The House Democratic Caucus has voted to reject President Obama’s deal with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts, throwing the issue and Obama’s vacation into uncertainty.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not put the agreement on the floor until it is changed in some unspecified manner.
Speaking this afternoon to reporters, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested the deal could be reopened, but he signaled that the White House was not simply going to side with Pelosi, and so Democrats will have to find a way to get Republicans to agree.
“If there are ways to strengthen the framework that are agreeable to everybody, and strengthen the coalition, that’s good,” Gibbs said. Asked if Obama might change the provisions regarding the estate tax, which Democrats are railing against, Gibbs noted that Obama also doesn’t like the language either, but that Democrats will have to talk to Republican to ensure that if there are changes, GOP votes are not lost.
Gibbs predicted that the Democrats will ultimately move the measure.
“If everybody took out what they like, we would have nothing,” he said. “At the end of the day, Congress will give the Amerian people a vote on a plan that prevents their taxes from going up . . . members are not going to want to be in their district, senators are not going to want to be in their districts, when their constituents find that their taxes have gone up.”
Obama is scheduled to leave for his Hawaii vacation Dec. 18. But he may not go until the tax cut issue is resolved.
Republicans have the upper hand in this one.
First of all, Obama wants to go on vacation, bad. He hasn’t golfed in weeks.
OK, I’m joking about all the vacation stuff. Kinda.
Second, it will be clear to the country that Democrats are raising everyone’s taxes if the deal does not go through.Without a vote, taxes go up Jan. 1.
Republicans are now in a position to up the ante with more demands if they want, because if the measure doesn’t go to the floor this year, they’ll put it on the floor in January when they take over the House and have even more Republicans in the Senate. So they can presumably pass something even more GOP-friendly then they thought they could when the plan was to let Democrats move the bill in December.
Don’t worry, nobody’s taxes are really going up. They’ll just make things retroactive when they pass the bill. But it will probably be a mess, since the bureaucrats at Treasury need to know sooner rather than later what the tax rates will be.
All of this is good for Obama. He begins to look like an adult compared to the fractious, churlish Dems, who just weeks ago got their pink slip from voters.