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President indicates willingness to compromise on tax cuts

Bryan Alaspa's picture

President Obama today indicated that he might be willing to compromise on the Bush-era tax cuts, but he wants something in return. He told Democratic leaders that he wanted Congress to extend the unemployment benefits for those currently out of work.

The president stated that he would oppose any attempt to extend the tax cuts if the provision to extend the unemployment benefits were not included. This included even a temporary extension of the tax cuts. He also called for tax cuts for the middle-class to be included in any attempt to extend tax breaks for Americans.

Republican opposition

President Obama gave the remarks just after the Republican leaders in Congress blocked attempts to extend tax cuts that were expiring at the end of the year. The tax cuts that Congress were attempting to extend would have been for Americans save for the wealthiest. The Republicans have stated that they will not support any extension of taxes that does not include extensions for the wealthy.

It was the first time that Mr. Obama has stated he might be willing to change his mind on the tax cuts the Republicans have been pushing for. Republicans state that it is unfair to provide the tax breaks for just select groups and not for all Americans.

The arguments between Democrats and Republicans has been bitter over the past few weeks ever since Congress returned for its lame duck sessions. Republicans have threatened to filibuster and block any legislation the Democrats try to bring to a vote if the tax cut extensions are not included in the legislation.

The President is particularly in favor of only a temporary extension of the tax cuts. Republican leaders have been pushing to make them permanent. However, the President made it clear that he would only be interested in those if the Democratic needs are also included.

Congress is in a lame duck session and there is a lot of controversy over whether or not major legislation should be attempted during this time. A lame duck session happens during the few months before new senators and representatives are sworn in and those who were voted out leave Capitol Hill. Republicans, who won a majority in the House, are trying to prevent major legislation from being debated and passed until new members can be sworn in so that they will have a majority.

Several members of Congress expressed hope at the idea of compromise and hope that something can be worked out next week. At the same time, some of the more progressive members of Congress, as well as supporters of the President, have expressed anger that he would be willing to compromise on tax cuts perceived as only for “millionaires and billionaires.”

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