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Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 12/16/2010

House Democrats prolong their last stand

By Greg Sargent

By now you may have heard that House Democrats this afternoon threw an obstacle in the path of the Obama tax cut deal, which was set for a vote today. House Dem leaders postponed a preliminary procedural vote because they were not able to get Dem rank and file to agree to the terms of the final vote on the tax compromise.

The way to understand this, I think, is that it's basically House Dems prolonging their last stand in the majority.

What happened today, according to aides and multiple reports, is that House Dem rank and filers -- already angry about the tax deal -- were only being offered a chance to vote on one amendment, a change to the estate tax provision. Dems wanted a chance to vent more displeasure with the overall measure.

These objections aren't expected to do anything to alter the final outcome. Right now, aides say, House Dem leaders are consulting with Dem members to see what they will need to agree to a vote on the final measure -- more amendments, and so forth. The final vote is still scheduled for this afternoon.

It seems likely that if the House does vote on any amendments substantially altering the tax deal, they will be voted down by Republicans and moderate Dems. As Raul Grivala predicted yesterday, it seems likely House Dems will ultimately pass the tax deal anyway.

But getting past the procedural details, the larger picture here is that House Dems, heading into the minority, are being asked to swallow one last compromise they despise. And they aren't doing it quietly.

This mirrors the story of the last two years for House Dems. Again and again, they have staked out the outer frontier of what's been legislatively possible. Again and again, they suffered a rude shock when their achievements died or were watered down in the Senate or by the White House. Again and again, House Dems vowed to take a stand against the resulting compromises. Again and again, they swallowed hard, scaled down their ambitions, and agreed to support them, on the theory that the alternative -- doing nothing -- was far worse for the party, for the president, and for the American people.

That's happening one last time. Just after the election, House Dems managed to pass an extension of just the middle class tax cuts. But that failed in the Senate, and the White House reached a deal extending all the cuts that is thoroughly unacceptable to House Democrats.

And yet, as much as they despise the tax deal, and as much noise as they are making in opposition to it, they are very likely to end up passing it in roughly its current form.

By Greg Sargent  | December 16, 2010; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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Comments

Obama is a disgrace. But just don't forget to blame the left when he loses.

The people will be led. They will create leaders if their leaders won't lead, a very dangerous time.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

You're right about the dems over and over again staking those positions only to get watered down. The problem? You'd figure they'd learn the first time.

We all know the problem is the Senate, the Senate has got LOADS of issues. Senators know this and thus their legislation is usually made to pass the Senate. House members should have realized this. A simple majority is needed in the House, you need 60 in the Senate.

That's the equivalent of getting 261 votes in the House. That's not likely in ANY circumstance.

So while the Senate is to blame for a lot of this predicament, the House can't keep hitting their heads against the wall and expect different results.

Posted by: calchala | December 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

So we have to stretch out the House Kabuki dance a little while longer, while the clock ticks down in the Senate.

I'm reminded of MacBeth. It seems the House Democrats last stand is "full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

Posted by: jnc4p | December 16, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

So, I guess DeMint is going to force the Senate to read through the spending bill.

sbj, rally Republicans to stand up to DeMint!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I didn't understand Obama's bold leadership plan is focused elsewhere...

"TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Obama administration says it will step up efforts to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes, even though closing Chicago-area shipping locks is off the table." AP

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Can the America People have another chance to vent their ANGER at the democrats and the liberals ?


This is a complete joke

Democrats: You lost the election, time to go home.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 16, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

shrink the malcontent. nothing that anyone does is ever good enough. trying to avoid introducing a creature that will destroy an entire huge ecosystem is not an unimportant thing.

the repulicans however, are indeed a disgrace for pushing dems into this corner by using every underhanded trick in the book. but then nothing is too low for their purposes -- to bleed every cent from the middle class so they can hand it over to the wealthy.

they can't drive us to hell fast enough.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 16, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"sbj, rally Republicans to stand up to DeMint!"

