David Axelrod Signals White House is Prepared to Sign Across-the-Board Extension of Bush Tax Cuts

By Maya

Nov 11, 2010 10:30am

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: President Obama’s top adviser David Axelrod on Wednesday signaled that the White House is prepared to agree to an across-the-board extension of the Bush tax cuts in order to make sure that middle-class Americans are not faced with a tax increase at year’s end. The White House would prefer to extend the tax cuts permanently for individuals making under $200,000 and couples making under $250,000, but Republicans have argued that even the wealthiest Americans should also see an extension of the Bush-era rates. “We have to deal with the world as we find it,” Axelrod told the Huffington Post. “The world of what it takes to get this done.” In the wake of last week’s resounding defeat for Democrats in the mid-term elections that saw them lose the House altogether and six seats in the Senate, they now sound more prepared than ever to compromise on the tax cuts. With Congress returning to work next Monday for a lame-duck session set to focus on taxes and spending, lawmakers will have until the start of the new year to extend the tax cuts. A spokesman for likely future House Speaker John Boehner said the GOP was “glad” to hear Axelrod’s comments. “Republicans made a pledge to America to permanently stop all of the tax hikes scheduled for January 1st,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “We’re glad to see that the President’s most trusted advisor now agrees with this course of action, and hope he and the President will show leadership by convincing Speaker Pelosi to stop these tax hikes permanently in the upcoming lame duck session.” Next Thursday the top lawmakers in both parties – Boehner, Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – are set to meet with the President at the White House to discuss the issue. UPDATE: Axelrod today refuted that the White House has given in to Republicans on tax cuts. “We're willing to discuss how we move forward, but we believe that it's imperative to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, and don't believe we can afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy,” Axelrod told the National Journal in an email responding to the Huffington Post story. A few weeks ago President Obama said at a White House press conference that he was “absolutely” willing to negotiate with the GOP. “My goal is to make sure that we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle-class families,” he said on Nov. 3. “Not only would that be a terrible burden on families who are already going through tough times, it would be bad for our economy.” The President said making sure taxes do not increase for the middle class “has to be done” during the lame-duck session of Congress this winter.

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