Thom's blog - Thursday December 9th, 2010

You need to know this. House Democrats are for the first time trying to implement majority rule within their own party. Congressmen Peter DeFazio – Jim McDermott – and Jay Inslee are circulating a letter in opposition to President Obama’s tax cut deal. They hope to convince 60 members of the House Democratic Caucus to sign on to it and force a vote within the caucus on whether or not the tax cut package should be brought to the House floor. As Congressman DeFazio says, “We want to have a record vote in the caucus on a resolution that says this resolution should not go to the floor without a majority of Democratic votes." Democrats have been in the majority in Congress for two years. Yet - the legislative proposals supported by the majority of the party - have repeatedly been torpedoed by the interests of a minority of Blue Dogs. Progressives are right to ensure that this vote – likely to be one of the last of a Democratically controlled Congress - reflects the majority will of the party. If they had used this strategy earlier – the 2010 midterms may have turned out differently.


frank750f's picture
frank750f 12 years 14 weeks ago

Hears the Deal by Vice Pres

Good morning,

Earlier this week, President Obama laid out a framework for a compromise with Congress that ensures that middle-class families don’t get a tax increase, extends unemployment benefits for folks who are looking for work, and gives our economy a shot in the arm.

Like anything in Washington these days, there are a lot of opinions about this flying around. But it's always important to start with the facts. To help you understand exactly what is in this framework Austan Goolsbee, one of the President's chief economic advisors, took some time to break it down:

There are some things in this agreement you'll like and some things in here you might not. There are things in here that the President and I don’t like – like the temporary extension of tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans and a more generous treatment of the estate tax than is warranted.

But what is at stake is the strength of our recovery and much needed relief for middle class families. The bottom line is that if Congress does not act to extend unemployment insurance, 2 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance this month alone. And if we don’t extend middle class tax cuts, millions of families will see a spike in their tax bill when they can least afford it.

With that in mind, President Obama reached across the aisle to ensure that middle class families get a fair shake. Here are a few important points:

  • No tax hike for middle class families. This proposal would prevent a tax increase of over $3,000 for the typical family.
  • Money in your pocket through a reduction in the payroll tax. About 155 million workers will see a 2 percent reduction in their payroll taxes and American families can take advantage of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
  • Extension of unemployment benefits. Folks who have been looking for work in these tough times won’t lose their lifeline. This is also good news for local economies because unemployment insurance dollars are among the most likely to be spent quickly.

That's the deal, folks, and it's a good one for America's middle class. Take a moment to watch Austan break it down, and I think you'll agree:

Vice President Joe Biden

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy 12 years 14 weeks ago

I'm so proud of DeFazio and to have helped re elect him!

Question: Can the president declare a state of emergency?

mblockhart's picture
mblockhart 12 years 14 weeks ago

The Republicans have indeed set a trap, but it’s the House Democrats, NOT the President, that may let us fall into it. If the changes they want kill the deal, as it sounds likely, I certainly would not support that because:
* Millions of people will be helped by the stimulus that’s in the deal with more stimulus than tax cuts for the rich. And we will see NO stimulus from the Republican controlled House for 2 years.
* Millions of people will be hurt if tax cuts for all are allowed to expire. President Obama and the Democrats ran on the basis of placing middle class tax cuts as the highest priority, regardless of what happens to the taxes of the rich.
* Millions of people will be saved on unemployment benefits, without the Republican House members being able to touch those benefits for a whole year. 13 months is the longest extension we’ve ever done on these benefits because it’s supposed to be pegged to the unemployment rate (above 7.4) an unknown a year from now.
* The highest priority is millions of real human beings and recovering the economy. The deficit can (in fact should) be dealt with later.
* As galling as it is for the few millionaires and billionaires to get these temporary tax cuts, I’m on the side of the many millions of people who will be hurt if we don’t get this deal done
* All the other important agenda items are being stopped until this is tackled – DADT repeal, DREAM, START, none of which will be able to moved once the Republicans take control of the House. That make this also an emergency for national security as well.
There’s no doubt that the Republicans have brought this on the American people, and I believe we can successfully hang this around their necks. As we go into deficit reduction, after the economy has recovered, tax hikes on the wealthy can and should be part of that. And raising taxes on the rich is a fine campaign issue to run on in 2012.
* We don’t have time to go around the country mobilizing people. The people are already with us anyway – the problem is that it is the House and Senate that have to act.

