As the end of the year comes ever closer, and Congress gets ready to adjourn for the year, there has still been no action on the expiring 2001 and 2003 bush tax cuts. If the tax cuts were to expire on December 31st, we would see tax increases for everyone who pays taxes. Neither the Democrats or Republicans want that to happen, but there is disagreement about who the tax cuts should be extended for.
The Republicans want to extend them for everyone saying that they are needed to stimulate the economy in the tough economic climate we currently are in.
The Democrats want to extend the tax cuts as well, but only for those making under $250,000. If you make over that amount they want the tax cuts to expire saying that the impact to the deficit of extending the tax cuts for high income earners would be just too great.
No Action Yet On Bush Tax Cuts
As of today, December 1st, there has been no action yet on extending any of the tax cuts. The two sides just can't seem to agree. President Obama created a task force yesterday to to try and find some common ground on the issue, and come up with some sort of resolution before the Holiday recess.
A bipartisan panel trying to negotiate a deal to extend some or all of the Bush-era tax cuts ended its first meeting Wednesday morning the same way it began: with members at odds.
The group, tasked by President Barack Obama on Tuesday to come up with a deal on the tax-cut issue, includes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), incoming House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and presumptive Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). But after their initial session, members offered few details about their discussions and appeared to have made little progress.
Baucus declined to give a timeline for reaching an agreement. “We’ll have a deal when we have a deal. If we have a deal,” he said.
However, sources familiar with the talks said Democrats used the meeting to press for a vote to extend the tax cuts for middle-income Americans. Republicans, meanwhile, refused to budge from their position that the Bush tax cuts be extended for all income earners.
So it sounds like the special task force hasn't made much ground, beyond having the parties restate their opinions. Today the GOP has made a stand and sent a letter to Harry Reid stating their intentions to not vote for cloture any other bills until the government is funded beyond this week, and the bush tax cuts are addressed.
All 42 Senate Republicans have signed a letter refusing to vote for cloture on any bill before the Senate until the federal government is funded beyond this week and the Bush-era income tax cuts are addressed before they expire December 31.“We write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers,” said the letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning.
Reid acknowledged that the passage of several of his legislative priorities would need Republican votes, and that this essentially means nothing else will get done until tax cuts are addressed.
What Will Happen To The Bush Tax Cuts?
When it comes down to it, most people are thinking that the Bush tax cuts will be extended in some form. The only questions are – for everyone or for some – and permanent or temporary? The White House has made it clear that lawmakers must do something.
Geithner and Lew appear to be stuck in the middle, sources said. A senior Democratic aide said that the White House’s message has been clear: “You can’t leave town without doing something.”
Sources have predicted that the final agreement could include a full extension of the tax cuts for two to three years and an extension of unemployment insurance and a package of other tax extenders.
So it sounds like most people are thinking that the tax cuts will be extended for everyone, at least temporarily. So in effect they're choosing not to deal with the issue permanently, but kick the can down the road a couple of years.
What do you think about extending the Bush tax cuts? Are you for or against it? Would you extend for some, but not for others? Do you think taxes are too low, spending is too high, or both? What do you think will happen? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.