David Axelrod: No Big Changes to Tax Cut Deal in Congress, ‘Framework’ Is In Place

By Kate McCarthy

Dec 8, 2010 8:06am

Democrat leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are pushing for changes to the tax deal President Obama cut with Congressional Republicans.  But White House adviser David Axelrod shut down that hope this morning, saying “the framework of the deal is in place.”

“Obviously compromise means compromise. That means each side accepts things they don’t want,” he said. “Republicans essentially traded away everything in the package for tax cuts for the wealthy temporarily and this more generous treatment of estates. We don’t like it, but what we got in exchange was significant tax relief for the middle class, an extension of unemployment insurance for people who have lost their jobs in this down economy.”

Axelrod acknowledged the Democrats’ ire over certain provisions – chief among them reinstating the estate tax at a higher income level, something Speaker Nancy Pelosi called “a bridge too far.”

The White House found that estate tax provision “objectionable” as well, Axelrod said, and he promised a “big debate” in two years over whether to extend that provision as well as the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

“We intend to win that debate. But we are not going to play Russian roulette with the lives of the American people with all the millions of people who are going to lose the unemployment insurance right now without this deal going forward. We ought to get this done,” he said.

Liberals like Michael Lerner and Robert Kuttner are agitating for a primary challenge to the president, but Axelrod shrugged that off.

“There is plenty of time for politics later, but right now let’s get the job done for the American people,” he told me.

Watch the interview here:

George Stephanopoulos

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