Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
President Obama’s announcement Tuesday that he brokered a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, even the richest Americans, has raised the ire of many Democrats. The deal looks like it has enough votes to pass Congress, but some Democrats are fighting back and trying to gain ground.
Alaska Senator Mark Begich wanted to see the tax cuts expire for Americans making more than a million dollars, but that’s off the table in the President’s deal. Begich says while he’s glad to see middle class Americans’ tax cuts kept, he’s concerned about the fact that it’s only a two-year plan. The Senator says the White House could’ve driven a harder bargain – but notes that now it’s up to Congress.
Begich says he’s looking for his two big goals to be met: long term certainty for businesses and deficit control. Begich says the plan is not set in stone, so he’s watching it closely and reviewing the details before deciding how he would vote.
Alaska’s Republican in the Senate, Lisa Murkowski, is waiting to see the legislative language, but her spokesman says she sees positive elements in the tentative agreement.
Congressman Don Young says he’s not “overly excited” about the deal, but would vote for it. He agrees with tax breaks for all – including the wealthiest Americans.
Young’s only complaint is that it extends long term unemployment benefits – something Democrats want.
Unemployment rates jumped up last month to 9.8 percent – which gave steam to the Democrats’ urge to extend unemployment benefits for out of work Americans unable to find jobs.
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