Tax deal getting close, Democrats worried Obama may cave
December 2nd, 2010
02:08 PM ET
11 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. jim

    WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children.

    Republicans say the nutrition bill is too costly and an example of government overreach.

    "It's not about making our children healthy and active," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. "We all want to see our children healthy and active. This is about spending and the role of government and the size of government – a debate about whether we're listening to our constituents or not."


    Republicans killed the bill that might have stopped jobs going overseas.

    Republicans killed the bill to extend unemployment benefits

    Republicans blocked the bill that might feed thousands of hungry children.

    But damn-it, we want add 700 Billion to the deficit so the rich and have a tax decrease, and if the rich can't have a tax break – no one will

    America SUCKS !!!!

    December 2, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. King

    This might spell obama's down fall. Almost 60 percent of dems didn't vote in the 2010 election because they were pissed at the dems for giving up the single payer health care package, then they were enrage when obama caved on the government option. Hey Obama these repugs don't give a crap about you, you can't keep caving on the only ones that want to see you succeed. This tax cut didn't do nothing positive for the past ten years, why you think three years is going to do any better.

    December 2, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. budla

    "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."


    The goal is to give All TAXPAYERS an extension on the first $250,000 of income. Income above that figure is excluded from the extension.

    December 2, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Democrat in NY

    The Democratic Party and President Obama MUST stick by their principles, tax cuts remain for the middle class, tax cuts EXPIRE for the rich. The Republicans have bullied their way into the majority and it is time to stand tough. Everyone complains about the Republicans...SO WHO VOTED THEM IN THIS PAST ELECTION???? PEOPLE, WISE UP...the Republicans do not "compromise" they threaten. HELLO?????? Can anyone say that Republicans are for the working man and not about padding their own interests? WISE UP AMERICA, all Democratic ideas are not perfect, but at least our President is working for the middle class...we have not seen that in many not be BULLIED. Educate yourself. No Republican EVER gives a direct answer on any question they are asked on credible television interviews, they dance around the question, and have those smirks on their faces of arrogance. WISE UP AMERICAN PUBLIC. The major issue today should be EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the millions of unemployed workers...not tax breaks for the RICH. People..this is serious...we need to help the unemployed...that is the HUMAN thing to do. Let the Republicans put their money were their mouth is...have them give up their tax breaks, put them in an pay for unemployment benefits.

    December 2, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Moontree

    Democrats – DO NOT CAVE – DO NOT treat all Americans equally. We should be inciting class warfare and jealousy. Hold true to your identity and continue to divide America!!!

    December 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. irene

    Don't cave!! Stand tough on this one. You will be respected more if you stick to your guns. This one is too important to compromise.

    December 2, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Ronnie Rayz

    Make the cutoff for tax break ONE MILLION DOLLARS income, the GOP will squak protecting their millionaire base, butthis group has done great & the concentration of wealth @ the TOP is the largest EVER....they need to pay a fair share, of tax, whatever they can't use their CPA's & Tax dodges to avoid, which they do marvelously....

    December 2, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Mason

    I would like to see what happens if Obama does want to banter about until New Year. That won't go over well – I can promise so go ahead and make my day.

    And extending unemployment going beyond 99 weeks is ridiculous. Time to cut the cord – get a job. Times are tough but two years to more than sufficient to get a job. I gave each of my kids 6 months of support after college and then they are one their own.

    December 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Joe in PA

    This is really bogus. There should be no deal on this. A majority of the American people have said that they do not want to extend these credits to the wealthiest Americans. They understand the impact on the deficit. The very issue our forked tongue republicans ran on in 2010 and every other year. Honestly, if Obama would just once stand up and say "This is what I want, this is what the American people want; and if you don't provide what we both want I will veto it, he would gain more cred with his base and independents than anything else he could possibly do. My suggesion Mr Obama, is ""for once stand up for what you believe in". I am a life long democrat and no fan of Reagan, but what i did like about Reagan is that he did something. Please show the American people that you can stand on your principle to deliver what is right for the hard working middle class and the long term reduction of our debt. If you stand with strength on the side of what is right you will not lose this battle.

    December 2, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |

    Get ready for your paycheck to be lower come January. As usual, congress will do nothing and taxes will go up for everyone.

    December 2, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Lisa P

    I would rather see all the tax cuts expire than see a "temporary" extension go through. These tax cuts have always been a bad idea, from the day they were proposed right up to the present-day mess. Let them die as they were intended to.

    December 2, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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