House Democrats defy Obama on tax cut bill
December 9th, 2010
11:32 AM ET
11 years ago

House Democrats defy Obama on tax cut bill

(CNN) - Defying President Obama, House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up the tax package that he negotiated with Republicans in its current form.

"This message today is very simple: That in the form that it was negotiated, it is not acceptable to the House Democratic caucus. It's as simple as that," said Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

"We will continue to try and work with the White House and our Republican colleagues to try and make sure we do something right for the economy and right for jobs, and a balanced package as we go forward," he said.

The vote comes a day after Vice President Biden made clear to House Democrats behind closed doors that the deal would unravel if any changes were made.

"Wow did the [White House] mishandle this," a senior House Democratic Source told CNN. "Breathtaking. Members have major substantive concerns and they should have gently guided people to the finish line."

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon said: "They said take it or leave it. We left it."

He added the caucus resolution is technically not binding, but believes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "will follow the wishes of her caucus."

The vote came less than an hour after Obama himself urged Congress to pass the compromise he struck with GOP leaders earlier this week and warned that failing to do it could cost jobs.

"There is an important debate on Capitol Hill that will determine in part whether our economy moves backward or forward," Obama said at an Export Council meeting. "The bipartisan framework we have forged on taxes will not only protect working Americans from seeing a major tax increase on January 1, it will provide businesses with incentives to invest, grow, and hire."

"Every economist I have talked to or 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," Obama continued. "The average American family will start 2011 knowing that there will be more money to pay the bills each month, more money to pay for tuition, more money to raise their children," he said. "But if this framework fails, the reverse is true. Americans will see it in smaller paychecks that will have the effect of fewer jobs."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

Filed under: House Democrats • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Fightin' Democrat

    Getting pretty tired of Obama's rhetoric on this one. There is no good compromise between what is right and what is wrong. Kudos to the House members who stood up against this false choice today.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Matt

    Thank god the DEMs decided to not steal from Grandma. Quit Frankly this is a job killing deal that does nothing more then accelorate the movement of Factories from America to China. The average american can give up a dollar a day to stop this.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Rene Hartl

    Democrats with guts? That's a shocker.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Ken in Maryland

    Wow, Democrats with a backbone! There's a new animal!! Welcome!!

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Dave

    I umdetstand the dislike of the high end tax breaks but with that being said we can't make the unemployed working people families and college students pay. I appluad the house democrats principals but its not ti.e to throw the baby out with the bath water

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. ScottV

    It smells like BO to me.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. R Wooldridge

    Glad these democrates are willing to gamble with my tax cuts expiring. Seriously, many people I know will be in deep trouble if their taxes increase. The presidents compromise may not have been what I would have liked to see, but I admire him for having realized that it is the average American that will be hurt if he calls the Republicans bluff and loses. If the tax cuts for the middle class expires on Jan. 1st, good luck in ever seeing them re-instated. I am an independent who had washed my hands of ever voting Republican again, now I am upset with the Democrates who would rather get their way than do what is right for the people.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Timothy Russell

    Good. Giving a two-year tax cut to the rich in return for 13 months of support for people who would otherwise starve is unconscionable. This wasn't a deal, it was an abject failure of morals in the face of a supposed 'threat' – a threat to do EXACTLY what the Republicans have been doing for two years: blocking EVERYTHING.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Martin

    With this, I think Obama has finally made himself completely irrelevant. Basically, the dems are now saying, "Barack, take these crayons and go play in the corner. The big boys and girls have work to do".

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. madmatt

    Seeing as barack has made it clear he wants to destroy all support for the poor and middle class this approach makes perfect sense...he gets you with a fake "taxcut" that covers for the gutting of social security, and screws over the middle class to fund unemployment. Once again America's richest escape unscathed and can take their money and start investing Korea tax free.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. E

    Hey let's ban Happy Meals and give carbon credits to people for digging in the dirt. Great Ideas! Nancy Pelosi sure knows what the people in middle America want! San Francisco is a microcosm for Americca. bah.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    That's what I'm talking about. Finally some folks are showing some guts in Washington.
    Don't pass any bill extending tax cuts to the wealthy. We have been operating this country in defidits ever since the Bush tax cuts. It's obvious to most level thinking folks that if it didn't work for ten years there is no reason to think it will worek now.
    I'd rather give back my paultry tax cut out of patriotic duty to help our economy. I can say that because I'm talking about maybe $1,200. Now the bush tax cuts for the wealthy is costing $43,000 per 1 million dollars of income. Some of these folks got a tax cut from Bush bigger than the total income for an American faminly in a lifetime. Think about that and then bitch about being fair.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. USA401

    This is further validating that the problems this country are facing are caused by Democrats and Republicans because they cannot see beyond their pathetic ideologies. We need more Independents in government.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Bill

    Damn! What the heck are these Dems in Congress doing? And don't flame me – I'm a liberal. But these guys, lead by that moron Pelosi, are getting on my last nerve.

