On Monday, President Barack Obama asked Congress to pass a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for households making less than $250,000 before they expire at the end of the year. The cuts, launched in two waves in 2001 and 2003, were extended in 2010 as part of an agreement between the White House and Congressional Republicans. The impending cuts—coupled with deep spending cuts set to kick in automatically—are causing uncertainty in financial markets, and could depress growth in a sluggish economy. Some Congressional Democrats would prefer letting the tax cuts lapse only on incomes over $1 million.
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