‘Just say no,’ caucus chanted before vote
The House Democratic caucus on Thursday voted to rebuke President Barack Obama’s tax cut deal with Republicans in its current form.
The non-binding resolution suggests that Democrats are unwilling to accept certain provisions and demand changes to the package. But the Democratic leadership can still bring it up for consideration if Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — who has criticized the compromise — agrees to.
A House Democratic aide told Raw Story that moments before the vote, “the caucus was chanting, ‘Just say no!'”
The deal includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era middle class tax cuts, a decrease in the payroll tax, a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits, and other measures intended to stimulate growth.
Democrats are displeased with the high-end tax cut extension, as it defies a core progressive belief that such measures are counterproductive and do not stimulate the economy. Progressive activists have characterized it as capitulation, while Obama says he sympathizes with them but took the best deal he could get to help the middle class and the unemployed.
“The House was not consulted during the negotiations that produced this package, and our support cannot be taken for granted now or in the future,” Arizona Democrat Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement.
The White House reportedly told Democrats the deal was final and could not be adjusted, presumably assuming the caucus would accept it. It’s unclear what the next step would be, and whether the deal will change.
A poll by Survey USA, commissioned by MoveOn.org, found that a majority (57 percent) of Obama supporters would be less likely to back Democrats who embrace the compromise.
Republicans appear to be largely on board. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Tuesday the deal was “essentially final” and predicted that the “vast majority” of Republicans would support it.