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Congress: Let's make a deal

“White House negotiators and congressional Republicans have the outlines of a deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and federal unemployment benefits, which would end a partisan stalemate on Capitol Hill,” The Hill writes. “Under the prospective deal, all the Bush tax cuts would be extended for two years and unemployment benefits would be extended for one, according to congressional sources. Also under consideration is an extension of the Make Work Pay and college-tuition tax credits that were part of the 2009 economic stimulus package.”

“House Democrats yesterday approved an extension to the Bush tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000, a measure almost certain to be rejected in the Senate. But negotiators worked behind the scenes on an eventual compromise that could extend the cuts to top earners as a way to win Republican support,” the Boston Globe adds. “A deal on the income tax cuts, which expire this month, could emerge in the next week from the small group of negotiators.”

The New York Post: “In a final bit of political theater before relinquishing power, House Democrats yesterday passed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while letting those for high earners expire -- a measure that succeeded only in infuriating Republicans.”

Speaker-to-be John Boehner called the maneuver “chicken crap,” but remember back in September when he said he would vote for a middle-class tax cut? Business Week: “Boehner would support extending tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year ‘if that’s what we can get done, but I think that’s bad policy,’ he said yesterday on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ program. ‘If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it. I’m going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans.’”

Roll Call: “Senate Democrats braced for a pair of showdown votes on tax cuts scheduled for Saturday after Republicans backed away from a deal for a more orderly treatment of the tax cut issue late Thursday night. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to charge ahead against likely filibusters on two Democratic proposals, one that would extend the soon-to-expire tax cuts for middle-class taxpayers and another that would extend the cuts for those making up to $1 million.”

“House ethics investigators have begun looking into why the House Financial Services Committee, led by Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat, did not fully comply with its promise to turn over all documents pertinent to an investigation of subcommittee chairwoman Maxine Waters, according to congressional staff and other sources close to the inquiry,” the Boston Globe writes.

“House Democratic leaders are considering a vote on the DREAM Act on Wednesday, a senior House Democratic aide said Thursday,” Roll Call writes.