I hope that now the House Democrats have expressed their anger – which I agree with fully – they will settle down to doing the right thing for the majority of American people. Otherwise, the House Democrats will go out of office leaving us with an economic disaster to deal with. And as the economy further collapses in the next year, we won’t even be able to get Democrats back in control in 2012. The Republicans have indeed set a trap, but it’s the House Democrats, not the President, that may let us fall into it.

roscoe123's picture
roscoe123 12 years 14 weeks ago

I find it odd that when the media or politicians speak about the unemployed it seems to have the under tone that they (the unemployed) are only democrats. I must live in a box because I have yet to hear a word from an unemployed republican that they think it will be ok to loose their benefits and that the wealthy folks of their party (republicans) are entitled to receive a tax break with no way to pay for it. Yet that same party screams that everything must be paid for. OMG my head hurts. 13 months vs 2 years and no screams

polycif1's picture
polycif1 12 years 14 weeks ago

didn't president obama n speaker pelosi want to have this debate and vote before the elections? now people's lives/livelihoods/basic needs are in the balance.

Susan.B 12 years 14 weeks ago

Prez Obama and Speaker Pelosi DID want to have this debate prior to the election and a number of dems DID NOT WANT TO VOTE ON IT THEN. And they were NOT just conservative dems. Two dems who pleaded with Harry Reid NOT to bring this up before the election were Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray.

Susan.B 12 years 14 weeks ago

I support Obama on this. He spent months campaigning all over the country for dems. He was horse from making speeches and going to rallys. Yet the democratic voters decided it wasn't that important to get out and vote. We lost the repubs won. Then to add insult to injury the senate couldn't even pass the middle class only taxcut after the election!! Now this is the best we can get. Not only is letting unemployment beneftis expire in this economy cruel it would be horrible on the economy. Look this economy needs more stimulus and ending unemployment benefits and raising taxes on the working and middle class could very well take it down again. I think the rebelling house dems are irresponsible, immature and self-centered.

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 14 weeks ago

It was so generous of Nancy to throw herself under the bus.

readsome5's picture
readsome5 12 years 14 weeks ago

I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that these tax extension negotiations are being done behind closed doors. These issues are so important to basic American principles of Democracy and fairness that they should be debated in the open on the House and Senate floors. Congress men and women should be held accountable for their votes and beliefs. Who will vote to deny desperate people who have lost jobs through no fault of theirs, and who are unable to feed their families or pay their bills, the meager lifeline of unemployment compensation. This is not a handout to deadbeats like Republicans would like voters to believe; it's insurance paid for by the worker in lieu of wages. And who will vote to reduce seniors or disabled workers Social Security and Medicare benifits that is paid for through payroll deductions and employer contributions paid in lieu of wages. These retirement benefits are earned through almost 15% of earnings paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. If these wealthy Republicans put 15% of their earnings into a private retirement fund for their entire working life, they would certainly expect to retire at full pay when they reached 55-years old. But they expect middle-class wage earners to wait till they're 68 or 70 years old to get barely enough to survive. Republicans are trying to put America in such deep debt that the government will have no alternative but to cut Social Security, Medicare and other critical social programs.

And who will vote to extend tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it and in many cases have said they don't want or deserve it. What true conservative will vote to increase our already exploding deficit and pay interest on that debt to China and other countries in order to pay for those tax cuts. What true conservative will vote to deny investment in our infrastructure and pay China interest so they can invest in green technology, high-speed rail and build skyscrapers. Who will vote to hold the middle class hostgage so that wealthy taxpayers can become even richer than they have over the last 10 or 15 years. These so-called conservatives should be held up to the voting public for what they are; greedy, uncaring and unpatriotic spendthrift handmaidens of the rich and powerful. And President Obama should make sure through weekly press conferences, that the true republican conservatives and independants who abandoned him and the Democrats in the midterms clearly understand who voted for and against these programs and why. Meaningful change has seldom come from our elected officials without the protests and full force of the American public. As the President has told us many times, he can't effect the change he promised and that America's middle class desperately needs without our help. All Americans have to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions. We have to force the President to stand by his promises and principles. Let all the tax cuts expire. Force Congress to vote on each issue seperately and let those standing in the way pay the consequences. If the Republicans vote against extending unemployment compensation again, the President should declare an economic emergency and do it through a Presidential decree. These Republicans are clearly setting a trap for the Dems. They will soon blame the President for the almost 1 trillion in additional debt. And when the unemployment rate is still almost 10% in 2012, the Republicans will take over the Senate and probably the White House. The time to make a stand is now, not 2 years from now. President Obama must at least place the blame where it belongs.

tristaki 12 years 14 weeks ago

Do you realize that we will have to fight this again right before the 2012 election? I say stand and fight it now. The whole House is up for re-election in 2012. We will see the same garbage that we just saw in the past election blaming the huge deficit that are funding China on the Democrats. It will be known as Obama's Tax Cuts to the Rich. Can you imagine what the government can do with 800 billion dollars. They could start something like the CCC or WPA to put people back to work besides pay down the debt.