Precisely! Especially since DeMint in on the record of using reading of the bill as a tactic to run out the clock.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Again and again, [House Dems] have staked out the outer frontier of what's been legislatively possible. Again and again, they suffered a rude shock when their achievements died or were watered down in the Senate."

Thank God for the filibuster!

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"shrink the malcontent..." Please don't bother, I already know the failure of the Obama administration, the fact that the Democrats squandered one of the greatest outpourings of political unanimity in American history in two short years...this could all be my fault. It turns out the permanent war in Afghanistan, Bush/Cheney foreign policy in general (how are those Israeli "settlers" enjoying their new homes?), "free" trade, supply side economic policy, the health care industry windfall act, all of it was good enough. The country is doing fine, the left is the problem. Or the country isn't doing fine and the left is the problem, who cares? The Democrats had their President and their Congress; they fumbled the opportunity, they won't get a second chance.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@Mike: "So, I guess DeMint is going to force the Senate to read through the spending bill. sbj, rally Republicans to stand up to DeMint!"

On the contrary, please rally Democrats to drop the shameful omnibus and pass McConnell's CR!

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Passage of this bill should greatly hearten Obama's enemies on the far right; it means that Obama will be a one-term president with a solid block of liberals, moderates, and conservative voters ready to dump him because of this bill.

Apparently, America is not quite ready to elect a president who can represent middle class Americans rather than the elite and fabulously rich.

Too bad Obama now only represents the hideous denizens of Wall Street. He seemed a lot different during the 2008 election, but that's the way a Democracy goes down.

Posted by: JC505 | December 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

lol sbj.

You are the spin master, that's for certain.


So does anyone know, if the Govn't shuts down, does that invoke some rule that nothing new can be worked on or what?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

It takes a Socialist, Muslim Kenyan, European Style, President to push through lavish estate tax reductions for the Super Wealthy.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@mike: Why do you support the omnibus as opposed to a CR?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey SBJ. Give it back.

From TPM

"Anti-gay rights groups are accusing the gay rights movement of stealing the rainbow from them. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse: "We can't simply let that go by. Families put rainbows in their children's nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows...Noah's Ark and all the animals.... Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols.""

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps they will prolong it to January of next year!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

sbj, the House must initiate the spending bills I thought no? How does what McConnell presented do anything?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Liam, you are reducing my productivity on the job by making me laugh. Remember, productivity is America's #1 priority. If we can't do more for less than youthinasia, well, we are expendable.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Check out this weird anonymous video they released.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLcUVNee_UI

Odd bunch of peeps.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The White House is calling Rep. Peter Fazio (D-OR) a liar, insisting that Obama never said anything remotely close to "this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this tax deal."

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 16, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@liam: Long before we stole the rainbow we stole the word "gay".

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Isn't "remotely close" an oxymoron? Not to be confused with Rush Limbaugh, who is an Oxycontin Moron.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think the DADT repeal could take what, five minutes tops? Everyone knows the issue. There's nothing to debate.

Maybe they'll get it done today or tomorrow if everyone is in town.

Everyone should call their Senators and press them to press Reid. Our local ObamaforAmerica groups have been phone banking our Senators and encouraging others to call.

Call their lines. Let your voices be heard.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Greg doesn't know what he's talking about. Liberals want to vote for estate tax change and also vote no on the bill and the rule as written wouldn't have let them do that. That's the crux of the problem.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | December 16, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I ♥ Peter DeFazio, but I have to believe he is lying. This because everyone knows the Obama Presidency is already over. After all, the Republicans won more seats than the Democrats did last month; when that happens, well the majority and the White House are finished, they just have to change sides. Tax deal? Obama can't capitulate fast enough.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Where are the hard choices in this bill? Wait it out until the next congress. Either this endless 'stimulus' and/or the tax cuts for the wealthy has to go.

Posted by: shhhhh | December 16, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@liam: Long before we stole the rainbow we stole the word "gay".

