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Obama, Boehner revisit the sunset provision on the Bush tax cuts

By Lori Montgomery
The battle over the Bush tax cuts moved to the Oval Office on Tuesday morning.

In a meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, President Obama reiterated his intention to ditch the portion of the cuts that benefit the wealthy when they expire in January, saying the country can't afford them.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) fired back that raising taxes on high earners means kicking many small businesses when they're trying to recover from the recession.

Aides in both parties said that Obama maintained his focus on the deficit, pointing out that the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and expanded in 2003, were written in such a way to leave the next administration dealing with the thorny question of whether to extend them despite their impact on the deficit.

Boehner responded: "I wasn't there. I didn't structure that deal."

There followed a momentary silence. Boehner has been in Congress since 1991.

"How long have you been here?" someone asked. And the room burst into laughter.

Democratic aides accused Boehner of trying to deflect blame for the tax cuts, which are projected to add a total of nearly $3 trillion to deficits over the next decade. But a senior Republican aide said Boehner merely meant that he was not in House leadership during the negotiations. If he had been, the aide said, Boehner would have insisted that the cuts be made permanent.

The cuts were written to expire to allow the bill to pass Congress under fast-track budget rules, known as reconciliation, and avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Just like the final piece of Obama's health care overhaul, the tax cuts needed only 50 votes to win Senate approval, instead of the 60 required to shut down a filibuster.

Under reconciliation, legislation may not increase the deficit beyond a 10-year "budget window." Because the tax cuts would have increased the deficit, Republicans had to write them to expire in 2011.

Bill Thomas, the former GOP Ways and Means chairman who led negotiations over the legislation, said House Republicans indeed wanted to make the tax cuts permanent, but that the sunset provision had to be added to get them through the Senate.

"We didn't write them to expire in 10 years because we were worried about huge deficits. We wrote them that way because it was the only way to make law," Thomas said.

By Lori Montgomery  |  July 27, 2010; 7:10 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Economy  
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Comments

Yeh, Boehner, why should Reeps worry about huge deficits? Look at the huge ones Reagan ran up, and he's still a folk here!

Dragging small business into this dispute is nauseatingly disingenuous. Most manage to keep their taxable income low through careful or creative bookkeeping. These tax cuts were aimed at the nonworking rich.

TAX THE RICH MORE.

TAX THE WAGES OF WORK LESS THAN THE GAINS OF HOLDING LOTS OF WEALTH (CAPITAL GAINS)

Posted by: tmorgan2008 | July 28, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"Bill Thomas, the former GOP Ways and Means chairman who led negotiations over the legislation, said House Republicans indeed wanted to make the tax cuts permanent, but that the sunset provision had to be added to get them through the Senate.

"We didn't write them to expire in 10 years because we were worried about huge deficits. We wrote them that way because it was the only way to make law," Thomas said."

Of course they weren't worried about gig deficits. They WANTED big deficits. The CBO predicted big deficits, that's why they had to sunset the tax cuts.

Now all they have to do is argue that deficits are terrible unless they are welfare for the rich, when they aren't worth worrying about.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 28, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

""Entering the 2000s with one in four tax filers owing nothing, the nonpayers pool was supercharged by the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003—especially by the doubling of the child credit to $1,000"

It was a nice lie when they first told it and just as much a lie when fedupwithgovernment repeats it.

you see, that "one in four tax filers owe nothing" is the IRS statement hat at least one in four filers does not owe taxes at that point, or are due a refund, BECAUSE THEY PAID MORE TAXES THAN THEY OWED.

Note that little word filers. If you didn't pay taxes, or made less than the standard deduction, you don't file UNLESS YOU GET A REFUND.

But they all payed taxes, and they nearly all didn't get their total taxes back.

The top income earners push their fair share of everything off on the middle class, or on our kids by running $300 billion in deficits so they can have their tax breaks.

Personally, I think Boehner and Mitch ought to filibuster the expiration of the tax cuts. Right up until, of course, they expire in toto. That way they will have made their point that only the rich deserve welfare, and the tax cuts will be gone, gone, gone, and no way to resurect them.

