White House Pushes to Extend All Stimulus Tax Breaks

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by Wendell Goler and Kelly Chernenkoff

The White House has responded to the Republican push to continue tax breaks for those making more than $250,000 a year. In a background briefing with reporters, senior administration officials said that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew have told negotiators that the White House wants to extend all of the tax provisions of the Recovery Act temporarily, which amounts to close to $150 billion a year.

That equals about twice as much as extending the upper-income tax breaks permanently, which the GOP wants. The GOP is asking for a permanent extension for those breaks.

Senior administration officials say they want a one-year extension on unemployment benefits, but they refuse to put a timeframe on other tax provisions they'd like to extend. Those are subject to negotiations. They include: The Making Work Pay Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, The HIRE Act, and bonus depreciation.

Administration officials say extending the tax breaks in the Recovery Act will pump eight times more money into the economy than the GOP's push for upper-income tax breaks. These are the provisions that will have the largest impact on working families, they add.

"If you believe it's harmful that taxes go up in a recession...you certainly believe that's true for middle class households," said one official.