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But House Democratic leaders protest that the overall package gives up too much to the wealthy. They’re putting Obama on the defensive, even as the deal picks up support among
Obama was sending Vice President
Some Democrats are unhappy that Obama agreed to extend expiring tax cuts not just for the middle class but also for higher earners, and that he agreed to impose a lower estate tax on wealthy heirs. Both provisions are seen by many Democrats as giveaways to the rich that will do little to help the economy.
In return, Democrats would get extended jobless benefits for people who have been unemployed for long stretches. Workers would also see their share of
“So far, the response has not been very good,” House Speaker
If Democrats kill the package, it would mark a stunning defeat for Obama and a huge political bet that voters will blame Republicans as much as Democrats for an impasse that would lead to higher taxes starting
He said Obama had no choice but to accede to Republican demands for continuing existing rates for the wealthy in order to spare higher rates for the middle class. He also said the president was forced to make concessions to protect the jobless.
“We’re not going to play Russian roulette with the lives of the American people, with all the millions of people that are going to lose their unemployment insurance right now without this bill going forward,” Axelrod said in an interview on
In an interview on
Despite their minority status, Senate Republicans last week blocked Obama’s long-promised bid to end Bush-era tax cuts for households earning more than
“I have not been able to budge them,” Obama said at a televised news conference Tuesday. Without a compromise, he said, 2 million unemployed people “may not be able to pay their bills, and tens of millions of people who are struggling right now are suddenly going to see their paychecks smaller” because of income tax increases.
“I’m not here to play games with the American people or the health of the economy,” he said.
Under the proposal cutting back
Households making between
The package would continue other programs such as enhanced tuition tax credits and tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers. It would impose a 35 percent federal estate tax, but each spouse could exempt up to
Under current law, the estate tax, which was repealed for 2010, is scheduled to return next year with a top rate of 55 percent.
Officials said that, overall, the proposal could increase federal borrowing by
The lower estate tax has emerged as the biggest sticking point among House Democrats.
“That’s the topper,” said Rep.
Both the Business Roundtable and the