Dec 7, 2010



Washington (CNN) -- Vice President Joe Biden is expected to meet Tuesday with what could be a surly group of Senate Democrats to discuss an Obama administration deal with Republican leaders that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years.

Democrats in Congress expressed initial concern with the deal, saying it conceded too much to Republican demands.

"I'm not at all happy with this. I want to see all the details before I make some kind of commitment," Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said.

Asked if President Barack Obama "caved" to Republicans, Brown said: "I don't know if he caved. I think he could have gotten a better agreement."

Biden will attend the weekly Senate Democratic policy lunch Tuesday in the Capitol to "defend the deal," according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.

A revolt by liberal Democrats, particularly in the House, would imperil the chances for the plan to win approval before the end of the current lame-duck session of Congress. With the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, Obama said it was more important to act now than to continue waging a political fight.

Obama on Monday announced the deal with Republican leaders. The deal would also extend unemployment benefits for 13 months while lowering the payroll tax by two percentage points for a year.

The compromise, worked out in negotiations involving the White House, the Treasury and congressional leaders from both parties, includes provisions that each side doesn't like, Obama said in a hastily arranged statement to reporters after discussing the proposed deal with Democratic leaders.

"It's not perfect," Obama said of the plan, which also would continue tax breaks for students and families contained in the 2009 stimulus bill and allow businesses to write off all investments they make next year. "We cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

As outlined by Obama and sources, the deal would add up to hundreds of billions of dollars in more federal spending or lower revenue in coming years at a time when the president, Republican leaders and a federal deficit commission appointed by the president all say that the growing federal debt must be brought under control.

House Democrats, who have approved a measure extending the Bush-era tax cuts for family incomes up to $250,000 a year, indicated earlier Monday they were unhappy with the negotiations that the White House was conducting with congressional Republicans.

"We won't rubber stamp a deal between the White House and (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell," one Democratic congressional source said. "We want to make it clear. Don't take our support for granted."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, were among Democratic leaders who attended a White House meeting with Obama and Biden to discuss the proposed deal.

According to the senior Democratic source, Obama and Biden told the congressional Democrats that the proposed deal was the best they could expect.

Democrats contend the nation must prevent working-class Americans from facing higher taxes, as promised by Obama in his 2008 election campaign, but can't afford the extra hundreds of billions of dollars it would cost to maintain the tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans argue that the economy remains too weak to allow anyone's taxes to increase.

sources

3 comments:

Post a Comment