Mitch McConnell Foresees Deal On Tax Cuts, Unemployment Benefits
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted today at what looks like a preview of a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts:
After thwarting efforts to raise taxes on America’s top earners, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, predicted Sunday that Congress would retain the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for a limited number of years and might also extend unemployment benefits as part of a compromise with the White House.
In recent weeks, as the blocking power of the Republican minority overwhelmed a Senate majority, the White House and Congress had been discussing a deal to extend the reduced Bush tax rates for all income levels, not just for those below $250,000, for a short period, perhaps two years. News reports have indicated that as part of such a deal President Obama, who wanted to raise the rates for incomes above the $250,000 threshold, would insist on an extension of unemployment insurance for jobless Americans whose benefits are running out.
Mr. McConnell, interviewed on the NBC television program “Meet the Press,” flatly confirmed the outlines of that compromise. “I think we will extend unemployment compensation,” he said. The debate among lawmakers, he said, is “not about whether to do it but whether to pay for it as opposed to adding it to the deficit.”
He would prefer to make the tax cuts permanent because the current, 10-year-old tax rate “is appropriate,” he said. But “the president won’t sign a permanent extension.”
“I’m very hopeful that the tax rates won’t go up,” he added, signaling his belief that the White House has abandoned its efforts to raise taxes.
Assuming the left and right wings of the respective parties don’t revolt over this, it strikes me as a pretty good deal for both sides. The GOP gets their tax cuts, the Democrats get the unemployment benefit extension.