Axelrod predicts passage of tax cuts legislation

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House adviser David Axelrod is predicting that President Barack Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans will pass Congress by year’s end.

A test vote in the Senate is set for Monday on legislation that would avert a Jan. 1 increase in income taxes for nearly all Americans. The package faces a tougher sell in the House, where Democrats have voted not to allow it to reach the floor without changes to scale back tax relief for the rich.

Axelrod tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that the administration will prevail in the House. He calls the deal ‘a tremendous win” for the middle class, but acknowledges it’s a compromise with items the White House doesn’t fully embrace.

He says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “understands the consequences of inaction” on the plan. And Axelrod says there’s urgency in passing it. He says “every one understands what it will mean to the economy if we don’t get this done.”

The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, says there’s a “good cross-section” of fellow Democratic senators who are ready to accept the deal. He also says House Democrats, who will become the minority party when the next Congress begins in January, should go along because they won’t be in a position to fight for a better deal in 2011.

House Democrats are talking about trying to scale back a provision that would allow estates as large as $5 million to escape taxation. “That was a bridge too far for many of our members,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said this past week.

But Axelrod said on ABC’s ‘This Week” that “I don’t see major changes” in the House to the package that the White House developed with Senate GOP leaders.

Under the estate tax provision, the first $5 million of a couple’s estate could pass to heirs without taxation, and an additional $5 million for the spouse. The balance would be subject to a 35 percent tax rate.

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