Tax Deal Likely To Clear Senate, Faces House Battle
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Speaking at the White House, President Obama praised the Senate's action.
P: Taken as a whole, the bill that the Senate will allow to proceed does some very good things for America's economy and the American people.
BLOCK: NPR's David Welna reports.
DAVID WELNA: Unlike any other legislation that's reached the Senate floor since President Obama took office, the bill the Senate voted to advance today to a final vote had as co-sponsors the Senate's two leaders, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell. Speaking before the vote, Reid made no endorsement of the measure, but McConnell did. In doing so, he touted it as insurance that the Treasury would not get more revenues than it's currently getting and thus, Democrats would not have more money to spend.
SIEGEL: I will vote in favor of this bipartisan compromise and I urge my colleagues in the Senate and in the House to do the same.
WELNA: It was clear there would be considerable bipartisan support when Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, threw his weight behind the measure for the first time. Baucus said he did not appreciate that the agreement extends tax breaks benefiting only the wealthiest.
SIEGEL: So while I strongly prefer acting in a way that focuses more on the middle class, that focuses on creating jobs and that gets us the most bang for our buck, inaction clearly is not an option. And for that reason, I will support the bipartisan compromise that the president has proposed.
WELNA: Some Republicans made clear that even though they voted to move the measure ahead, they did so holding their noses. Arizona's John McCain faulted the tax breaks for ethanol and other biofuels that were added to the deal.
SIEGEL: So, what did we do? Rather than just extend the tax breaks, which is what a majority of Americans want, we engaged in the continuing practice which has alienated the majority of the American people of loading up with unneeded, unnecessary, unwanted sweeteners in order to, I guess, get votes or satisfy special interests.
WELNA: The Senate is poised to pass the deal by midweek. The measure would then go to the House, where Democrats are insisting on scaling back what they consider its overly generous estate tax provisions. Here's Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen today on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown."
SIEGEL: As the Democratic caucus said, this bill in its current form is unacceptable. It will come to the floor of the House in some form, and it will be open to changes. And people will have an opportunity to work their will.
WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.
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