Durbin says deal is near on extending all Bush tax cuts

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Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday that Democrats and Republicans are headed toward a deal to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all income tax brackets, possibly before the cuts expire at the year’s end.

Despite protests to the contrary from Congressional Democratic leaders, Durbin conceded Sunday that the Republicans will probably achieve what they have been seeking: an across-the-board extension of current tax rates. The day before, two Democratic plans to exclude higher income tax brackets from an extension were rejected in votes on the Senate floor. One would have excluded income above $250,000, while the other would have excluded income above $1 million.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Republicans would agree to support another extension of unemployment benefits as a part of a deal. Durbin described that element as crucial, saying that most Democrats remain highly opposed to extending the current tax rates for higher incomes, whether it be for annual earnings above $250,000 or above $1 million.

“I can tell you that without unemployment benefits being extended, personally, this is a non-starter,” Durbin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The notion that we would give tax cuts to those making over $1 million a year, which is the Republican position, and then turn our backs on 2 million Americans who will lose unemployment benefits before Christmas — 127,000 in the state of Illinois — is unconscionable.”

Full story: Durbin Indicates Deal Is Near on Extending All Tax Cuts : Roll Call