President Obama: Tax Cuts for Wealthy Are Republicans' 'Holy Grail'


Liberal Democrats say the White House should've put up a bigger fight instead of reneging on his campaign promise.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he was "disappointed" with the deal and lashed out at Republicans for wanting to extend the tax cuts for the rich but not extend unemployment benefits, calling it a "moral outrage."

Liberal Congressman Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, called this the "president's Gettysburg" in an interview with Politico.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., denounced an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy as "unconscionable."

House Democratic leaders today warned that for them, the deal is anything but done, and that they will continue discussions in the coming days.

"We will continue discussions with the president and our caucus in the days ahead," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to promote policies that produce jobs and economic growth, and to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own."

Liberal lawmakers spoke about the tax cuts with cautious tones -- While they blasted the Republican proposal, not many were willing to say they would vote against the tax cut extension.

Republicans meanwhile praised the president for reaching across the aisle.

What the Tax Cuts Agreement Means for You

Extending all of the tax cuts would increase after-tax income for households at all income levels but gains would be greatest for those at the top of the income distribution, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

Those in the top 1 percent of the income group would see a 5.8 percent change in their after-tax income versus just 0.6 percent for the lowest income tax bracket.

An average U.S. household, with an income of $49,777, would get to keep the tax cut of $2,124 and get an additional $996 from the lower payroll tax that was negotiated in the deal, plus a $1,000 tax credit per child and a partially refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 for college tuition.

It also means that the family of the average Wall Street banker, paid more than $311,000 last year, will keep the $9,318 in tax savings, as opposed to the $8,012 the president wanted them to keep.

Here's a look at what else the deal offers:

Extending unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 months for about 9 million Americans. The extension will not be offset by spending cuts, as Republicans had originally demanded.

A one-year payroll tax reduction worth $120 billion for employees -- from 12.4 percent to 10.4 percent. This means every working American will keep an additional 2 percent of the first $106,000 of their income.

This would replace the "Making Work Pay" tax credit in the stimulus bill. An administration official says this will "will have more than twice the economic impact next year as a one-year extension of Making Work Pay." It also will be more noticed than that tax credit, which many Americans didn't realize they had received.

The $1,000 child tax credit will be extended for two years with the $3,000 refundability threshold. Other credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit that gives a $2,500 credit for college tuition and the Earned Income Tax Credit will also be extended.

Allow businesses to deduct 100 percent of certain investments in the first year.

The estate tax, which is currently zero, will be set at 35 percent for two years, with a $5 million floor. Had the tax cuts expired, the estate tax would have been set at 53 percent starting next year.

ABC News' Matt Jaffe contributed to this report.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...