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. MiMI

    I'd rather wait until January when the Repubs take the House and then the Tax cuts can be extended for the next 10 years or so; thus business will start hiring agian..., etc. I must say I will miss the 2% decrease in social security payroll tax, BUT the 13 month extension of unemployment will not be granted unless it can be paid for. I'm happy that the Dems xnayed the proposal. However, I do beleive there is a method to the madness.... Now the Pres appears to be for the PEOPLE but those darn Dems won't let him help....It's all about re-election folks. They could care less about the American people.

    December 9, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Dale

    We need to reform and simplify the tax code, get rid of write offs and loop holes.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Jeanie Whitelaw

    Seems to me that these members of Congress that voted against this bill think too highly of their own opinion than those of economic scholars throughout the country. It's a shame they claim to represent the people. Just exactly what people are they representing? Themselves? Perhaps they need an ego reduction.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. RobAa

    The president just can't win. He's stuck between stubborn Republicans who push for tax cuts in order to appease their gullible constituents, and stubborn Democrats who push for reform and progressive policy in order to appease their gullible constituents. The Republicans attack him preemptively, have done since he was elected, because they don't want any chance of him getting any credit for economic recovery. The Democrats frequently refuse to support him, have done several times since he was elected, because apparently he's not radical or liberal enough to appease the fringe element in their voter base that pushes for drastic, irresponsible change.

    We're all in an out-of-control bus, and our driver is beset on both sides by people trying to yank the wheel to the left or the right. No matter which direction we swerve, we're going to hit something and cause a lot of damage...unless they can be persuaded to leave him alone and LET HIM DRIVE!!!

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Matt

    Finally someone on the hill grows a spine. Thank you. . . finally.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. MikeT

    House Democrats will fight to the very end to crush the US economy and grow government. This is just one last gasp for the Pelosi-led infants before they go into well-deserved oblivion.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Our government just does not work anymore. No one works for the people, only for big corporations, the pentagon, and the rich....

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |

    What's wrong with Obama?
    Pass executive orders to stop tax break for rich folks!
    Extend unemployment benefits for few months and expect volunteer work!

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Michael L

    Nice work, Democrats: stay classy, as always.
    When January comes, the Republican leadership will get the credit for preventing the tax RAISE (let's not call this a tax cut, as it isn't), and both the president and Democratic congress will look like the maneuvering, business-hating amateurs that they increasingly seem to be. The most liberal elements of the Democratic party have chosen to take their bat & ball and go home rather than play by rules that clash with their collectivist mentality.
    The first electoral meteor wiped out 63 dinosaurs in the House and 6 in the Senate. The next one in 23 months will erase another wave of socialists. Look for it.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Dave

    This bill was about compromise and I think both sides gave up something to see the bill through to its current state. Congress should pass the bill and get on with the next order of business. Nobody wants to see taxes go up given the current weakness of the economy. Government is still drunk on spending so reigning that in will have to happen but for now just get it done and move on.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. JoeJoe9

    Great News! That deal was in no way bipartisan. It was a capitalistic republican greed based proposal that rewards the rich. That is why we need the balance of socialism from the Dems on the left, in order to counterbalance & regulate the corruption, greed and selfishness from the extreme capitalistic GOP, and protect the majority of american citizens.

    I applaud the Dems. for this...finally they make a united stand and say No for once.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Moby Detroit, MI

    This is hilarious! The politicians once again prove they are totally dysfunctional. ....lmao

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. BILL, WI

    So much for bipartisanship, co-operation and compromise. Democrats are acting like the new Party of No.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. charles s

    Not unexpected. President should have included House and Senate Democrats in the negotiations with the Republicans. The American people have guaranteed gridlock by shifting the power to the Republicans, so this is no surprise. Maybe a better deal will now be made.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Timothy Russell

    Dana, Deirdre – you had me all excited! Then I went to MSNBC to learn this was a non-binding caucus vote. News is details, not headlines.

    December 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    So much posturing, so little time ... Just to be clear: I left the Republican Party after Bush put these tax breaks into play ten years ago. It was a mistake then, it is a mistake now. Unfortunately, Obama does not have the necessary 60 votes needed to eliminate the upper 2% tax breaks. Need I remind everyone that come the new year, the Democrats will have LESS ... not more ... bargaining power. I doubt the Republicans will be any more sympathetic to the middle class than they are now. GOPers have been very vocal in their opinions regarding the unemployed and middle class this past election year, and I, for one, am taking them at their word. Either get the necessary 60 Senate votes needed and vote against this 2% compromise, or accept it and get it done before the 31st. Democrats missed a very big opportunity of proving just how corrupt the GOPers are. By immediately turning the conversation once again into an uproar against Obama, GOPers took focus OFF themselves, and as has become the norm for two years now, Democrats fell for it.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Pitiful

    I think it is pitiful that people voted Nancy Pelosi and "House Democrats" back into office. I think it should be criminal for them not to bring a vote up on an issue so important as to taxes. It is m belief that the gov't needs to be made to work with a budget, year to year. They should not be able to raise my taxes, essentially giving themselves a pay raise, because they need more money. I need more money too, but I cannot tell my employer what they have to pay me, so I can spend more. The same should be for the government. I think everyone should pay a certain percentage of their income in 1 tax to the government and that is it. Not a tax on everything they get. I think that every America who has a job, pays 5-10% in income tax (a set amount, not to exceed 10%), and that be the only tax and the gov't learn to budget within that. It is a lot of money still. I think that all taxes on inheritances should be erased. That is someones gift from a relative and taxes have already been paid on it when the relative earned the money. I especially do not think the govt is entitled to 55% (Thats over HALF folks) of someones inheritance or earnings.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Chris

    Can these pathetic, overpaid, unrealistic nitwits just get along and do something constructive? All this does is open the door for a rebellion of the people. Civil War2, anyone?

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. John

    No way No how should the people that caused this recession get rewarded with a tax break. Ponzi schemers, frauduent loan underwritter and wall street needs a break. Get real republicans. Get your priorities straight. So called deficit hawk may be able to fool tea trailer republicans, but not me.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. joel

    You would think by now Democrats might have gotten the message namely that Americans are sick and tired of the damage their party is doing toward the economy. It appears that no positive action will be taken until 2011 when Republicans take control of the House negating the ignoramus who is temporarily speaker of the House. In some ways it's just as well. Unemployment benefits should not be continued indefinitely and Republicans should never have given in on this issue. Just a free ride for another year for those too lazy to look for work. And two years of promised tax freezes is insufficient time for businesses to motivated to expand and create more jobs.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. joshua

    Kind of nice to see the Democrats have a spine.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Angie Airy

    Wow, Obama is proven completely useless at this point. How can anyone take him seriously any more?

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Jim R

    Obama – best Republican President we've ever had.

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. kirkandhanh

    Headline should be: "Obama defies house Dems, put American people first"

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. bostonguy

    Democrats – the new party of NO!

    December 9, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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