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Posted at 6:53 PM ET, 12/16/2010

House resumes debate on tax-cut bill after liberal uprising

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 7:52 p.m.

Hours after liberal Democrats unexpectedly forced the measure off the floor, the House on Thursday night resumed debate on the tax-cut deal negotiated between President Obama and congressional Republicans, setting the stage for a final vote within hours.

The House agreed to open debate on the measure, which the Senate overwhelmingly passedWednesday, by a 214 to 201 vote.

Earlier Thursday, many liberal Democrats had been planning to vote for an amendment offered by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) that would have made changes to the tax-cut package's estate tax provision, which liberals believed were overly generous to the wealthy.

But, according to several members, liberal Democrats revolted in a closed-door caucus meeting Thursday morning after it became clear that a vote in support of the Pomeroy amendment would also mean a vote to support the underlying bill.

Speaking with reporters after a House Democratic leadership meeting Thursday night, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) said that problem had been fixed under the debate rules approved by the House. Andrews also noted that the Pomeroy amendment would still be the only one considered, despite some Democrats' recommendations that other amendments be added.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) emphasized Democratic leaders' view that time is of the essence. "There's broad agreement that there needs to be a resolution sooner rather than later," Israel said.

Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who had appealed to Democratic leaders at Thursday night's meeting to consider a number of other additions to the Pomeroy amendment, said that they would agree to whatever the leadership decided.

"We just spoke with the speaker and the leadership team, and we basically made our case," Weiner said. "And it's going to be up to them what they decide to do, and we're going to support them whatever they decide."

After the original vote fell apart earlier Thursday, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) explained the reservations that some liberals had to the plan as it originally stood.

"Let's say you vote for the amendment and you concur with that exception; you're swallowing everything else," Grijalva said. "You're kind of in a trap. You have to vote 'no' on it, and then so you can preserve your ability to vote 'no' on the final passage. So that's where the dilemma has been."

Grijalva said that he didn't know why the rules for debate were originally written that way. "It's a very stressful vote for everybody in the caucus, and this just added a little additional drama because we felt that we were getting set up," he said.

Ultimately, the thinking among many liberal Democrats was that "if we're going to lose, let's lose with a strong message," Grijalva added.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 16, 2010; 6:53 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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The Washington Post must be getting its headlines written by the NY Post. They hae really taken a downturn. 36 Republicans joined 112 Democrats in voting against the Bush Tax Cut Package. What happened to integrity with this newspaper's staff.

Posted by: jakrdy | December 18, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The ruling elite from both parties get to keep the cash from the Bush Tax dodge flim flam, while the country falls further in debt, and the only stimulus value will come from the 6 million benefiting from the unemployment payments extension, as they WILL spend that money immediately, while the million/billionaires will (hopefully)invest their savings in some Ponzi scheme, or give it to charity as Zuckerberg has.

Posted by: flyfshr1cd | December 17, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

While the government is mired in Debt from Reagan and Bush, the remedy from the Republicans is "more of the same".

Conservative medicine: "The patient continues to get weaker, . . bleed him some more!"

Posted by: gkam | December 17, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Everybody knows the rich get over on taxes. Just ask Warren Buffett. And it's not just the mega-rich, it goes all the way down to mid 6 figures. Those Bush cuts shouldn't have been extended to those hi-earning people. Most don't even care about the increase because of the shape we're in with debt. If the Republicans want to hold 90% of the country hostage so the top 10% can get a tax cut, the Democrats should let them. Let taxes go up for everybody. Then maybe people will think twice about who they vote for.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | December 17, 2010 3:23 AM | Report abuse

I think it's cute to watch parasites demand illegal law that has our Founding Father's spinning in their graves.

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” —Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: ChipsShot | December 16, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the Pomeroy Amendment only for the estate tax????

the vote on that amendment will come right after this 3 hour long debate again..

long bumpy night.....

then, if it passes, back to the Senate...and I'm afraid if the Senate gets this back, everything stops.

i wish the unemployment extension was a completely separate bill...

i don't care about the rich, the deficit, or death tax...

i'm a true Adam Smith capitalist and only care about what is in it for me.

and that's the unemployment insurance extension.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 16, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

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