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Response to tax cut extension is positive
State congressmen say compromise may help economy
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Georgia congressmen said Tuesday they are pleased with President Barack Obama's proposed compromise on extending the Bush-era tax cuts.

Obama's olive branch would continue the tax cuts for two years for Americans of all income levels. As part of the compromise, unemployment benefits would also be extended and payroll taxes would be temporarily reduced.

Congress was at an impasse on the issue, with Republicans wanting to extend the tax cuts permanently and Democrats hoping to let the tax breaks expire for the wealthiest taxpayers, keeping them only for low- and middle-class Americans.

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, said the compromise is a good start.

"The current framework for a tax cut deal shows that we're moving in the right direction. It's encouraging to know that the president realizes the importance of putting a stop to the largest tax increase in America's history," Graves said.

"Ending the threat of tax increases will bring certainty to the marketplace and is vital for economic recovery to occur. As the president continues talks with Democrat leaders in Congress, I'll be watching closely to see how today's framework translates into a final bill."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. said the compromise will be a comfort to businesses.

"This agreement will prevent a tax hike on American families and small businesses during tough economic times. With the nation's unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, this deal has the potential to give the business community the certainty it needs in the coming year to create more jobs for Americans," Chambliss said.

Time is running out to make a decision on the Bush tax cuts, which expire Dec. 31.

"This agreement gives clarity and certainty to American taxpayers, small businesses and investors on their taxes for the next two years. It should help economic recovery and create jobs," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

Many Democrats in Congress are unhappy about the agreement because it continues tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. But Obama said a long political battle "would be a bad deal for the economy. And it would be a bad deal for the American people."

He promised a renewed fight during 2012 when the tax cuts would expire again, making the point that he still opposes the Republican position that high-income earners should get the extension, too. The agreement includes individuals making $200,000 or more a year and families making $250,000 or more.

Obama called "tax cuts for the wealthy" the Republicans' "holy grail."

"It seems to be their economic doctrine," Obama added, previewing a likely argument during his expected re-election race in 2012.

In the agreement, the president gave up a key goal. But he said the deal would stop taxes from rising for middle class Americans.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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