White House expects US Congress to pass tax deal

(Incorporates USA-TAXES/AXELROD, adds Goolsbee)

By Vicki Allen

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (BestGrowthStock) – White House adviser David
Axelrod said on Sunday he expected the U.S. House of
Representatives will pass President Barack Obama’s tax deal
without significant changes.

The Senate was expected this week to approve the deal Obama
cut with Republicans but many Democrats in the House have
complained that the president made too many concessions.

“We believe that when it comes back to the House that we
will get a vote and it will prevail there,” Axelrod said on
CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Obama’s $856 billion tax deal, struck with the Republicans
who will soon wield greater clout in Washington, extends all
tax cuts passed under the Republican administration of
President George W. Bush, even those for wealthier Americans.

Democrats had hoped to allow tax rates to rise for the
wealthiest 2 percent of U.S. households to avoid increasing
the country’s record-high debt level.

House Democrats also are particularly angered that the deal
did not toughen taxes on estates of the richest Americans as
much as they wanted.

In a caucus last week, they rejected the tax deal and
chanted, “Just say no!”

Despite the opposition in Obama’s own party, Axelrod said
he did not expect significant changes to the tax deal. “We
can’t change it in major ways and expect that it is going to
pass. … I expect that the framework that was agreed to will
be largely what is voted on,” he said.

White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee also predicted
the package would pass.

“I understand the feeling that it is a bitter pill to
swallow, the high-income tax cuts,” Goolsbee told NBC’s “Meet
the Press.”

“But what the president was able to get that is
substantially bigger than that and important for the economy —
whether it’s incentives for investment for firms, whether it’s
a payroll tax cut for 155 million workers … is really
important and we can’t let that go away,” he said.

Economists say the package, especially a payroll tax cut
for workers, could boost the sluggish economy at a time when
Congress has no appetite for stimulus spending. Its cost would
exceed even the $814 billion stimulus package passed in 2009 to
fight the worst recession since the 1930s.

Axelrod said Obama has “been talking to individual members
of Congress all through the weekend and before, and he’ll
continue to do that.”

“What he’s going to say to them is there is an enormous
amount of good in this package that will help their
constituents, that will help the broader public and that will
move the economy forward,” Axelrod said.

Republicans won control of the House and made gains in the
Senate in Nov. 2 congressional elections. The new Congress will
convene in January.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Doina
Chiacu)

White House expects US Congress to pass tax deal