December 6th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

Senators say deal likely on extending tax cuts, jobless benefits

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/06/capitol.jpg]

Tom Cohen

Top senators from both parties indicated Sunday that a deal was likely soon on temporarily extending Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, along with unemployment benefits that have expired.

However, Republican senators made clear they are unlikely to budge in their opposition to other Democratic priorities in the final weeks of the lame-duck session of Congress that ends in early January.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told the NBC program "Meet the Press" he was "optimistic" about an agreement on the tax rates and jobless benefits, but added there likely wasn't time for the Senate to ratify a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia or complete work on a major defense bill that includes repeal of the "don't ask, don' tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers.

Democrats, stymied by the ability of Senate Republicans to filibuster their agenda, shot back with angry words.

"I hope Americans will understand how craven and empty and hollow and contradictory the Republican position is," veteran Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, told CNN.

The posturing and rhetoric reflects the changed political equation in Washington in the aftermath of the November congressional elections described by President Barack Obama as a "shellacking" for Democrats, with Republican recapturing control of the House and narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Bill Vernon

    What about those of us who reached 99 weeks of benefits? My benefits ended last month. Help!

    December 6, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  2. rosemary

    these politians are crazy they have a roofs over their heads and food, what are thinking people need there unemployment checks. how dare them. they are making our country worst. oh they have a job with alot of money for there bank account. why don't they take a pay cut.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  3. cindy

    Why should the very rich keep getting breaks, when the very poor cannot afford the basic needs to sustain a family. Why should it always be that the middle and low income class pays the price for the very rich to stay that way. People making minimum wage are struggling just to make ends meet and the cost of living keeps going up without the wages keeping up. We need to bring the industry back to the United States and make this country self-sustaining again. Stop making the third world countries be able to live better than our working class in the U. S..

    December 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Alessandra Jones

    With the demise of morals within our society, I hope that we all look more closely at the causes for men to act as animals. I believe that it begins with sexual innuendos seen on television, and then more widely accepted to be viewed in movies, magazines, internet, etc. There needs to be a zero tolerance for any sexual exploitation of women, children and men. Our bodies are sacred and any physical intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage should not be displayed. We need to wake up and see that the industries that promote immodest clothing – beginning at younger ages in children – is another link to the exploitation of children. Man has the capacity to reason and think. He should never resort to actions that are based upon the need for sexual gratification at the expense of any person – but especially an innocent child.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  5. Randy

    We get a big election swing due to the economic discontent and immediately we begin the process which will most likely cause problems to get even worse sometime in the future. Then there is the political backlash that immediately extends unemployment benefits. What about so many Americans who can't make ends meet, but are working or just seeing a slow down from being self employed. I've talked with people who are happy to take off a year or more while collecting benefits. Twenty years ago I was unemployed and the government couldn't work hard enough to avoid paying benefits and oh the big corporations that caused the unneeded damage just ripped off employees and paid executives bigger bonuses. Have banks done much to help Americans since their bailouts. What about GM? As a vendor I can only say it doesn't make sense and it isn't fair.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  6. andrew

    It is good news for unemployed people who will get last unemployment benefit check.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Doug Johnson

    -Just watched a talking head on CNN state that the unemployment extension was needed to help those unemployed who had exhausted 99 weeks of benefits. Why can't you guys get it right? The extension is to fund benefits for anyone unemployed beyond 26 weeks, and in some states will extend to as much as 99 weeks. The folks who have already exhausted 99, or who will exhaust 99 weeks of benefits if the extension is approved, are not being considered for any assistance at this time. This seems like a simple situation to understand. Perhaps your organization is more focused on maintaining your tax cuts than on the welfare of @17% of the US population who are in crisis. Shame on you.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  8. Eric

    Doesn't this kind of beat the purpose of fiscal responsibility to death??? Reps want tax cuts, Dems want jobless benefits, hell, we'll do both!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  9. Chris Rich

    I think President Obama should not give in, and only raise taxes on those making at least $500,000 or more. Why should the CEO's and bosses get rewarded for laying off, firing workers, and moving jobs overseas. They did all of that with 8 years of tax breaks.What I do not understand is why some of the Average Americans which make up 98% of us do not think this is the right thing to do!

    December 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  10. chek

    Republican want to tell the unemployed no now well I want to be the one saying no in 2012.

    December 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  11. Mike

    Flashback, "Elections have consequences."? Honestly I believe that the Republicans need to recognize that continuing the current cutting of taxes and increasing expenses (unemployment) is the approach that got us into this mess. The rhetoric is too loud and too polarized for any compromise. Congress is ineffective and needs to govern from the middle. They all need to grow up and start governing.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  12. Pat L

    Congress is making deals with our lives behind closed doors!!!! If all get the tax cuts extension then all unemployed should get the UI extension!
    5 million 99ers have exhausted their benefits and are unable to find work!

    Pass the UI extension and add a Tier 5 for ALL unemployed Americans!!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 10:56 am |