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December 4th, 2010
03:12 PM ET

Democratic procedural votes on extending Bush tax cuts fail in Senate

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - Two Senate procedural votes on Democratic measures to extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for people who are not super wealthy failed on Saturday, preventing the measures from moving forward.

The votes sought to extend the Bush tax cuts for families making under $250,000 and $1 million, respectively.

Both votes garnered the support of 53 senators, but the Democrats needed 60 votes to end debate.

"I am very disappointed that the Senate did not pass legislation that had already passed the House of Representatives to make middle class tax cuts permanent," President Barack Obama said afterward.

"I continue to believe that it makes no sense to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans," he said, "especially when those high income tax cuts would cost an additional $700 billion that we don't have and would add to our deficit."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he is still hopeful about reaching a deal on tax cuts.

"Discussions continue," McConnell said at a news conference. "I am hopeful we will be able to resolve this. I am relatively confident that the end of this process will lead us to a very sensible decision not to raise taxes on anybody during a recession."

Despite the realization that neither would get the 60 votes to succeed, many Democrats said before the vote they wanted to get on-the-record in support of extending the lower rates to lower earners. They also want to contrast their ideas with Republican proposals to extend tax cuts for everyone, even those who are very wealthy.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Raw Politics
December 4th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Letters to the President: #684 'The continuing puzzle of Afghanistan'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama turned up in Afghanistan to talk to our troops and generally offer some encouragement.

Dear Mr. President,

Look at you, suddenly popping up in Afghanistan with the cool bomber jacket, talking up our troops! Good for you. Whether a war is going well or poorly, I think it is important for the commander-in-chief to show up from time to time. If nothing else, it lets the folks in the fight know that they have not been forgotten by the person at the top.

That said I really can’t tell anymore if things are heading the right way over there. I know that you’ve said we’re making progress, and I have so much faith in the military people of our country, that I want to believe it. But then I read reports that the Afghan government remains an untrustworthy shambles; that their troops are not now, nor will they be anytime soon, ready to take over protection of their own country, and yadda yadda yadda…it just doesn’t look good.
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