House passes extension of Bush-era tax cuts

WASHINGTON - (AP) - President Barack Obama's sweeping tax-cut compromise with opposition Republicans cleared a final hurdle inthe House of Representatives - an uncommon show of bipartisanshipafter years of political warfare. Angered by what they saw as overgenerous breaks for the wealthy,liberal House Democrats had threatened to unravel Obama's deal,announced just 10 days earlier, to avert scheduled Jan. 1 taxincreases and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worstrecession in 80 years. After Democratic critics forced a delay early in the day, theHouse battled over the measure late into the night before passingthe bill 277-148 at about midnight. TheSenate on Wednesday passed it by an overwhelming 83-15 margin. The measure also will cut federal Social Security pension taxesfor nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into thestill-sluggish economy. The Republican leadership in the Senate had warned that anychange to the measure in the House, which would require a new votein the Senate, would kill the compromise that Obama hammered outwith the opposition. Obama was testing his ability to govern in a far more bipartisanfashion, a new strategy forced upon him by the Republican landslidein November's congressional elections. The opposition party gaineda majority in the House and significantly diminished the Democraticmajority in the Senate. In most important legislative votes in the first two years ofObama's term, Republicans had unanimously tried to block thepresident's legislative agenda. Many of those who supported a continuation of the tax cutsargued that the package as a whole amounted to a second stimulus.Opponents, however, saw it as an $858 billion addition to thespiraling U.S. debt. None of the provisions in the bill are paidfor by savings in other government spending. After the Senate vote Wednesday, Obama declared himself stillopposed to portions of the legislation because it keeps in placebig tax benefits for the wealthy. Nevertheless, he said, compromisewas necessary. "I know that not every member of Congress likes every piece ofthis bill, and it includes some provisions that I oppose. But as awhole, this package will grow our economy, create jobs, and helpmiddle class families across the country," Obama said in astatement. Largely marginalized in the negotiations leading to the bill,House Democrats emphasized their unhappiness with Obama. In return for keeping in place income tax cuts for all incomelevels, Obama had won a Republican pledge to vote for a 13-monthextension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. Thedeal also includes a 2 percent reduction in payroll taxes thatfinance Social Security, the federal pension system for the retiredand disabled.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Team of the Week: Sacred Heart women's golf 1 Team of the Week: Sacred Heart women's golf
Bridgeport police investigating death of 10-month-old boy as 2 Bridgeport police investigating death of baby boy as homicide
Milford police have arrested a woman that they 3 Police: Woman set up man to be robbed at Milford hotel
4 Connecticut Sportscast, April 25
Workers from New York headed to Stamford Tuesday 5 Striking Charter Communications workers protest in Stamford

advertisement | advertise on News 12


Focus on Connecticut Focus on Connecticut

Features local, state and federal officials discussing the issues around southwestern Connecticut.

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut. Our Lives

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut.

Each week News 12 Connecticut introduces you to Hometown Hero

News 12 highlights people who give to the community.

We spotlight a local team each week. Connecticut Team of the Week

Each week News 12 Connecticut highlights a team from a local school.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.