Tax deal getting close, Democrats worried Obama may cave
December 2nd, 2010
02:08 PM ET
7 years ago

Tax deal getting close, Democrats worried Obama may cave

Washington (CNN) – Multiple congressional Democratic sources tell CNN that a compromise to extend all Bush-era tax cuts temporarily is getting close, and that there is increasing concern among Democratic lawmakers that the White House will not fight hard enough to get Democratic priorities in return.

"The goose is cooked," said one senior Democratic source, "the question is what the larger deal is going to look like."

Many Democrats are unhappy at the prospect of giving up on their goal of permanently extending tax cuts only for those making $250,000 and less. Sources in both parties say a deal in the works would extend all expiring Bush era tax cuts for all income levels for two or three years.

In exchange, Democrats are hoping to squeeze out of Republicans a wish list of concessions. Democratic sources say that list generally includes: A lengthy extension of unemployment benefits, without having to find offsets to pay for them; extending college tuition tax credits set to expire at the end of the year; extending the so-called "make work pay" tax credits also expiring December 31st; and the HIRE act, tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed workers.

Democratic sources, who declined to talk on the record about private deliberations, say there is widespread Democratic concern that the White House will not push hard enough on those issues and, in the words of a senior Democratic source, "cave on our priorities."

"This is the first fight of 2012," said the Democratic source, who said many Democrats worry the White House will set an early tone that they're willing to give in too much to Republicans.

Another Democratic source said Democrats are simply facing reality.

"No one wants to leave here without extending the tax cuts, the question is what are we getting in return for doing that. I don't know how much of an appetite there is for a long and drawn out fight. The calendar is not our friend," said this Democratic source.

Democratic senators were meeting Thursday afternoon about this and other issues.

West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, emerging from the meeting, said he personally was concerned about the White House giving in too much, and heard similar sentiments from colleagues behind closed doors

"There is lot swirling around. There are a lot of concerns, a lot of economic concerns, and a lot of political realities," Rockefeller said. When pressed as to whether he was personally concerned he replied: "Yes."

Although the START arms control treaty is not officially part of any discussions, a Democratic source also says they are hoping an agreement on taxes will get a "wink, wink, nod, nod," from Republican Arizona Senator Jon Kyl on moving forward with treaty ratification.

In addition to substantive issues Kyl has with the treaty, he has been demanding ample time for debate.

Interestingly, so far these detailed discussions do not appear to have taken place in the formal bipartisan tax cut negotiations set up by President Obama and congressional leaders, according to sources familiar with the talks.

One Democratic source close to the talks called it a "side show," while others said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, and other leaders have been talking directly to each other, and to the White House.

Filed under: President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. annie s

    I voted for Barack Obama and generally am happy with what his Administration has accomplished. But if he caves on this one, I truly hope he will face a primary challenge from someone who actually has balls.

    December 2, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. fmaxwell5

    Does anybody know if a modification to the AMT is included in the proposed tax deal?

    December 2, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Please, Please do not cave in the GOP...if you cave in now, any all of the President's agenda will fall to the GOP's temper tamturms...I think it's very important to stand in what you believe and not cave in...Middle America and the wealthy agree that the tax extension should not be extended to the wealthy...the only ones who think it should is the GOP...if all of our taxes are raised, then we know to blame the GOP for not compromising on this...Mr. President/Dems DO NOT CAVE IN...we'll know who to blame in 2012...

    December 2, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. MAhole

    Please, PLEASE, PLEASE don't give in to the Republicans!!!!
    We THE PEOPLE have spoken loud and clear – DO NOT EXTEND THE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY!!!!
    Screw Bone-head and McTortise and all the rest of them – anti-American commie bastards!!!!
    Stand up and FIGHT for once – for ALL of us!!!!

