September 8th, 2010
05:59 PM ET
12 years ago

Key Democrats split with Obama on taxes

Washington (CNN) - Despite President Obama's accusation Wednesday that Republicans are holding middle class income tax cuts "hostage" by tying them to an extension of tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the reality is several Democratic senators also oppose allowing President Bush's tax cuts for higher earners to expire.

Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have each publicly expressed concern about the impact of raising taxes, even on the well-to-do, during an economic downturn.

"The general rule of thumb would be you don't want to do tax changes, tax increases...until the recovery is on more solid ground," Conrad said recently, summarizing their view.

Each has said the tax cuts should be extended at least temporarily.

Senate Democratic leaders know it will be virtually impossible to pass a controversial tax bill without the support of all their members but intend to press ahead with the debate later this month. They believe the political and fiscal arguments are on their side and that allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire is "the consensus position of the caucus," even if a few Democrats oppose doing so, according to a top Senate Democratic leadership aide.

"There is bipartisan consensus that we should not raise taxes," retorted a senior senate Republican leadership aide, seizing on the division in the Democratic ranks.

The GOP aide didn't rule out a compromise that involved passing a short-term extension, a proposal put forth by House Majority Leader John Boehner. "If the only way to pass a bill that didn't raise taxes would to pass a temporary extension, we'd be open to talking about it," said the aide.

But the Democratic aide doubted Republicans would seriously work to help Democrats pass a bill this close to the November election.

"I don't believe the Republicans are interested in compromise," the aide said.

Filed under: 2010 • issues • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Hypocrits

    I'll bet those clowns are the first ones to complain about the deficit too....

    The only way we'll get out of debt is a combination of spending reductions & revenue increases - there isn't enough money to do it only one way or the other.

    The idiotic bush giveaway-to-the-rich was always a ticking time bomb aimed straight at Dems. Have some backbone and resist!!

    September 8, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. support

    The wealthy dont need tax cuts especially corrupted CEOs that brought this country down.people making 500,000 should pay more then the poor.

    September 8, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. Kevin Collins

    Yep, while everyone continues to ignore the inconvenient fact that we have to borrow money from foreign banks like China's to pay for these deficit-contributing tax cuts! GOPers are innate hypocrites for calling for supposed fiscal responsibility while pushing for tax cuts that add to the deficit. No only there should be no tax cuts for the wealthy, but none for the middle class, as well. How come there are so many idiots out there who refuse to comprehend what pays for these tax cuts? Puerile and patheric, this.

    September 8, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. all the news that's fit too omit

    But, but, but ahhhh forget it, Obama is just a lying, clueless and gutless president (no cap ever deserved).

    Funny for the last 8 or so years we have heard THE LIE that the tax cuts were just for the wealthy when they were for uh, uh, uh everyone that actually pays taxes.

    Now all of a sudden these CUTS are expiring and the media are now REPORTING THE FACTS.

    We who listen to cable chatter on the wrong station and listen to talk radio already knew this, but you fools were busy swilling kool-aid.

    September 8, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Minnesotan

    These people aren't Democrats – they're Republicans in drag. Everybody knows that 2% of anything is a minority. Do these 2% create that many jobs that it will affect our economy? NO. Do they matter? Only to the Republicans and faux Democrats that they've bought off. This whole taxing the rich issue is simple economics, but the skanky right wing cretins make it sound like these 2% are the only people who create jobs. Giving a tax break to the middle class businesses who actually DO create jobs is the best policy going. PS: Taxes are still lower now than they were under conservative Uber-God, Reagan. So sit down and shut up.

    September 8, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. jim

    All isn't well in dems la la land.Obama might be the king but the pawns are starting to rebel.

    September 8, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Democrats, don't let the GOP "punk" you, they have nothing to offer.

    September 8, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. ronalde

    i thought that the article said that key democrats were apposed these idiots have been against obama from the start,it should read that these repugdems are against the tax cuts for the middle class.

    September 8, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. KatR

    If the USA has to borrow money from China in order to pad the wallets of millionaire Americans I think it's just common sense to let the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires expire. TARP monies have rescued Wall Street but the same seems to just be sitting on the money instead of investing in the growth of America. Why should the US government borrow money so that the millionaire CEOs of Wall Street can add the figures to their 6-7 figure accounts and then spend the money buying a sports car manufactured in France? Makes better sense for us working guys on the bottom to have some extra bucks for food, shelter, gas, etc....stuff that keeps our economy humming.

    September 8, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    It is not "raising taxes" it is letting go of one of the biggest mistakes in govenment ever made. I get that my taxes will go up when it expires but if the Bush giveaway to his rich friends will end too I say bring it on. Bring down the debt and bring some fairness back to the tax code. And fire any Democrat who says otherwise.

    September 8, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    The top 1% netted 9% of the GNP in the seventies; today they net 29%. The average CEO in America today earns $7.5 million a year, including benefits. For God's sake, these people need tax relief.

    September 8, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. ruty

    Any one who wants to keep the tax break for the wealthiest 2% is probably in that 2%. Shame on you. You want the middle class to pay for your "toys". Sounds like rich, old, white republicans to me.

    September 8, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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