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:52 PM

....................

I will let you keep that, and hope you have a gay old time always. However, you must give back the rainbow, because despite what that right wing nut job claims, my ancient celtic culture used the rainbow symbol, long before those right wing Christians were around, and since they are all greedy right wing bastards, I know full well that they just want to control the rainbows, so that they can steal me pots of gold.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@mike: Here's the text of McConnell's joint resolution.

http://mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=55991224-ed33-4d53-9525-dcd23fb42636

It refers to both the House and Senate and it's one page. It merely continues the continuing resolution already in place. I think the House simply passes the same measure on a quick voice vote.

Do that and we could move on to repealing DADT.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, I am simply quoting White House spokesperson Amy Brundage: "He [President Obama] hasn't said anything remotely close to that, and he's never talked with DeFazio about the issue."

Rep. DeFazio will be back on CNN's "Parker Spitzer" tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 16, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that would leave out shifts in spending priorities for laws passed recently this past year that need to be funded this coming year.

This Congress needs to pass a new budget. Maybe Republicans should have thought about this back-up of legislation instead of stalling stalling stalling.

Now they just look like d#$ks.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 16, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Why not engage in civil disobediance. Gay people should organize, and enlist in very large numbers.

Then, after they have all gone through boot camp, and are deployed; all openly declare their sexual orientation, at the exact same time. That would put an end to all this DADT rubbish that is now being selectively enforced.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

cloture on the debate----just do it.....
and bring it to the floor, as is.
no amendments, no change for Senate to say NO.

time is wasting away.....

I heard the House will be working into the evening hours on this.
So when they change their floor debate, like they did an hour ago (to TARP and omnibus)
then take a recess......
time is wasted...for naught.
It is their last stand. And they are stalling.

CLOTURE AND CALL THE VOTE !!!!

who cares if Paris Hilton gets a higher estate tax ceiling. That's a galaxy far far away from the common man and the middle class, who looks to benefit more from this bill.

too bad we all can't call the House reps offices (in Wash DC)......and complain about holding unemployment hostage. Too much of a phone bill......!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 16, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

LOL shrink2

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

All, good news and bad news on DADT repeal:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/harry_reid_needs_to_do_dadt_re.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 16, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"they just look like d#$ks"

I am drawing a blank.
What do d#$ks look like?

Did you mean dicks? Republicans look like dicks?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Republicans look like dicks?"

McConnell does - literally. It's like his face (foreskin) wants to detach from his head.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 16, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

So if Obama is finshed in 2012 which Republican is going to give him a shellacking ? Palin ? Not. Huckabee? Not. Romney? Not. Gingrich? Not. Inquiring minds want to know and so do fellow Republicans.

Posted by: Oxymoron3329 | December 16, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

So if Obama is finshed in 2012 which Republican is going to give him a shellacking ? Palin ? Not. Huckabee? Not. Romney? Not. Gingrich? Not. Inquiring minds want to know and so do fellow Republicans.

Posted by: Oxymoron3329 | December 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

It takes a Socialist, Muslim Kenyan, European Style, President to push through lavish estate tax reductions for the Super Wealthy.

============

Seriously. Imagine if we'd managed to elect an American center-right Republican. We'd impose serfdom on everyone making less than $100k per year and eliminate the income tax altogether.

Posted by: ibc0 | December 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"We'd impose serfdom on everyone making less than $100k per year and eliminate the income tax altogether."

That has proven to be an inferior though serviceable model for larding the wealthy. You have to hold a carrot out in front of your Rosinante. That way, like Don Quixote, you can get your work horses to think themselves superior to Alexander's Bucephalus.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 16, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Gosh Mike, wasn't it the Democrats in the House that decided not to bring a budget to the floor? How is it that the Republicans are now, in your sad state of mind, responsible for this signal failure to discharge clearly understood responsibility?

