And not just the tax cuts, either. According to ABC, CNN, and the Daily Caller, they’ve agreed to a two-year extension of all the cuts, a temporary two percent cut to the payroll tax and a temporary reduction of the estate tax to 35 percent (from 55 percent) with the first $5 million of every estate fully tax exempt. Obama’s price: The GOP agrees to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months, which they were bound to do anyway as a simple matter of retail politics.
The One’s going to sell this as a grand stimulus package, but the left will go kicking and screaming all the way. In fact, they’re kicking already. CNN:
As currently crafted, the deal would prohibit amendments by either party, according to the source, who spoke on condition of not being identified by name…
“We won’t rubber stamp a deal between the White House and (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell,” one Democratic congressional source told CNN. “We want to make it clear. Don’t take our support for granted.”…
According to the senior Democratic source, Obama and Biden told the congressional Democrats that the proposed deal was the best they could expect.
Obama’s set to speak at 6:10 p.m. so let’s get this post up now for you guys to comment. One question to bear in mind as you watch: Where does this temporary fix leave him during campaign 2012? He’s going to swear up and down that there’ll be no more tax-cut extensions for the wealthy, come hell or high water, but of course he made the same promise during campaign 2008 and yet here we are. His base will have every reason to believe that he’s lying to them — and with good reason, given Ben Bernanke’s dire warning that it’ll be four or five years at least until unemployment returns to “normal” levels. If Obama’s willing to compromise now in the name of stimulus, why not again in 2013? Stand by for updates.
Update: Politico claims there’s no deal yet, and also hears rumblings of Democratic dissent:
Senate Democrats, who want the rate set at 45 percent with a $3.5 million exemption, are likely to raise strong opposition to that proposal, according to a senior Democratic leadership aide.
“That would add a lot insult to injury for a lot of Democrats who are already troubled by an extension of the Bush tax cuts” for high-end earners, the aide said. “It might strike a lot of members as a bridge too far.”