House Democrats have said "no"--out loud, literally--to President Obama's tax-cut deal.
The caucus voted the deal down by a voice vote today.
Here's what Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to say about it:
In the Caucus today, House Democrats supported a resolution to reject the Senate Republican tax provisions as currently written. We will continue discussions with the President and our Democratic and Republican colleagues in the days ahead to improve the proposal before it comes to the House floor for a vote.
And here's what Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, had to say about it in a statement released to press:
"The House was not consulted during the negotiations that produced this package, and our support cannot be taken for granted now or in the future...Slashing taxes for the wealthiest two percent during a major recession is simply unreasonable, and the hardworking American people deserve a better deal. I was proud to vote against this hastily produced package, and I believe the House made the right decision today."
Some things to keep in mind: A caucus voice vote is not binding, but this highlights a difficulty the administration will have in getting the deal passed--getting it to the floor in the form of a bill. Someone will have to introduce it. Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership will have to put it on the calendar and bring it up for a vote. Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly told Politico that this vote means Pelosi will not bring the deal to the floor as is. "It has to be changed."
All this indicates that House Democrats, feeling like they weren't included at the negotiating table to begin with, are doing their negotiating now. They're playing for updates to the package, telling Obama, essentially, that they want to keep talking about it but they won't go forward with the deal as it's outlined right now.
Vice President Joe Biden made the case for this deal to Democrats yesterday, and the administration will almost certainly keep trying, as Obama warned earlier today that the economy will slide "backward" if the deal doesn't go through.
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