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Jim

    Finally! At least some Democrats appear to grow some balls!

    December 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. KennyGdf

    The Democrat Congress again is bullying, just like they claim the GOP has been doing in the past (partly true). Who suffers: of course, the American Public, but also the Democrat Party. We certainly will remember this when we have to pay more taxes next year. Fine leadership in this administration and Congress...

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Dave

    You jerks! Do you even know what compromise is? Do any of you have a dictionary? Someone has to be the better man/woman here. Since the democratic house leadership (use that term very loosely) couldn't negotiate their way out a paper bag with both ends open and the wind blowing to show the direction they should go the President decided to do it himself. He decided to show leadership.

    My son in law has been out of work and his unemployment benefits have run out Dec 1st. My daughter and him have two small children and we were supporting them as best we could while they were on unemployment benefits. Our daughter has a job but she is one of the "underemployed" in this country (earning less for what she is doing). I do not want to hear about symbolic victories or any other stupid nonsense. Don't you realize that their are significant tax cuts for the middle class and poor in this tax cut package? Don't you realize that if this passes then Obama can say to the republicans that they now own (even though they did before) the deficit and have to work on it with him? Is the Democratic congress really that stupid?

    I swear, if I was Obama I would do a Palin. I would be so tired of this crap by now I would not be able to get up in the morning. The democrats know only one thing; don't talk to republicans. The republicans know only one thing; don't talk to democrats. This tax cut deal was the first time in two years that something bipartisan actually was done by the Obama administration and they get their hands slapped.

    I said it before and I will say it again. Everyone needs to grow up.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. brian

    This tax cut structure has been in place since Bush was in the WH. Where are all the jobs it's supposed to create? Why would extending something that hasn't worked so far, work this time around? Bills are passed to help Corporate America, not We The People. Maybe it's time for a revolt?

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Slugworth

    Looks like the Dems have finally grown a pair.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. johnRJ08

    Obama keeps referring to this deal as "bipartisan". It is NOT bipartisan. The Republicans in the Senate got exactly what they were demanding. They simply didn't care about any of things Obama wanted. If they had, they would have not made the deal. Besides that, several of the alleged concessions that Obama got from Republicans senate leaders weren't really concessions at all. The GOP obviously do not care about the deficit or that 13 more months of unemployment benefits will be unfunded. Their sole objective was to get more money for their wealthy contributors. This is all aimed at building a huge war chest to defeat Obama in 2012. Now, the President has given them even more ammunition to use against him. They will say that they agreed to the deal only because Obama couldn't come up with anything better. They will say that HE exploded the deficit by adding all the other tax cuts, which amount to 2 1/2 times the cost of the tax cut for the wealthy. Republicans definitely took middle class hostage in this so-called negotiation. Obama's mistake was that he caved to the hostage-taker's demands. He could've asked for an 'up or down' vote on unemployment benefits on Christmas Eve. If Mitch McConnell had blocked it he would have become a pariah, just like JImmy Bunning did. The President continues to choose to negotiate with a hostile minority party from a position of weakness, never using any of his authority or bully-pulpit as leverage.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. RolandTheGunslinger

    There probably was not enough pork in the bill to satisfy Democratic constituents / campaign contributors. Very sad commentary on Washington.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Cool Dude

    Wow! Obama said something smart for once.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. duhh

    What did we think was gonna happen. They would hold hands and dance in circles. The house doesnt care about the working people in this country. Neither party wants to work togather and this proves it

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. Dan

    So let me get this straight – they're willing to let unemployment benefits expire for millions of Americans AND let everyone's taxes go up when they could have brought these issues to a vote at any time but were too chickens**t to do it? And they think this is going to win them points with the voters? How far up their butts are their heads, anyway?

    It's time for a viable third party in this country – between the Repugs being co-opted by Tea Baggers and the Dems being absolutely clueless, we deserve better.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. jason

    Here we go........yet another glaring example of our government being by the people, but for themselves. I'm moving to Canada.

    December 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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