House Democrats Reject Obama Tax Deal

More

House Democrats voted to reject a White House tax compromise that would extend the full Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for a year's worth of unemployment benefits and tax cuts for working families and businesses.

The deal still has life, with significant Republican support and the possibility that small tweaks might assuage the concerns of the progressive caucus. But what's the hold up here?

Who's playing the hostage game now?

Some of the House Democrats' concerns are, ostensibly, about policy. Rep. Jan Schakowsky wants the bill to include $250 checks to all seniors who won't , although that measure was voted down yesterday. Rep. Chris Van Hollen was rightly miffed by the estate tax deal. Others simply rejected the Bush tax cut concession to Republicans and have said they won't vote for any bill that wastes money on lower taxes for millionaires.

But some of the House complaints are, admittedly, about procedure, not policy. CNN reports:

"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."

The word hostage has been thrown around in the Bush tax cut debate. First, Republicans were accused of holding the middle class tax hostage by demanding lower taxes for the rich -- or else, nothing. Now that the White House has struck a deal pairing the GOP plan with significant tax stimulus in 2011, it's the Democrats who stand accused of holding the US economy hostage by demanding higher taxes on the rich -- or else, nothing.

You could say that Democrats are just being strategic; that they've learned from the GOP's example that hostage situations tend to work out for the crazy looking person claiming he's capable of unspeakable things (like rejecting a $2,000 tax cut for the middle class). But with the January deadline looming and significant middle-class stimulus on the table, the party needs a endgame that gets us from today's news-splashy protest vote to a final bill.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In