So it looks like the White House and the Republicans are close to a deal to maintain the Bush tax cuts and extend jobless benefits.
White House officials and Congressional Republicans said Sunday they were closing in on a deal to temporarily continue the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels, while bitterly frustrated Democratic Congressional leaders began exploring whether they would have the votes for such a package.
A day after the Senate rejected President Obama’s preferred tax plan, officials said the broad contours of a compromise were in focus.
Rather than extending the tax rates only on income described by Democrats as middle class — up to $250,000 a year for couples and $200,000 for individuals — the deal would also keep the rates for higher earners, probably for two years. In return, Republicans said they would probably agree to extend jobless aid for the long-term unemployed.
Senior Democrats on Sunday said that they were resigned to defeat in the highly charged tax debate, and they voiced dismay.
This is supposed to clear the way for the tax issue to be resolved so the Congress can deal with things like the New Start treaty and the Defense bill, which includes the repeal of DADT.
This has trouble written all over it. The Republicans have not been honest brokers in any of the negotiations they’ve undertaken; after all, the Democrats and the White House are dealing with people who have a stated goal of doing anything they can to defeat you. What will most likely happen is that as soon as the tax cut/jobless deal is sealed, they will come up with some bogus excuse to delay the rest of the agenda: sorry, we’re not going to be able to deal with the New Start treaty until we get assurances from Russia that they’re not going to invade Czechoslovakia, and we’re not going to repeal DADT until we get assurances that the USO won’t hire Lady Gaga to tour for them. And if the tax cuts are extended for two years, that’s just in time to campaign on them in 2012 and once more use it as a reason to blame the deficit — engorged by the tax cuts for the rich — on the Democrats.
How can they pass up such a great deal?