Clinton Gives Obama New Problem Bill Clinton: Bush Tax Cuts Should Be Extended Temporarily
Former president Bill Clinton caused additional headaches for the Obama campaign on Tuesday when he told CNBC that he wouldn't have a problem with Congress temporarily extending all the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of the year.
Clinton went on to insist that President Obama should not sign off on legislation that would extend the top end tax cut rates permanently, a concession that Republicans have demanded. In that regard both he and Obama are on the same page: They both believe the high-end Bush tax cuts need to be de-coupled, extended for the middle and lower classes and ended for the upper earners. But Clinton's insistence that he would have "no problem" extending all of the tax cuts for some amount of time puts the Obama campaign in an awkward position. In this hyper-political climate, Republicans were quick to pounce on the daylight between the current and former Democratic president.
The White House is readying for a tax cut showdown this summer. House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) indicated the House will vote on extending tax cuts before its August recess.
A Congressional Budget Office report released last month warned that the country may be thrown into a recession if the Bush tax cuts expired and scheduled spending cuts took effect as planned.
Clinton emphasized his opposition to the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, but conceded they might need to be temporarily renewed until the country gets out of what he called a recession.
"What I think we need to do is find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what's necessary in the long term debt-reduction plans as soon as they can, which presumably would be after the election," he said.
"I don't have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending levels." But the tax cuts are already set to be in place through the end of the year -- after the election -- and so Clinton's extension would take them further.
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