House Democrats block GOP-Obama tax deal. Is it dead?
Many Democrats are angry with the GOP-Obama tax deal. They want to hold out for more GOP concessions. But the expectation is that the tax cuts will still pass, probably with some changes.
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The resolution is nonbinding, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nevertheless will not bring the tax-cut agreement to the floor as is. The exact nature of any changes remains unclear, but House Democrats have made clear that they do not like the planned extension of Bush-era tax cuts for top earners and a restoration of the estate tax that exempts most people.
In the end, analysts expect a tax-cut deal to go through, likely with some changes aimed at satisfying Democrats, but with the bulk of the votes needed for passage coming from Republicans. Senate Democrats, largely supportive of the plan, are prepared to move on legislation as early as this weekend.
Time is of the essence, as the clock winds down on the lame-duck session of Congress. Absent legislation, taxes on all income brackets will rise on Jan. 1, and unemployment benefits will expire for 2 million jobless Americans.
In remarks Thursday in a meeting with the President’s Export Council, President Obama urged Congress to move forward on “this essential priority.”
“The bipartisan framework that we’ve forged on taxes will not only protect working Americans from seeing a major tax increase on Jan. 1; it will provide businesses incentives to invest, grow, and hire,” Mr. Obama said. “And every economist that I’ve talked to or that I’ve read over the last couple of days acknowledges that this agreement would boost economic growth in the coming years and has the potential to create millions of jobs.”
The White House has mounted an unprecedented lobbying effort aimed at passing the compromise fast and intact.
Vice President Biden, a former senator, has been working his old colleagues on the Hill. The White House communications shop has blasted out dozens of e-mails touting the support of dozens of Democratic elected officials from around the country.