    December 2, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. conyers

    Please, Please NO NOT CAVE IN!!!If the President cave in now, any and everything he tries to do in the future will be subjected the GOP's temper tatrums...Middle America and the wealthy know that the extentions should not be extended to the wealthy...only the GOP seems to think they do...If all our taxes rises because the GOP did not want to compromise on this, then we all know who to blame in 2012...Mr. Presdient/Dems PLEASE DO NOT CAVE IN!!! Here is where we must stand firm

    December 2, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. john, PA

    This midterm election was mandate to stop Obama and the Democrats in charge.

    Obama better learn to agree on a lot more of what the American people want:
    Cut taxes!
    Repeal Obama care!
    End ear marks!
    Close the border!

    Senate Democrats, when the vote to override Obama’s veto come up,
    or we will vote you and Obama out in 2012!

    December 2, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Stop the GOP now

    Obama should stand tough and not let the rethugs bully the people of America. Hell no to tax cuts for the rich!!!!

    December 2, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. JoeP

    34.6% paid to Congress in federal taxes is enough! That doesn't included all the other taxes people pay and insurance.
    There are so many other taxes no one person can list them.

    Giving Congress additional money is equivalent to giving extra allownace to a child who consistently loses or misspends the allowance received.

    Repeal Congressional benefits so Congress has the same as most of us Americans. Deny social security to non citizens and anchor babies. Stop giving American tax payer dollars to foreign countries for 6 months. Put in a flat tax and get rid of the IRS and all the tax loop holes this tax law has.

    If Congress didn't misuse the money collected for social security it would be solvent.

    December 2, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I have supported President Obama on a lot of things, BUT if he caves in on this he will have all but lost my total support. If I wanted a GOPer in office I would have voted for McCain/Palin.

    December 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Paqrat137

    Knew this was coming from the news early this morning. As a Democrat, I'd like to hide right now...really. The Republicans will not play ball on anything else of substance and once again a backboneless Senate Democratic party along with a idealistic intellectual who believes that playing fair is the best way, will allow 98% of Americans to lose.

    The President reminds me of the school geek and the Republicans like the school jocks. While geeks are usually right and well educated before they decide to do anything and eventually win in the long term (think Bill Gates), it is the jocks who rule the day. All of the geeky "correctness" and being "right" does not cut it and benefits...who? The jocks got it right, in school and now in the legislature: intimidate and win today's game, and to heck with tomorrow . If you are on the sidelines or in the stands, jocks don't care, they are the important ones, they are the stars and the only thing that matters is what they get. And those who aren;t either, well they sit in the stands and is easy to cheer a quarterback or a center or pitcher, what's there to cheer about for a quiet person who does nothing more than think before he acts?

    So sad, so sad

    December 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "No one wants to leave here without extending the tax cuts, the question is what are we getting in return for doing that.
    The list looks good as an exchange.
    Don't cave.

    December 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    I hope Obama does see the logic of not raising taxes right now on the people who create jobs in private industry. The fact that they need again to expand unemployment benefits should be their clue that this is really a problem.

    December 2, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    Democrats – show some backbone! The RepubliCAN'Ts are running around talking about what the American people want and they are speaking for the far-RIGHT/RIGHT American people and some Independents. However, voters were NOT voting for TAX CUTS!!! It was the economy/jobs STUPID!!! Please don't let them (RepubliCAN'Ts) overpower you!!!

    We must continue to Move America Forward with our current leader, President Barack Obama!!

    December 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Lyle

    Why give the GOP an inch? They have shown theirs colors as the enemy of the middle class, now hang it around their neck so the American people will wake up and realize that supporting the party of moneyed elitists is not in the interest of anyone who is not in the 2%. Its all about politics, let the public be damned.

    December 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Raul

    The rich get richer while the rest of us don't. Pretty simple, isn't it?

    December 2, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Former GO

    To all you GOP Kool aid drinkers, Coca Cola is considered a small business, Not any of you mom and pop shop owners. The tax cuts did not do their job HELLO! According to Bush the tax cuts would grow the job market. So let me ask all you know NOTHING people, “How did that work out” the tax cuts did NOT produce new jobs in fact we lost a record number of jobs. The so call job makers took the money laid you people off and ran. Since the fat cats are not making the jobs then they need to give up the perks!

