Johanns weighs tax deal and deficit


December 9th, 2010

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Lincoln, NE – Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns said he’s leaning toward supporting the tax deal between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, but wants to see the details.

In his weekly conference call with reporters, Johanns, a Republican, repeated his party’s insistence that this is not the time to increase taxes on anyone, including the highest income Americans. At the same time, he reiterated his concern about the deficit. The proposed deal would extend the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits, cut payroll taxes and continue or expand other tax breaks, at a cost some have estimated at $900 billion over two years. Johanns said he wants to look at the details before committing himself.

“We’ll look at it,” he said. “I’ll make a decision about supporting it although I’m definitely leaning supportive. But then I think in the end, I think what we’ve got to do with (the) deficit, we’ve got to come back in January, we have a new Congress and we have to go after the deficit.”

Johanns said he likes some of the ideas suggested by President Obama’s deficit and debt reduction commission, but others concern him. He said he generally prefers the proposed spending cuts to tax increases. But when asked whether he likes specific proposed spending reductions, such as raising the Social Security retirement age, he declined to answer, saying the Senate’s not ready to deal with the proposals yet.


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