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House Passes Bush Tax Cut Package; Bill Now Goes to President

4 years ago
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The House voted 277 to 148 Thursday to temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts, continue unemployment benefits for 13 months and approve a series of smaller tax credits, cuts and extensions.

A coalition of 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans voted against the measure, while 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans voted for it.

Because the Senate passed the identical measure on Wednesday, the legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature Friday.

The bill's passage marks a significant victory for Obama, who struck out on his own last week to forge a compromise with Senate Republican leaders that he believed could pass before the end of the year.

But it is has also created a wedge of distrust between the president and liberals in the House, who had pinned their hopes for a progressive agenda and feel that he has stopped fighting for their dream.

House leaders felt the fury of the liberal opposition to the package Thursday as they stumbled going into votes setting the parameters of the debate and realized they did not have enough support to get past the procedural hurdles. The leadership regrouped in the afternoon to devise a process that liberal Democrats could support. After the caucus meeting, which Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) called "raucous," the House resumed debating the bill until its passage just before midnight.

The bill will extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for all income levels for the next two years. Specifically, it will continue the 10 percent tax bracket and keep the brackets of 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 35 percent, instead of reverting to 28 percent, 31 percent, 36 percent and 39.6 percent. It will also continue to tax capital gains and dividends at 0 percent and 15 percent, depending on income, instead of letting the rates go back to 10 percent and 20 percent for capital gains and marginal tax rates for dividends.

The legislation also temporarily cuts the 6.2 percent payroll tax for all workers to 4.2 percent and extends unemployment benefits for 13 months for Americans out of work up to 99 weeks.

The bill continues dozens of tax breaks and credits for people from the bottom of the income spectrum to the top. It patches the Alternative Minimum Tax for two years; extends the college tuition tax credit, child tax credit and Earned Income Tax Credit for two years; allows businesses to deduct 100 percent of certain investments in the first year; and provides a buffet of tax credits to businesses and industries from filmmakers to rum producers to coal miners and railroad operators.

Particularly galling to liberal Democrats, the bill also sets the estate tax at 35 percent for estates valued at more than $5 million, well below the 45 percent rate on estates over $3.5 million that most Democrats had been pushing for.

Some Republicans who supported the measure did so with reservations.

"I don't like this bill that's before us, but I like even less the idea of increasing the tax burden on working Americans," said Rep. David Drier, the top Republican on the Rules Committee, who voted for the bill.

But Drier's Republican colleague, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, rose to say he would oppose it because the extensions did not go far enough.

"It's a bad deal for taxpayers; it will do little to create jobs and I cannot support it," Pence said. "This is a tough call. No Republican in this Congress wants to see taxes raised on any American, but uncertainty is the enemy of prosperity."

In an unusual twist, Pence found himself on the same side of the issue as dozens of liberal Democrats, who objected to several parts of the bill.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the overall package would not help working people enough, while it would help the wealthy more than they needed.

"This is not about fighting against someone who has a few more dollars than the next person," she said. "It is to do what we're sent here to do, which is to make sure that this capitalistic system works for everybody, including those who are not employed."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) warned that the president's compromise with Republicans was about much more than tax cuts -- it was part of a long-term plan to change the role of government in Americans' lives.

"It would be the culmination of a 30-year Republican effort to starve the beast to deliberately create huge deficits in order to provide the political cover for reducing expenditures for education housing, Social Security, and Medicare."

The price tag for the two-year tax cut bonanza has been estimated at $860 billion, a cost that several Democrats, including Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), said was too high.

"Every other major industrial nation on Earth is talking about buckling down a little bit and austerity measures and having a sustained recovery. But no, not here!" he yelled on the House floor just before the vote. "We got out the credit card. And guess what? Our kids and grand kids are going to be paying that bill for 30 years."

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There are jobs available, you hust have to take what is available until you find what you want when it becomes available.

