Guy Benson
The Daily Caller reports that the White House and Congressional Republicans have reached a tentative deal on extending all current Bush tax rates in exchange for the extension of unemployment benefits:

President Obama and congressional Republicans have reached a tentative deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for all income levels

and are presenting the proposal to congressional Democrats Monday afternoon, The Daily Caller has learned.

The deal will extend the current tax levels for two more years, preventing taxes from going up on any income levels, despite the wishes of many liberal Democrats — including Obama — that individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families with more than $250,000 a year in income see their rates go up.

In exchange, Republicans have agreed to extend unemployment insurance benefits

for an additional 13 months.

Other details include a temporary two percent reduction in payroll taxes to replace Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit from the 2009 stimulus bill, and a compromise on the estate tax, which will be set for two years at 35 percent, with a $5 million exemption amount.


The 56-week extension of unemployment benefits balloons the total period in which people are eligible to receive federal jobless benefits to 155 weeks.  That's roughly three years
The question many conservatives will be asking: Is it paid for?  This may be the deal on the table, but Congressional liberals insist it's not a done deal, as President Obama is facing a mounting insurrection from the Left:

The White House's apparent willingness to give in to the GOP on the tax cut issue - despite Democrats' large majorities in both houses of Congress (at least for a few more weeks) - is striking many on the left as emblematic of a president who they say has repeatedly failed to fight for what he believes in.

Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich this weekend explained "the baffling Obama presidency" in part by arguing that Mr. Obama "has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think." The president's attempts to seek out compromise instead of holding fast to a position, he wrote, has rendered him "indistinct" and "weightless."


The president is currently meeting with House Democrats, many of whom are disgruntled over the alleged deal. 

If the details of TDC's story are accurate, this strikes me as a pretty solid win for Republicans.  Let the Left-wing circular firing squad commence!



UPDATE
: President Obama will address a possible "imminent" deal just after 6:10pm ET.

UPDATE II:  The left is fuming over the "monstrous" plan.  At the other end of the spectrum, Michelle Bachmann is balking over tying tax cut extensions to unfunded federal spending.  Nothing in this alleged deal appears to paid for/offset by spending cuts elsewhere.  Conceding that point on CNN moments ago, Republican Senator John Barrasso still cautiously endorsed the (still unannounced) plan.  Michelle Malkin has branded the rumored agreement a "deal with the devil,"  chiding (ahem) Beltway politicos for characterizing the deal as a "win" -- as I did above.

UPDATE III:  It's now 6:23pm.  The president is late.

UPDATE IV:  President Obama says differences between the two parties are "real and profound."  Reiterates preference to extend tax cuts for the middle class only, and rips Republicans for intransigence.  Says he's unwilling to let ordinary Americans become "collateral damage" in a political battle.  Bottom line: He's taking potshots at the GOP while announcing his support for the bipartisan deal described above.  His jabs at Republicans are likely designed to mollify the Left, which is on the brink of open revolt (see the "circular firing squad" links).  "We have arrived at a framework....I believe this bipartisan compromise is the right thing to do...it's not perfect, but it's an essential step on the road to recovery."  It was a strikingly angry and partisan speech, especially considering that its aim was to endorse a bipartisan compromise.

The president ended his remarks at 6:40pm ET, and took no questions from reporters.  Now the question becomes: Do Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) have the votes?  In the next 24 hours, we'll likely witness the odd spectacle of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi fighting to convince their caucuses to back the same plan.

UPDATE V:  Supporters of this deal, beware.  CNN reports Vice President Biden will head to Capitol Hill tomorrow to rally Democratic support for the plan.  What could go wrong?  (Paul Begala is now attacking Obama's speech, and calling early liberal reviews of the deal "tough").  NBC's Savannah Guthrie tweets that House Democrats are still emphasizing "there is no deal yet."  On the Right, Hugh Hewitt is not a fan of the "so-called compromise."

UPDATE VI: Mitch McConnell reacts (favorably).  Also, in a relieving development, Sen Kyl is still throwing cold water on the prospects for new START being ratified during the lame duck session.  This partially allays one of my greatest concerns over the recent backroom dealings: That there may have been an unspoken quid pro quo regarding that dreadful treaty in the tax deal.  Kyl's comment to NRO suggests that there is not.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography