Tax Debate Continues as Home Foreclosures Rise

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The debate over whether to extend tax cuts to all or some Americans continues in Washington, D.C., but Republicans are gaining more allies amid signs that the economy is sputtering.

They were the most sweeping tax cuts in 20 years and they are about to expire. Whether or not to extend the tax cuts implemented by former President George W. Bush to all Americans or just those earning less than $250,000 is keeping the heat turned up on Capitol Hill.

Republicans said the solution is simple. At a time when unemployment is high and salaries have been slashed, government shouldn't raise taxes on anyone.

"Letting people keep more of their own money is the best way to spur economic growth and create jobs in America," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

However, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders want to do away with the tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 dollars.

"I think it's very important we do everything we can to protect the middle class," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. "We're united as a Democratic caucus in cutting taxes for middle class Americans and small businesses."

Still, a growing number of Democrats are breaking ranks and calling for at least a temporary extension of the tax cuts for all taxpayers.

Thirty-one Democrats have signed a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking her to abandon the president's plan.

Republicans fear raising taxes on higher income Americans will stifle job growth.

"I know our friends on the other side always like to say, 'Well, it's only three percent of small businesses who will be impacted by these tax increases,'" said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "You should know that that's 750,000 American small businesses."

The debate comes amid more bad news for the housing market.

In August, mortgage lenders repossessed more homes than in any other month since the start of the mortgage crisis in 2007. To put it in perspective, foreclosures were up 25 percent over those in August of last year.

RealtyTrac estimates more than one million households will likely lose their homes to foreclosure this year. Also, home sales have fallen dramatically since homebuyer tax credits expired in April, making it harder for banks to sell foreclosed properties.

It's a reality that's making the debate over the tax cuts all the more difficult.

House and Senate leaders aren't saying what they will propose for a vote, if anything in this short legislative session -- before their members head back to the campaign trail.

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.