January 1, 2013
President Obama’s fiscal deal with Republicans has touched off a fresh wave of grievance among disappointed liberals who complained that he caved in on taxes and sent a signal that he would ultimately surrender on other priorities as he prepared to open his second term.
While most Democratic senators went along with the compromise in an early-morning vote on Tuesday, activists, labor leaders and liberal economists issued a harsh barrage against the deal. The president, they said, squandered his election victory by allowing too many wealthy Americans to keep income and estate tax cuts that otherwise would have expired.
The criticism frustrated the White House, which argued that the president held true to his top priorities by forcing Republicans to accept higher income tax rates on higher income levels after they had long refused to do so. Aides noted that Mr. Obama also won important concessions in extending unemployment benefits and targeted tax credits, while beating back Republican demands to scale back the growth of entitlement benefits. Continue reading “View From the Left: Obama ‘Kept Giving Stuff Away’”
Published: January 1, 2013
WASHINGTON — House Republicans reacted with anger Tuesday afternoon to a Senate-passed plan to head off automatic tax increases and spending cuts, putting the fate of the legislation in doubt just hours after it appeared Congress was nearing a resolution of the fiscal crisis.
Lawmakers said that Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican, indicated to his colleagues in a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol that he could not support the legislation in its current form. Many other Republicans were voicing stiff objections to a plan that they saw as raising taxes while doing little to rein in spending. Several conservatives assailed it on the House floor as the chamber convened at noon for an unusual New Year’s Day session.
The aides said that Speaker John A. Boehner, who had pledged to put any measure the Senate passed on the House floor for a vote, was mainly listening to the complaints of his rank and file and had not taken a firm position on the legislation, though he had clear reservations. Continue reading “G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage”
Published: December 30, 2012
Even if President Obama and Republicans in Congress can reach a last-minute compromise that averts some tax increases before Monday’s midnight deadline, experts still foresee a significant drag on the economy in the first half of 2013 from the fiscal impasse in Washington.
David Goldman/Associated Press
Shoppers in Atlanta. The confidence of consumers has eroded in the absence of a deal to avert a harsh budget package on Jan. 1.
While negotiators in the capital focus on keeping Bush-era tax rates in place for all but the wealthiest Americans, other tax increases are expected to go into effect regardless of what happens in the coming days. For example, a two percentage point jump in payroll taxes for Social Security is all but certain after Jan. 1, a change that will equal an additional $2,000 from the paycheck of a worker earning $100,000 a year. Continue reading “Experts Forecast the Cost of Failure to Compromise”
December 30, 2012
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders on Sunday failed to produce a fiscal deal with just hours to go before large tax increases and spending cuts were to begin taking effect on New Year’s Day, despite a round of volatile negotiations over the weekend and an attempt by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to intervene.
In seesaw negotiations, the two sides got closer on the central issue of how to define the wealthy taxpayers who would be required to pay more once the Bush-era tax cuts expire. Continue reading “Day of Seesaw Talks Produces No Accord on Fiscal Crisis”
WASHINGTON — The titanic struggle over how to reach a broad Congressional tax agreement is not just the latest partisan showdown, but rather the culmination of two years of escalating fiscal confrontations, each building on the other in its gravity and consequences. On Sunday, lawmakers could not seem to find one final way out.
From the first fight over a short-term spending agreement to keep the government open in early 2011 to the later tangle over the debt ceiling to the failure of last year’s special budget committee and the resulting automatic spending cuts that now loom along with tax increases, the so-called fiscal cliff was built, slab by partisan slab, to where it now threatens the nation’s finances.
“Something has gone terribly wrong,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, “when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress.” Continue reading “A Showdown Long Foreseen”