October 21, 2014

More of the Same

  • The American health care system is a patchwork of public and private programs that serve citizens in different ways, depending on their age, military...

Election-year politics were on full display last week as Democrats and Republicans pushed familiar positions on taxes and health care rather than moving in more constructive directions on fiscal reform.

President Obama repeatedly called on Congress to approve his proposal for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for families that earn less than $250,000 a year. He said the extension would be for one year; otherwise this is the same basic policy he has advocated many times in the past.

The Bush tax cuts as well as a number of other fiscal policies are set to expire at the end of this year. Obama’s proposal would mean that taxes would be higher after this year on incomes above $250,000, an idea that continued to draw heavy Republican criticism on Capitol Hill. Democratic leaders in Congress said they were united behind the President’s plan.

On Wednesday the House called once again for repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act on a 244-185 vote that mostly followed party lines. Universally expected to die in the Senate, the measure came after more than 30 other House votes to repeal all or parts of the legislation.

With time running short for elected officials to make a number of critical policy decisions this year, The Concord Coalition has urged them to focus on plans that would spread the burden of deficit reduction throughout the budget and would have some chance of drawing the bipartisan support necessary for passage.