After talking with Obama, Oberstar backs tax deal

WASHINGTON — Following a weekend call with President Obama, Rep. Jim Oberstar said this morning he’d back a tax cut and unemployment benefit compromise that Obama brokered with GOP leaders.

“I had a very positive conversation with President Obama [Saturday], and I am now certain that supporting the tax compromise he has come to with Senate Republicans is the only way to extend unemployment benefits for thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs, through no fault of their own,” Oberstar said.

“This is a deeply flawed compromise that allows millionaires to continue receiving a tax cut averaging $100,000 a year, in order to ensure that unemployed workers can continue to collect weekly benefits of about $350. Senate Republicans have abused the filibuster rule in that body to hold unemployed families hostage and extract extra money for millionaires and billionaires. As inequitable and unjust as that tactic is, the compromise worked out by the President is the only path forward to restoring unemployment benefits to those who need them.”

The compromise framework allows for an extension of current tax cuts to all income brackets in exchange for a 13-month extension of the 99-week unemployment benefit (Note: not 99 weeks + 13 months, rather someone who is eligible for but hasn’t hit 99 weeks could still take unemployment up to that point or 13 months from now, whichever comes first).

Oberstar’s office contends he had still been mulling the decision, though I and every other media organization doing a whip count had put him down as a “no.” That’s because Oberstar co-signed a letter by leading House liberals that called the plan “irresponsible” and “unfair.”

It was sent out by Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, under the headline “Welch and 53 House Democrats oppose Obama tax deal.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/13/2010 - 01:25 pm.

    Is Mr. Oberstar suffering from some kind of postpartum (please forgive the bad analogy) depression here? Why doesn’t he let go? Leave the headaches to Mr. Cravaack.

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