President Barack Obama reached agreement Monday with congressional Republicans to extend and deepen tax cuts temporarily - and extend unemployment insurance - in hopes of stirring the economy and creating jobs.
Obama pointedly refused to drag out the debate any longer over his quest to let taxes increase for wealthier Americans, bowing to the political reality that he couldn't get the Republicans to agree to extend middle-class tax cuts or jobless benefits unless he also agreed to extend tax breaks for everyone.
In the bargain, he risked rebellion from his own party. Congressional Democrats refused to jump onboard immediately, continuing to question tax cuts for wealthy Americans. They planned to discuss the tax deal at closed-door meetings on Tuesday, and still could kill the plan.
Obama acknowledged that many in his own party wanted him to fight rather than compromise. He said, however, that it's critical to settle the tax debate now to help the economy. He also stressed that it would last only two years, opening the way for an intense tax debate in 2012 - the year he and Congress face re-election.
"We have arrived at a framework for a bipartisan agreement. For the next two years, every American family will keep their tax cuts," he said Monday evening.