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Compromise close on tax cuts, unemployment benefits

by Adam Russett on December 6, 2010

With time running out on extending Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, Republican and Democratic lawmakers appear to have reached a compromise on the contentious issue of tax cuts for the wealthy. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Arizona Senator John Kyl hinted to interviewers on Sunday that a deal was in the works, The Washington Post reports.

The compromise concerns extending the emergency unemployment program that expired toward the end of last week in exchange for keeping the tax cuts for households making more than $250,000. Kyl appeared on Face the Nation alongside Democrat Dick Durbin and both seemed to reluctantly agree that the compromise was the only way for both sides to get something accomplished.

"I think that most folks believe that the recipe would include at least an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are unemployed and an extension of all the tax rates for all Americans for some period of time," Kyl told the show's host, Bob Schieffer.

Durbin, however, seemed less enthusiastic about the prospect of a tax cut for any household making more than $1 million. Still, he added that the extension of unemployment benefits was much too important to be left on the table. According to the news source, not approving the unemployment program could spell a grim Christmas for around 1.6 million Americans and that figure could grow to 6 million by the spring.

The announcement of an expected deal comes after a weekend in which Senate Republicans rejected any Democratic plans regarding the tax cuts, despite the fact that the House of Representatives has passed the plan proposed by President Barack Obama. Another controversial topic, the proposed New START pact with Russia, will likely be shelved for the time being, McConnell and Kyl added.

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