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Obama Plays "Let's Make a Deal": Tax Breaks for START

By Conn Carroll

For two election cycles in row, a frustrated American people voted to throw out the incumbent party because they did not like how Washington was operating.

In 2008 the Republicans lost the White House and in 2010 the Democrats lost the House. The message from the American people is clear: stop the cynical back room deal making and start addressing our nation’s problems in a principled way. But some in Washington just refuse to hear this message. The Washington Post is reporting that the White House is offering to allow a temporary extension of current tax rates in exchange for ratification of the New START treaty. Worse, some Republicans are considering the deal:

On Tuesday, according to people in the room, both sides engaged in the kind of cross-party dealmaking that seems to have faded away in today’s Washington. The participants emerged smiling and with a loose framework – though they did not outline it publicly – that could result in the temporary extension of all the tax cuts, as well as the ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, the continuation of unemployment benefits and funding for government operations into next year.

National security is one of the primary responsibilities of the United States Congress. It is right there in the Preamble to the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

New START either is, or is not, good for national security (we think its not). Senators should vote on the merits of New START by itself. It is absolutely shameful that any Senator from any party would use New START as a bargaining chip on tax policy. We hope that reports of any taxes-for-New START deal are wildly inaccurate.


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