Tax pack­age heads to­ward pas­sage in Se­nate af­ter ne­go­ti­ated by Obama

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

WASHINGTON: The tax pack­age ne­go­ti­ated by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and GOP law­mak­ers is headed to­ward pas­sage in the Se­nate even as House Democrats con­sider changes to the es­tate tax.

The bill could be passed and sent to the House by Tues­day. The Se­nate voted 8315 Mon­day evening to ad­vance the pack­age, which would pro­vide a two-year re­prieve from tax in­creases sched­uled to take ef­fect on Jan. 1 at all in­come lev­els.

"This proves that both par­ties can in fact work to­gether to grow our econ­omy and look out for the Amer­i­can peo­ple," Obama said. "I rec­og­nize that folks on both sides of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum are un­happy with cer­tain parts of the pack­age and I un­der­stand those con­cerns. I share some of them. But that's the na­ture of com­pro­mise."

House Democrats are sched­uled to meet in a closed­door cau­cus Tues­day evening to dis­cuss the pack­age. Last week, House Demo­cratic lead­ers said they would not sched­ule a vote on the tax bill with­out changes to make it less gen­er­ous to the wealthy.

This week, sev­eral Demo­cratic lead­ers said they may set­tle for a vote on an amend­ment that would im­pose a higher es­tate tax - a vote that would face an un­cer­tain out­come.

"I think we're go­ing to have a vote on the Se­nate bill, with pos­si­ble changes," said House Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "We may have it with amend­ments. We'll see what the process is."

The most sweep­ing tax cuts in a gen­er­a­tion, en­acted un­der for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, are sched­uled to ex­pire Jan. 1. The $858 bil­lion pack­age ne­go­ti­ated by Obama would ex­tend them for two years.

It would also re­new a pro­gram of job­less ben­e­fits for the long-term un­em­ployed that is due to lapse within days and en­act a one-year cut in So­cial Se­cu­rity taxes.

"It is a sub­stan­tial vic­tory for mid­dle-class fam­i­lies across the coun­try who would no longer have to worry about a mas­sive tax hike come Jan. 1," Obama said. "It would of­fer hope to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own by mak­ing sure that they won't sud­denly find them­selves out in the cold with­out the un­em­ploy­ment in­surance ben­e­fits that they were count­ing on. And it would of­fer real tax re­lief for Amer­i­cans who are pay­ing for col­lege, par­ents rais­ing their chil­dren and busi­ness own­ers look­ing to in­vest in their busi­nesses and pro­pel our econ­omy for­ward." At the in­sis­tence of Repub­li­cans, the plan in­cludes a more gen­er­ous es­tate tax pro­vi­sion: The first $5 mil­lion of a cou­ple's es­tate could pass to heirs with­out tax­a­tion, and an ad­di­tional $5 mil­lion for the spouse. The bal­ance would be sub­ject to a 35 per­cent tax rate. -Ap

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