A plan to renew a handful of tax breaks for business and individuals looks to have been quenched by the White House after a veto threat.
The threat came before any plan was revealed to renew that tax breaks, which have said to have favored individuals over the working class.
Speculation on Capitol Hill on Tuesday focused on a potential agreement to permanently enact tax breaks on business investments in new equipment and research and development as part of a plan that would renew dozens of expired tax breaks for businesses and individuals both.
The White House immediately weighed in with a veto threat, saying Congress should also make permanent a top Obama administration priority: extending more generous tax credits for the working poor and people with children. They were left out of the potential pact and expire at the end of 2017. Democrats fear they won’t be renewed if Republicans control Congress or retake the White House.
“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” deputy White House press secretary Jennifer Friedman said. A senior White House official said the president was personally working the phones to try to kill the plan.
Negotiations no renewing the expired tax breaks are expected to continue.
The breaks are usually renewed annually and have a widespread political backing between Republicans and Democrats. The emerging pact would also have made permanent tax breaks for college tuition, parking and transit subsidies, and a deduction for state and local sales taxes.
“The president has consistently stated his opposition to giving hundreds of billions of dollars of tax cuts primarily geared toward corporations while leaving middle-class families and those struggling to get into the middle class behind,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
The possible agreement, Democratic aides said, was being negotiated between House Republicans and top Senate Democrats like outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose state of Nevada benefits from the state and local sales tax deduction. Senate Democrats were seeking the best deal they could while retaining leverage, but the emerging outline infuriated the White House because it was so favorable to businesses.
The plan would have reached $450 million and would have been added to the $17.9 trillion national debt.
“The price tag is a result of irresponsible horse trading whereby each side got to claim its favorite tax break without paying for it,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates for lower deficits.