    December 2, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    "No one wants to leave here without extending the tax cuts, the question is what are we getting in return for doing that. I don't know how much of an appetite there is for a long and drawn out fight. The calendar is not our friend," said this Democratic source.

    So the TRUTH comes out! It is the stinking lying DemocRATS that are holding the American people hostage for the continuation of their far left agenda. Stick to your guns Republicans! In a few weeks you'll be in control and Pelosi and her lleftists can take a hike.

    As usual the DemocRATS care nothing about doing what's right, but what is going to help them politically. Pathetic.

    December 2, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. sammieb51

    The GOP is holding every American hostage right now until they get their way - they have to get their tax cuts for the richest 1% of the population - so you know folks like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan can continue to cavort around in a new fancy car every year and buy a $60-70K Hermes handbag every year too. Glad we middle class working stiffs can give that to those girls at a cost of $700B (unfunded) .... but let's NOT extend unemployment for those lazy no good unemployed losers out there OK, that will cost us $34B - too much money for those losers. Give me a break.


    December 2, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Vic of New York

    Dear Mr. President: Democrats lost the mid-term election because Americans lost faith in your promises to fight for them against the rich and corporate interests. Cave in again ans we will continue to shift Right – until the Left get's fed up and begins IT's REVOLUTION!

    December 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Obama folds like the cheap suit that he is. How's the exhaust under the bus smell, libs?

    December 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I just don't understand why Democrats take such vindictive glee in punishing productive, hard-working, people. Is it because people who work hard make the Democratic base of welfare bums look bad in comparison?

    December 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. REG in AZ

    America has literally become a society where 95% pay in excess to provide 5% substantial wealth and the 5% pay to keep the 95% conned and manipulated. In the process the Republican Party, Tea or otherwise, has become ‘puppets’ for those few who strongly support them, who benefit and who ‘pull the strings’, while they give the majority only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge. All of this is clearly evident in their focused efforts to protect the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy (which proved to be of no value to the economy) and in their concentration on repealing Health Care reform and other changes (which then greatly benefits Special Interests).

    Here are some points of interest that have been pushed to the side: Bush-Cheney already proved that the ‘trickle down’ theory is a fraud; tax cuts for the very wealthy really only serve to solicit political support; before the Bush tax cuts the economy was more robust even providing government adequate revenue without requiring deficit spending; America’s health care system, while being the most costly, is not anywhere near the top in quality (even falling short of several countries with Socialized Medicine); it is also rampant with fraud; is bankrupting Medicare; is near prohibitive in cost for small companies, for many individuals and is a drastic burden for large companies; the costs are growing dynamically and are simply out of hand; as a result many are without insurance and dependent on emergency rooms for ‘free’ services; the majority will always pay for those ‘free’ services in increased costs for healthcare, for taxes and for insurance premiums; that neglecting to fine tune and adjust the reform and instead repealing the changes only satisfies Special Interests and facilitates the result of ‘no real change’.

    All of the deceptive rhetoric offered to justify, rationalize and disguise these negatives is done to manipulate public opinion while patronizing and placating Special Interests and the influential, powerful and very wealthy few. The Republican Party demonstrates an arrogant, stubborn and even cocky attitude as they have become irresponsibly fixated on their political ambitions at any cost to the people and just take the people for granted as they, with the overt and covert help of their backers, continually offer nothing but subterfuge.

    December 2, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Ancient Texan

    The tax cuts should be extended for everyone. I'm definitley in the lower end of middle income class, but penalizing hardworking people for being successful will not help the economy. The people that provide jobs are not the poor or homeless.

    December 2, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. j

    If he caves --- I`m thru with him. He needs to "grow a set", stick to his campaign promises and not back down. To the Republicans, compromise is not in their vocabulary. ------ Obama !!! LOCK DOWN. -They`re the ones who`ve "thrown down the gauntlet".

    December 2, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. MPeters

    Why are we extending these cuts? Anyone? We can't afford them. ANY OF THEM. Where is the frickin backbone?

    December 2, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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