December 19 2010 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am unemployed have been for 6 months and 2 weeks.My tendancies are to look for work everyday, have not had much success yet but will keep trying.So for some to say that most people tendancies are to stay on the public doll is rediculous. First of all unemployment is about a 1/4 of what I brought home from my job. So we are not sitting around rolling in it. As a matter of fact the juggling of money to pay bills and some of the phone calls some of us get because of falling behind can get quite stressful at times.After 28 years of service to my industry and paying my fair share in that time I think its time we little guys got something in return. Do not get me wrong I am ready willing and able to get back to work for the money of course but also for my confidence. being unemployed is very denegrating to say the least. So before any of you say we are lazy and just bilking the system step back and be thankful you have your job and that this holiday season has some normality to it for you and yours.Because alot of us and ours will be doing without this year just to be thankful to struggle and keep warm and dry this holiday season. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone .

December 18 2010 at 6:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Thomas Keller

Following the logic of Nancy Pelosi and some in these commments, if as she and they say that paying unemployment is the best way to stimulate the economy, then everyone in the country should quit their jobs and go on unemployment and we would be out of this recession next week. There is a tendency for many people to do as little as possible, the longer the unemployment benefits, the longer people will stay on them. In the meantime millions of illegal immigrants take the jobs that citizens should be holding. Companies need to be prosecuted for hiring illegals and contributing to this country's unemployment.

December 17 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Well he has signed it so that's that. We'll have to move on to a new topic. This one is history.

December 17 2010 at 4:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

uh, what happened to the 800 billion dollar stimulus shovel ready job creater? What happened to all that money and how come nobody talks about that money anymore?

December 17 2010 at 4:24 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jlalo44's comment

you mean the 800 billion that disappeared under Bush or the 800 billion that kept us from going into a depression?

December 17 2010 at 9:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This bill is a good example of why nobody should support either the Republicans or the Democrats. As usual, thye teamed up to screw the average American.

December 17 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jmeehan102's comment

? How do you figure that?

December 17 2010 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Both sides signed off on this. Both sides now scream about deficits. Doesn't both sides know that this added to the deficit? Both sides are full of you know what. Americans seem to now be getting interested in deficits along as tie dto others pork. This bill in recent polls was liked by about 70% of the people polled. Deficits? Who cares as long as I get mine. Cut the other guys stuff is the cry.

December 17 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

According to the the U.S. census US capital investment in foreign countries has gone from $1.3 trillion in 2000 to $3.2 trillion in 2008 while at the same time the Bush tax cuts which overwhelmingly went to the wealthy cost 1.3 trillion per politifact. So the wealthy essentially took their tax cuts, intended per the Republicans to spur U.S. jobs, and invested them and more in foreign countries, not the U.S..

December 17 2010 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The big boys getting big bonuses and a nice big fat taxcut.....
Grandma gets no cola increase for social security check 2 years straight years...
Little guy struggling at the pump

December 17 2010 at 3:49 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Out of all the remarks made by the law makers DeFazio (D) made the most sense, this budget will pass on a burdon to our children and grand children. He kust didn't add to it though that ever since the Bush tax cut which Bush was flat out lying when he claimed there would still be enough surplus to continue paying down the national debt. I am totally disgusted with what has happened in my life time that should be ending soon with the fact that I will be passing on a worse America than I was born with and I hope many of you that are still young enough to make a difference will wake up to the fact that America cannot continue down this path.

December 17 2010 at 3:44 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TECUMSEH's comment

Canada awaits your arrival

December 18 2010 at 8:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We wouldn't be talking tax cuts if they hadn't deregulated the banks, repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, in 1999 and then passed the Commodities Future Trading Act, which cause the $145 a barrel oil. This was done by a Republican Congress and passed by a corporate Democrat. This led to the banks being able to sell Mortgage backed securities that were triple A rated when they weren't. The tax payer bails them out and then they tell us the debt is to high and we will have to reduce our social programs from the last great Depression becasue we have to much debt. These programs, including the Glass Steagall act, were put in place to protect the working class Americans from the economic downfalls that happened in 1929, and we are in the same position again due to unregulated capitalism causing an economic collapse for everyone but the too big to fail banks, and the wealthy, who have more rights than you and I becasue of their wealth accumulation over time. Accumulation of wealth leads to down falls of democracies when that wealth is in too few hands...

December 17 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply

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