Huffington Post is reporting that the White House will drop opposition to an extension of all Bush tax cuts. Huffpo's political reporters Howard Fineman and Sam Stein interviewed David Axelrod yesterday, who had this to say:
President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.
That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.
"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."
"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
While this is good news, it is hard to gauge at this point how much pull Obama still has with Democrats in Congress. This is especially true in the senate where an extension could be blocked unless a dozen or so Democratic senators cross the aisle and vote with the GOP.
And the idea of a "temporary" extension will not sit well with some Republicans. So while it is gratifying that the White House appears to have dropped its opposition to extending the tax cuts in theory, the actual nuts and bolts of the process might still trip up legislators who want to see them made a permanent part of the tax code.