De Fazio stated that Obama can freeze the tax base if he wants. We have not been asked to make any sacrifice for these wars. It will only return to the Clinton tax rate. I'm very proud of our Democrats that they finally got a backbone.

It seems like the states with the highest unemployment rate voted Republican in 2010. So apparently they believe in the Republican philosophy. Let them experience the Republican philosopy. I just heard on the news this morning that the Republican-elect governors in Ohio and Wisconsin rejected the Stimulus money for their states to build a high speed rail system in Ohio form Cinncinati, Colombus, and Cleveland, also in Wisconsin from Madison to Milwaukee. What a stupid thing to do with the unemployment rate in their states. I guess the money is going to California and Florida now for high speed rail.

The Republicans voted yesterday in the Senate not to support the 9-11 rescuers in health care who are very sick now, because it is too expensive, but they want the tax cuts to the rich. This is heartless. The tax cuts to the rich cost more than any of the stimulus programs that the Democrats approved in this past congress.

stonesphere's picture
stonesphere 12 years 14 weeks ago

Go Defazio. Swallow the horse pill and expose the greed. If that's the way they want it at least we all suffer together rather than reward greed outright.

rocketgirl's picture
rocketgirl 12 years 14 weeks ago

Fighting everyone on this tax bill and unemployment extension is a noble thought, BUT IT IS TOO LATE!! Where has all this outrage been for the last TWO YEARS at all the tea party histrionics and stupidity. Did every single one of these angry Dems vote in the midterms? Have they been calling and emailing their senators and representatives offices regarding all the other obstructive measures the Republicans have been perpetrating ever since Obama was elected? If so, you have a right to complain, but the level of anger at Obama at this late date I find specious.

As of the middle of this month, a very close friend of mine will receive her very last unemployment check for $400. She is packing to move everything into storage. She has been looking for work for the last 8 months with no success. She is not lazy, she is not a loser, She is highly educated and experienced in her field, and she does not live beyond her means when she is making a modest income. She and her cat will essentially be homeless, and she is only one of thousands facing this very same reality. Most have families and children. Holding up this bill now will ensure extreme personal hardship for those thousands before the month is out. I will most likely be on unemployment by the end of February myself.

Go ahead, yell all you want, but as distasteful as this thing is, something needs to be done, and soon, and not for the three or so months the Republicans would have agreed to if Obama had fought this.

lloydvon's picture
lloydvon 12 years 14 weeks ago

I'm no expert by any means on the economy. What I do understand is pure and simple economics. You can't keep spending more than you are bringing in. Now if you had someone else paying the bills for you than I guess it wouldn't matter. I would imagine that the person(s) paying the bills would soon get tired of it all and refuse to accept this irresponsibility any longer. I believe that this is what is happening around the globe at this moment. How much irresponsibility can be taken without a revolt? Where does this madness stop? People have been screaming for years for others to listen but to no avail. Now when people are losing their jobs, homes, families and all the rights that we used to have, it seems to be waking a few people up. Too bad that it takes disaster for some to listen and learn. That's life as we know it but a tragedy when others are involved in the poor decision making of others. We have to face the inevitable regardless of the politics before too long. This bill has to be paid by someone and I believe that the people that have taken all this money need to be held accountable. We have been victimized by liars, murderers and thieves and frankly, I'm sick of it. You should be to. Now I'm still not sure what Obama and his administration have in mind to fix this mess, but I'm willing to listen and see if there is an opportunity to fix it. It cannot be done without the rest of the worlds powers and it cannot be done with corporations continuing to getting richer off of the people that have nothing left to give. We need jobs (with benefits) and we need them now. Corporations and politicians need to be held accountable and they need to be held accountable now. Otherwise, there is no use in prolonging the inevitable. A big hard crash.

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