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SoCal unemployed eyeing impending tax vote

December 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The tax-cut bill, a deal struck by President Barack Obama and Republicans, has hit 60 votes in the Senate on Monday, the level needed to advance toward a final vote.

The roll call is continuing, and the test vote is not final. But the bipartisan show of support is a strong indication the measure will be passed and sent to the House, possibly as early as Tuesday.

That deal would extend all the tax cuts created under former President George Bush and extend unemployment benefits. It also includes other tax breaks designed to stimulate the economy.

Many Democrats are criticizing the compromise. They're particularly angry about the estate tax in this deal.

"This giveaway on the estate tax, which is over 10 years, is $115 billion more than we should be doing," argued Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-New York).

Obama met briefly with reporters to urge the House to pass the tax cut bill. He admitted it doesn't please everyone. The president had been opposed to extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

Without an extension of tax cuts, anyone paying 10 percent in taxes would jump to 15 percent. Intermediate tax brackets would go up, and wage earners in the highest bracket would rise to nearly 40 percent.

Additionally, more money would be coming out of people's pockets because of a $400 billion increase in taxes and tax credits.

For instance, the marriage penalty would return, the child tax credit would be cut in half and the dependent care credit would end.

Obama said that taken as a whole, the bill does good things for the economy and American people.

The nation's unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. In Los Angeles, the most recent figures have the jobless rate at 13.8 percent. The state is 12.6 percent.

There are many people like Amber Greene, who desperately need the unemployment payments which will be extended with the tax cut bill.

"I'm kind of scared because of my financial situation," Greene said. "I'm a single mother."

About 400,000 Californians will be cut off from benefits Jan. 1 if the bill fails.

Despite the criticism, presidential advisor David Axelrod said the White House expects the deal to pass Congress without any major changes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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