led to further economic misery for many Americans.

"Because of this agreement, 2 million Americans who lost their jobs and are looking for work will be able to pay their rent and put food on their table," he said.

The agreement will require passage in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Some Democrats have vowed to block the deal, while the top Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is backing it.

"I think the vast majority of the members of the Republican conference of the U.S. Senate feel that this is a step in the right direction, an important step to take for the American people, and I think the vast majority of my members will be supporting it," said McConnell.

Mr. Obama said agreeing to the deal was the only way to avoid inflicting further damage on the U.S. economy.

He said he remains opposed to high-end tax cuts, and will fight to end them when they expire in two years.  

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid