Alexa

Obama signals compromise on tax cuts

A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections.
Obama ruefully called the Republican victories "a shellacking" and acknowledged that his own connection with the public had frayed.
At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, "my goal is to make sure we don't have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families." He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
He also virtually abandoned his legislation _ hopelessly stalled in the Senate _ featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources.
"I'm going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem," he said, strongly implying there will be others.
In the campaign, Republicans slammed the bill as a "national energy tax" and jobs killer, and numerous Democrats sought to emphasize their opposition to the measure during their own re-election races.
The president opened his post-election news conference by saying voters who felt frustrated by the sluggish pace of economic recovery had dictated the Republican takeover in the House.
"The relationship that I've had with the American people is one that built slowly, peaked at this incredible high, and then during the course of the last two years, as we've together gone through some very difficult times, has gotten rockier and tougher," Obama said.
One controversial issue, the president said he saw a possibility that Congress might agree to overturn the military's ban on openly gay service members when lawmakers return to the Capitol for a post-election session later this month.
The election was a humbling episode for the once-high-flying president, and the change showed during his news conference. Largely absent were his smiles and buoyant demeanor, replaced by somberness and an acknowledgment that his policies may have alienated some Americans.
But he wasn't talking surrender either, suggesting he would cooperate with Republicans where it was possible and confront them when it was not.
With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters _ the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.
Actually, Clinton's electoral comeuppance was worse. Republicans won both the House and Senate at his first midterm, but he recovered to win re-election two years later.
Republicans lost seats in Congress at Reagan's first midterm election in 1982 but never had a House majority to lose, and kept control of the Senate for four more years.


Updated : 2021-01-28 14:55 GMT+08:00