But that is prety much where those tax cuts are going anyway, so haleljuiah!

and the 1.4 Trillion deficit drops to less than 1 trillion.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

This should tell everyone where the Republicans loyalty lies. They want their rich friends to keep their tax breaks and prosper while all the rest of us suffer. I think Boehner should make sure his brain is loaded before he shoots off his mouth. The person from Ohio that said it was all the Governors fault should look next door at what Congressman Byrd did for West Virginia. I could have used a better word than saying Ohio has gone to pot. Ohio is a great state, just like the rest of us the politicians we elect have run them and us in the ground. I am from SC so I know a bad Governor when I see one. Everyone should have politicians like Congressman Byrd and less like Boehner. That should be a priority come election day.

Posted by: racam | July 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It's a Bush law so let it expire. Bush never passed anything good. He drove the country into the ditch and now the Republicans want to keep stepping on the gas. I find it funny the GOP talks about deficits, but they don't want to do anything about it that amounts to a hill of beans. The GOP is so full of it I want to puke.

Posted by: billr40229 | July 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Boehner should quit playing politics and take care of his duties in Ohio. His state is going to pot while he plays games with his party of NO.
Posted by: racam
----------
Those duties that have been so badly executed belong not to Boehner but to our Governor, Strickland. We are aware that the state has "gone to pot" as you so quaintly phrase it and, yes, we will take care of Strickland in November.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | July 28, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

No one should miss the succinct and rational analysis by Steve Wynn which summarizes the widely reported surveys and interpretations of public concern throughout the United States for total ineptitude, unsustained and reckless spending, paralysis of rational thought by the races to points of departure from reality; attempting to organize a "victory" for Obama in 2012. (Thanks wheeljc)

The issue will be settled in November of 2010.

Now why the distraction of "tax structure" from overall malfeasance, fraud, and manipulation; UNION chieftans among "special interests" driving this "domestic agenda." It is geared to anchor the coalitions of those UNIONS and alternate sexual lifetyles; racism; all settled into federal management roles regardless of qualification, and by the way, a "pretend survey" of opinions of personnel of The Armed Forces of the US as to "settled policy?" AIDS/HIV health care costs to be charged to "National Defense?"

An officer of the Armed Forces blaring his sexual predilection for alternative style chaining himself to the WH fence in uniform to rally his cause? Other examples are in abundance. Sane? Normal?

Obama aims to fill 550,000 job slots vacated by retiring "Federal Employees." For their UNIONS!! These job qualifications were substantiated by "essays" not college credential at levels of executive management of PUBLIC POLICIES and ADMINISTRATION? There are no standards of performance or accountability.

As states across the nation, California is struggling with unfunded liabilties for pensions and other largese of "public employees" brokered by their UNIONS and reciprocity of the politicians THEY elected to office. Some jurisdictions have wiped out entire police and fire departments to rely instead on Counties.

Democratic candidate for Governor, Jerry Brown, who was responsible for policies that enabled this "take over" now will reform the fiscal crises he created? Trust him? The Los(t)Angeles Times feigns "rellief" that there are (as yet) so solid promises to the UNIONS in his "back room?"

Republican challengers for US Senator and Governor to the Democratic mafioso intend to "cull the herd." No doubt they will! The Los(t) Angeles Times focuses on the personal wealth of Carly Fiorena [Sen] and Meg Whitman [Gov} as some kind of larceny when it has ignored the UNION BUCKS having sustained the system and those residing secure within? (Or are they minding the "bottom line" with so many departed subscribers?)

"Tax Law?" What about reducing costs? Most of us are forced to such astute financial planniing in this economy even if we are not among those in the streets.

What a difference Obama has made: Newt Gingrich? Would Hillary Clinton stand up again to "the media" goon squad, many female? How about General McChrytal; brains, brawn, guts, critical skills for President of The United States. No questions having arisen by his origins!

Posted by: SavvyRead | July 28, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I say Steve Wynn is one the biggest hypocrites and and a coward bailing out on America and moving to Macao. He's in total denial on how this country arrived at this point in history from the last 10 years. Many developers in real estate operated like drunken gamblers, and Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA didn't adhere to their underwriting guidelines to manage their loan portfolios prudently. There are caps in Texas on malpractice suits, but no extension of healthcare in poorly served areas of the state-too many bariactric and plastic surgeons, not enough general practitioners. Clinton was right when he got Democrats to pass his economic stimulus package in 1993. The marginal tax rates were higher, but they stimulated the economy and put this country on sounder financial footing.