With the overwhelming majority possessed by the Pelosi folks, a budget should have been a simple process. Perhaps the Democrats didn't wish to be on record as having voted for the kind of spending we're seeing the Senate Omnibus bill.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 16, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Seriously. Imagine if we'd managed to elect an American center-right Republican. We'd impose serfdom on everyone making less than $100k per year and eliminate the income tax altogether."

We might actually grow the economy from $3 trillion in 1980 to $14 trillion in 2008.

2 years later, its still at $14 trillion.

These 'last standers' need to go away.

Posted by: krazen1211 | December 16, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Three trillion in 1980 dollars, that is. How about taking inflation into account when you brag about the figures from three decades later.

The reality is; The Bush Tax Cuts created no jobs, but turned annual revenues surpluses into ballooning annual deficits.

We have tried the Bush Tax Cuts, Trickle Down approach, and it has failed miserably. No net jobs created, under Bush, but massive deficits were.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

What nonsense about the impact of the tax code changes.

basically Liam-still's justification amounts to this: The current amount that the citizens give the government isn't having the results I expected. Therefore the citizens must give more of their money to the government.

Good luck selling that.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 16, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Funny how so many of you seem to blame the "other" party or predict the demise of the "other" party on this and other blogs. Really? Are you so young or are you just ignorant of history. Both parties have been complicit in the state of America today and both parties will continue to campaign on one set of issues and then govern on a completely different set of issues (the set that does the most good for their campaign donors). I don't think there have been very many straight talking congressmen or presidents for many decades - the vast majority are two faced. I blame them all and wish we could move away from the oligarchical democracy. We can't. It is too entrenched.

The rise of the tea party and their immediate coziness with big money lobbyists is just another example of our two faced political system. This laughable last stand by the Democrats is just another example. The lack of vision and leadership by both parties to tackle the most serious of American problems in an honest and collegial manner is just another example.

As America declines from its short life as the sole world power, the ride for most of us will be bumpier and bumpier as we get pushed to lower socioeconomic strata. The only true winners during this ride will be big money and their bought politicians. The rest if us, R, D, d(I) or r(TP) are just plain chumps and all the hatred in the world for the other guy won't help.

Posted by: mraymond10 | December 16, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

WE Are AMERICA!

We are STRONG!

You shall not pass!

...

Now step away from my middle class Social Security reserves being used to give tax giveaways to ultra-rich Hedge Fund CEOs to have a 15 percent top tax rate - WITH DEDUCTIONS ADDED for trips to the Bahamas!

No.

Means.

NO!

Posted by: WillSeattle | December 16, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The tax rate under Bill Clinton was higher than under George W. Bush, yet 20 million jobs were added, and an annual revenue surplus was brought about.

On the other hand; after George W. Bush passed his tax cuts, the economy fell apart, no jobs were added, and we went from paying down the national debt, and maintaining low unemployment, to massive deficits, and millions of people put out of work.

Only a complete moron like Skippy, would still be pushing for more of the same Bush poisoned medicine.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 16, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

the House just took up the Tax Cuts Deal again for a 3 hour debate....

then a vote.....

criminey....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 16, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"the White House reached a deal extending all the cuts that is thoroughly unacceptable to House Democrats,,,"

Actually, it's just unacceptable to the wacko fringe. (Which is often a majority of posters here, in responsse to your hyperbole.) All indications are that Democratic and Republican voters and a majority of each party are in step with this compromise. This includes the POTUS.

Far from an ideal bill, but not as bad as what the Dems are pushing to make up for no spending bills passing for any government agency this year. Truly a childish performance for a party with substantial majorities in both chambers.

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | December 16, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/happy_hour_roundup_148.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 16, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

For those posters who asked, the dems in the house did originate the bill. The senate did not pass it. Then the senate passed their own bill.

Thank goodness these dems in the house will have NO power in 3 more weeks. I have had enough of Pelosi and her demons to last a lifetime.

Posted by: annnort | December 16, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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