Lawmakers Meet To Discuss Tax Cuts
A group of officials, leaders and lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties met Wednesday to negotiate a new plan regarding the Bush tax cuts that expire at the end of the year, said The Washington Post. After meeting for nearly two hours, the two groups had agreed to reconvene later in the day.
“We had a very civil, constructive discussion,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said after the meeting with the president. “we went through everything on the table.”
President Obama, along with the Democratic leaders, plan to renew tax cuts for people who make less than $200,000 — and if married, couples who make less than $250,000. On the other side, Republicans want to renew tax cuts for people of every income levels.
"House Democrats have long supported extending the tax cuts for America's middle class," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "Democrats continue to have concerns about the impact on the deficit of giving a tax cut to the nation's wealthiest 2 percent."
The tax cut discussions could avert Democrats from fulfilling other programs on their agenda, such as passing the Dream Act and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is especially crucial since it will be much harder to approve these measures once the GOP takes control of the House and gains seats in the Senate.
"We should work to make sure that taxes will not go up by thousands of dollars on hard-working middle-class Americans come January 1st, which would be disastrous for these families, but also could be crippling for the economy," Obama said to reporters. "There was broad agreement that we need to work to get that resolved before the end of the year."
At this point, Obama will have to create a plan that will be accepted by Republican leaders, or be forced to submit to a purely Republican plan. Their plan must win 60 votes in the Senate, which means earning at least two Republican votes, otherwise Republicans can filibuster.
"If President Obama and Democratic leaders come up with a plan in the lame-duck session to cut spending and stop all the tax hikes, they can expect a positive response from Republicans," said House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio , who will become the new House Speaker in January. "If the lame-duck Congress is unable or unwilling to act, the new House majority will in January."
Reach reporter Chryst'l Sanchez here.