Before I get to the story, here's a reminder on where things stand. And this figure is before the extension of the Bush tax cuts and everything else thrown into this irresponsible bill, so you'll need to add another trillion to the total.
A $20.6 trillion national debt by 2015.
The U.S. debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Acting with uncommon speed, Congress sent President Barack Obama sweeping, bipartisan legislation late Thursday night to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes for millions and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worst recession in 80 years.
The measure also will cut Social Security taxes for nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into the still-sluggish economy.
The 277-148 vote came the day after the Senate cleared the bill, 81-19.
Passage was backed by 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. Opposed were 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans, many of whom wanted to include spending cuts to offset the $56 billion cost of the unemployment benefits.
After struggling with rank and file discontent, the Democratic leadership splintered at the end. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California did not vote, while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland supported the measure. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, outgoing chairman of the Democratic campaign committee, opposed it after assuming a prominent role in pushing for the estate tax increase.
The bill provides a two-year extension of tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president, avoiding an increase at all income levels that would otherwise occur on New Year's Day.
It would also renew an expiring program of benefits for the long-term jobless, and enact a reduction in Social Security taxes for 2011 that would amount to $1,000 for an individual earning $50,000 a year. The bill's cost, $858 billion over two years, would be tacked on to the federal deficit, a sore spot with deficit hawks in both parties.
David Stockman on the national debt and tax cuts...
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Video - David Stockman on the Colbert Report - Dec. 2, 2010
Stockman says the deficit solution is to let the Bush tax cuts expire and cut the budget for the pentagon killing machine. Sound familiar..?..