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Watch Out for the Democrats

It's not just Republicans who are deeply attached to the status quo. The entire Washington establishment is threatened by Obama's audacious and course-changing goals -- and that includes Democrats in Congress.

Shailagh Murray writes in The Washington Post about the growing Democratic pushback against the party's own agenda: "Obama's far-reaching plans for health-care, energy and education reform...continue to enjoy broad Democratic support. But as the ideas develop into detailed legislation, they will transform from abstract objectives into a tangle of difficult trade-offs. Crop subsidies, the student loan program and Medicare radiology rules are all currently niche concerns, but any one could become the next crisis for party leaders, with the potential to derail a major agenda item. One major proposal, to limit itemized deductions for wealthy taxpayers, has already raised doubts among prominent Democrats in both chambers."

Jackie Calmes and Carl Hulse write in the New York Times that "the Democratic barons of Congress" are weighing in on Obama's plans. "The apparent first casualty is a big one: a proposal to limit tax deductions for the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers. Mr. Obama says the plan would produce $318 billion over the next decade as a down payment for overhauling health care.

"But the chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees, Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, have objected to the proposal, citing a potential drop in tax-deductible gifts to charities.

"Billions in savings from cutting government subsidies to big farmers and agribusinesses? No dice, said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who heads the Senate Budget Committee....

"Mr. Obama is taking a gamble in outsourcing the drafting of his agenda's details to...five veteran lawmakers and others in Congress, each with his own political and parochial calculations."

Lynn Sweet blogs for the Chicago Sun Times that Obama has invited 68 members of the House New Democrat Coalition to meet with him this afternoon at the White House. "The NDC is a caucus of moderate Democrats, created in 1997. Obama earlier met with the Blue Dog Democrats--a slightly more conservative group of moderates-- when he was wooing their vote for his stimulus package."

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 10, 2009; 1:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

Oh yeah, I'd trust Charley R. on taxation consequences, just as I'd trust him to honestly fill out a 1040!

Posted by: Bushy | March 10, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Each one of these Senators that have a problem with Obama's plan are doing their regular maneuvers to benefit their special interest. The tax deductible charity is ridiculous anyway none of the contributors seem to understand the meaning of an elm. And the multi million dollar farm operation in the Dakota's surely has enough power to raise the price of their eththenol crop to quit taking hand outs from the government. These disagreements are ludicrous. Everyone of these senators know the condition of the country but they refuse to sacrifice any extra. I would wonder how many of them contribute to right wing radio's multi billion dollar write offs, and exactly what, if any, effort is being made by them to make Obama's plan work.

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | March 10, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The conservative Democrats wanted President Obama to agree to pay-go for his budget. So President Obama sent them a budget that pays for the things that he wants with some provisions that the conservatives don't want. So do they raise money (taxes) elsewhere, or pay a little less than they go? Their choice.

Posted by: dickdata | March 10, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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