Posted by: russpate1 | July 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I say Steve Wynn is one the biggest hypocrites and and a coward bailing out on America and moving to Macao. He's in total denial on how this country arrived at this point in history from the last 10 years. Many developers in real estate operated like drunken gamblers, and Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA didn't adhere to their underwriting guidelines to manage their loan portfolios prudently. There are caps in Texas on malpractice suits, but no extension of healthcare in poorly served areas of the state-too many bariactric and plastic surgeons, not enough general practitioners. Clinton was right when he got Democrats to pass his economic stimulus package in 1993. The marginal tax rates were higher, but they stimulated the economy and put this country on sounder financial footing.

Posted by: russpate1 | July 28, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hope that someone on the Obama staff -- among the three dozen czars -- will insert some COMMON SENSE!

Below is a short interview with Steve Wynn. Some of you know of him. He's a Multi Billionaire, Hotelier and Real Estate Investor in Las Vegas, Asia and Macau . He's been a guest from time to time on all the network financial news programs.

If you listen to this recent CNBC interview (short & to the point) and nothing else today, you will be better informed than your neighbor about the state of the union. I would suggest sharing this with your children so they know what to expect once they're faced with the results.

http://www.infowars.com/steve-wynn-takes-on-washington

Posted by: wheeljc | July 28, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

"Entering the 2000s with one in four tax filers owing nothing, the nonpayers pool was supercharged by the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003—especially by the doubling of the child credit to $1,000. By 2004, when the credit expansion was fully phased in, the number of nonpayers increased by 10.5 million, a 32-percent jump in the space of four years".http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/25962.html


"The tax cuts created a 10% tax bracket which benefited lower income earners(prior to Bush cuts bottom bracket was 15%) Also, it benefited far more taxpayers than any other provision, with 70 million tax returns showing a savings each year, the vast majority of whom are low- and middle-income people.

"The top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $66,532) earned 68.7 percent of the nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86.6 percent). The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $410,096) earned approximately 22.8 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 40.4 percent of all federal income taxes."

"That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid more in federal individual income taxes than the bottom 95 percent of tax returns."

http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html
http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/collections.cfm?collect=13 also shows that the tax cuts were across the board and not just for the wealthy.

Those that believe the "wealthy", top 25% received the biggest benefit from the Bush Tax Cuts than the Low and Middle Income payers should do their research.

It is simply not true.

Posted by: fedupwithgovernment | July 28, 2010 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Boehner should quit playing politics and take care of his duties in Ohio. His state is going to pot while he plays games with his party of NO.

Posted by: racam | July 27, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

And now the Republicans have to live with their folly.

With the economy already showing signs of going belly up, and with Bush planning a war the he still didn't have the slightest excuse for, the Republicans, in a hurry to give their friends welfare for the rich rammed tax cuts through the Congress. Of course, since even in the much better Clinton prosperity those cuts would have produced deficits, the deficit considerations that keep major deficit bills from being sneaked through Congress without the Senate having some say cut in and the longest they could expect the welfare package for the welfare package for the rich to run was ten years.

When you expect a permanent majority, of course, you just expect to get around to extending or making that welfare permanent.

Noqw, with the economy that the tax cuts waere supposed to make go into orbit to pay for themselves in the toilet of Republican Construction, John has to demand those tax cuts be extended anyway. To extend them, of course, the House has top vote to extend them, (yeah, right) and sixty Senators have to vote to allow an up or down vote so that the Senate can vote to extend them, (Double right) and the President has to sign the bill.

You might think that John would be able to count, and note that hye doesn't have the votes in the House, the Republicans don't have the votes in the senate, and the republicans don't happen to have their guy in the White House.

That leaves them three options:

1: Say the hell with it and let the tax cuts expire. don't make waves and don't call attention to their contribution to the 1.4 trillion dollar deficit they are going to campaign against.

2: Meekly go along with Obama's proposal to let the low income parts of the tax cut hold while dropping the rest.

3: Make a big stink about how we HAVE to have tax cuts for rich bankers so they get to keep those outrageous bonuses.

Needless to say John is going to try to cut the Republican party's throat in style by using the next three months to demand welfare for the rich.

Dems gain ten seats in the House and three in the Senate.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 27, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

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