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Long IslandPolitics

Obama adviser: Tax cut will pass by year-end

President Barack Obama speaks during his news conference

President Barack Obama speaks during his news conference at the White House, Tuesday. (Dec., 7, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

As the Senate prepares for its first vote on the tax cut compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, Obama's top political adviser predicted the deal would pass by year's end.

"At the end of the day, no one wants to see taxes go up on 150 million Americans on January 1," David Axelrod said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "No one wants to see 2 million people lose their unemployment insurance, and everybody understands what it would mean for the economy if we don't get this done."

The Senate is scheduled for a cloture vote on the legislation Monday. If at least 60 senators vote to end debate, an up-or-down vote on the measure could be held as soon as Wednesday, according to Senate rules. Neither of New York's Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, have publicly declared how they will vote.

Axelrod's touting of the compromise comes after Obama and former President Bill Clinton provided a tag-team defense of the deal at the White House on Friday.

No vote is yet scheduled in the House, which is not in session today.

The No. 2 member of the House Democratic leadership, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), told "Fox News Sunday" that many members of his caucus are upset about a provision that would eliminate the estate tax for people worth up to $5 million.

Asked if the estate tax issue is a deal-breaker, Van Hollen declined to answer.

"The president made a deal with Senate Republicans and . . . to the credit of Republicans, they did not say this better deal on the estate tax was essential," he said. "We're not going to hold this up at the end of the day, but we do think this simple question should be put to [the] test. We're going to ask Republicans and others, are they going to block this entire deal" to protect wealthy estates?

And Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, on Fox described the tax package as "take it or leave it" in its current incarnation. Ryan said if Democrats attempt to scuttle or block the deal on tax breaks, Republicans will pass the package in January when they seize the majority.

Axelrod said the legislation could not be altered "in major ways" and still be expected to pass. "Compromise, by its very nature, includes things that you don't necessarily like," he said.

With AP


How local members of Congress would vote

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights): No

"This is setting the table for a trap . . . For us to get unemployment insurance in this package, [Republicans] needed to take care of their wealthiest benefactors. They're mainlining $900 billion in order for us to take care of the most needy people. Then they'll blame the deficit on us."

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton): Yes

"4,700 people in my district alone would see their Unemployment Insurance reinstated in time for the holidays and a Payroll Tax Cut for middle-class families is one of our best tools for stimulating the economy."

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) Reserve judgment

"I hope we can improve the plan. I am working to secure two priorities: Preserving tax cuts for middle class families and extending unemployment insurance."

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford): Yes

"Allowing the residents of Long Island and New York to keep more of their own money will improve our economy and provide more state revenues."

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola): Yes

"This is a good deal. The working families are not going to lose their tax cuts. And I look at it as a mini-stimulus. I never thought the $250,000 threshold [for letting tax cuts expire] was high enough for Long Island."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): Reserve judgment

Spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said that while Gillibrand supports tax cuts for the middle class and small business along with emergency assistance for people looking for work, she believes it's fiscally irresponsible to extend tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): Did not respond

Compiled by Tom Brune


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