President George W. Bush achieved major cuts in income tax rates in 2001 and 2003. Since then, GOP lawmakers have taken increasingly tough stands against letting those cuts expire — as they now are scheduled to do at the end of the year.
President Barack Obama campaigned this year on a pledge to end the Bush-era tax breaks for families making more than $250,000 a year. The White House said Friday he will veto any deficit-reduction package that fails to do so.
Republican leaders say they are just as adamant that no one’s tax rate rises.
Unless one side yields, Congress and the White House seem unlikely to agree on a new deficit-shrinking plan of tax hikes and spending cuts.
Without an agreement, a huge package of spending cuts and tax increases, which both parties dislike, will take effect in the new year.