Negotiators reach deal to avert gov't shutdown

December 15, 2011 7:34:50 PM PST
With the clock ticking toward a possible government shutdown, there's a breakthrough on Capitol Hill.

Late this evening, Congressional negotiators agreed on a $1 trillion spending measure to keep Washington from running out of money at midnight on Friday.

First came reports that negotiators were preparing a short-term, two-month funding deal. Minutes later, there was news that a year-long $1 trillion deal had been reached just 28 hours ahead of deadline.

Before negotiators reached a deal, the government was set to run out of money at midnight on Friday.

"There's no reason the government should shut down over this," said President Barack Obama. "I expect all of us to do what's necessary in order to do the people's business and make sure that it's done before the end of the year."

Standing directly behind the president Thursday morning was Bay Area homecare worker Pauline Beck. Obama first met Beck in 2007 when the then-presidential candidate and senator came to Oakland on a campaign stop and used the opportunity to promote a working man image by helping Beck with her job.

The White House has even made its own video in which Beck supports the president's job agenda. Part of that plan includes an extension of last year's payroll tax reduction aimed at putting money into the pockets of working Americans.

Democrats in Congress want to pay for the extension by upping the taxes on people who make more than $1 million annually.

"We're not going home without enacting a payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

But Pelosi signaled that she no longer was insisting on tying the tax cut extension to a tax hike on millionaires, and while the tax cut extension must be done by the end of the year, democrats gave up on including it in the funding bill.

"I appreciate the democrats' willingness to give up in their millionaire surtax," said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. "But they're giving up nothing because they never had it."

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D. explains democrats caved on the millionaire tax because they couldn't risk losing the payroll tax.

"They need to get this payroll tax extension because they need to fix the economy as best they can, even on the margins," said Cain. "The economy, in the end, will determine this November's election more than any other factor."

Cain says democratic members of congress will get another chance to hike taxes on the rich when the Bush-era tax cuts expire in 2012, but so far the batting average on that issue is zero.

Load Comments