House Democrats voted in a private meeting this morning to reject the tax cut plan President Obama negotiated with the GOP.
By voice vote, Democrats agreed to a non-binding resolution, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), not to bring up the Obama plan in its current form.
The vote itself does not scuttle the deal, which most Dems predict will pass with overwhelming support from House Republicans, and a small but significant amount of support from Dems.
In a way, I feel for the Democrats in the House. They're the chamber that tends to move first and furthest in support of the President's progressive agenda, while the Senate takes its sweet time watering it down and blocking it with various parliamentary tactics. (Watching the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal dance of death has certainly set my teeth on edge.) The House is where the Democrats got the tar beaten out of them in the last election. I can understand their being pissed off when they feel that the POTUS has sold their agenda down the river.
That being said, I don't really understand why this particular bit of political horse trading has them so upset. Is increasing (or, if you prefer, non-decreasing) the taxes on the wealthy so very important? Sure, America can't afford to let the Bush tax rates on the wealthy continue. But America can't really afford to let any of the Bush tax cuts continue for anyone. (Economists with a contrary view are welcome to correct my thinking in the comments.)
Obama, like all politicians, has to make deals in order to get what he wants done. He's not a wizard. Reality (in the form of Mitch McConnell) sometimes intrudes upon his hopes and dreams for the country.
For the final word, over to you, Jonathan Bernstein:
The truth is that there are a lot of people who just don't accept that the President of the United States can want something, fight for it, fight effectively and correctly, and still not get it. If it doesn't happen, it must have been -- in Obama's words -- a "betrayal." Those people are wrong.Just so. And I fail to see how throwing a huge hissy fit accomplishes anything.