Home

Obama Wants Middle Class Aid Before Corporate Tax Breaks (Updated)

Democrats repeatedly harped about programs to help the middle class in the run-up to the midterm elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:10 p.m. | Corporate tax lobbyists hoping for a holiday treat from Congress may get a lump of coal from President Barack Obama.  

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday the president would "strongly oppose" a package of corporate tax cut extenders without doing something for the middle class.  

"I can tell you that the reports are not promising," Earnest said. "The reports suggest that there may be some in Congress who want to provide tax relief to businesses and to corporate insiders but not ensuring that ... those benefits are shared by middle-class families.  

"So certainly the administration would not be supportive of a package that provided relief to corporations without providing relief to middle-class families.  

" ... We wouldn't want to see that move in the lame duck. We wouldn't want to see that move at any point."  

(UPDATE: Obama has now vowed to veto the bill.) Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew also ripped word of a potential deal.  

"An extender package that makes permanent expiring business provisions without addressing tax credits for working families is the wrong approach," Lew said in a statement. "Any deal on tax extenders must ensure that the economic benefits are broadly shared. We are committed to working with Congress to address the issue in a manner that is fiscally responsible and extends critical tax benefits for working families."  

A host of tax cuts expired in January, including some that Obama's budgets have proposed extending. But there have been disputes over whether those tax cuts should be offset with revenue elsewhere so they don't add to the deficit, as well as whether some of the breaks should be nixed.  

The tax cuts range from the research and development tax credit and credits for renewable energy to depreciation breaks for NASCAR and racehorses.  

Some outside budget hawks are also worried about a year-end deal resulting in hundreds of billions added to the deficit over the next decade.  

Related: Extenders Are Part of the Long Game in Tax Overhaul Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.