The White House has declared victory on the fiscal cliff compromise passed by the Senate early Tuesday morning because it broke through the Republican resistance to raising taxes.
"At this make or break moment for the middle class, the President achieved a bipartisan solution that keeps income taxes low for the middle class and grows the economy," a White House fact sheet said. "For the first time in 20 years, Congress will have acted on a bipartisan basis to vote for significant new revenue.
The statement, entitled, "The Tax Agreement: A Victory for Middle-Class Families & the Economy," also brags about other elements of the deal including raising the capital gains tax to 20 percent and extending unemployment benefits and tax credits for renewable energy, Politico reports.
But progressive critics say the agreement contained far less new revenue than Obama had wanted. In his reelection campaign, Obama repeatedly said he wanted to raise taxes on those with income over $250,000 a year. The compromise, still awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives, starts the increases at $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. The deal is expected to generate $620 billion in new revenues over the next 10 years, which is almost $1 trillion less than Obama had initially wanted, the Los Angeles Times wrote.
"Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama's previous behavior, can't help but reach one main conclusion: Whenever the president says that there's an issue on which he absolutely, positively won't give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way and soon, too," wrote Paul Krugman, a progressive economist, in a column in yesterday's New York Times.