THE GUARDIAN: Passage of bill reflects weakness of both the presidency and the Democratic party after Republican wins in November elections
The US president, Barack Obama, will today sign into law measures approved by Congress extending tax cuts introduced by George Bush amid Democratic complaints that the breaks favour the rich.
Despite objections from many of Obama's fellow Democrats, the House of Representatives passed the $858bn (£548bn) package of renewed tax cuts last night. The package, which also extended benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, was passed by 277 votes to 148. On Wednesday the Senate passed it by an overwhelming 83-15 margin.
Passage of the bill reflects the relative weakness of both the presidency and the Democratic party after the Republican sweep in November's congressional elections, giving them a majority in the House and big inroads into the Democratic majority in the Senate.
Obama has been forced to bend to the resurgent Republicans, his current position on taxes contrasting sharply with his stance earlier this year when he and his fellow Democrats fought against renewing tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans – those with household incomes above $250,000 – while supporting continued cuts for middle-class taxpayers. >>> Mark Tran | Friday, December 17, 2010