President Obama is stepping up pressure on lawmakers to pass a tax cut deal he struck with Republicans that would extend tax cuts for all Americans and renew benefits for those who have been unemployed for a long time. Originally, President Obama wanted to extend the tax cuts to all except the wealthiest Americans, making the rich pay more in taxes than everyone else. However, Republicans wanted everyone to get the tax cuts, so the President arranged a compromise that some Democrats believe is misguided.
The leaders of the two branches of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have been working hard to get their fellow Democrats, or their caucuses, on board with President Obama's new plan. But, some Democrats, like Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.), think the President isn't living up to his campaign promises.
However, other lawmakers say having a plan is better than not, since taxes will go up for everyone on Jan. 1 if no legislation is passed. A vote in the coming days will determine whether the President's plan will be enacted or whether legislators will have to go back to the drawing board.
The first four minutes of this video give an overview of the tax cut plan, while the rest is a discussion with NewsHour Political Editor David Chalian.
"And I just think it's very important for Congress to examine the agreement, look at the facts, have a thorough debate, but get this done. The American people are watching, and they're expecting action on our parts." - President Barack Obama
"Well, I think it is fair to say that there is a certain amount of unease with the proposal that was put forth by the president." - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
"And what the president did in agreeing to the extension of these tax cuts for the wealthy and the very-well-off was essentially leave that fight, leave the field in the seventh inning, when we had a couple more innings to go." - Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)
1. What are taxes?
2. What is a "caucus" in Congress?
3. What are unemployment benefits?
1. Do you think President Obama's deal should be passed? Why or why not?
2. What do you think the president means by this quote? "And Republicans are going to have to explain to the American people over the next two years how making those tax cuts for the high end permanent squares with their stated desire to start reducing deficits and debt. I don't think that formula works."
3. How could cutting taxes help the economy?