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December 07, 2010

White House Blames Congressional Dems for Tax Deal

As DrewM reported last night, the White House and congressional Republicans cut a deal on the imminent tax hikes. The GOP walked away with a two-year Bush tax cut extension for all incomes, a two percent reduction in payroll taxes, and a limitation on the resurrected death tax -- 35% with a $5 million exemption. Obama got his unemployment benefits extension, but only for 13 months (and he was going to get that anyway). He also expanded the wealth-redistributing Earned Income Tax Credit (and he was going to get that anyway too).

When news broke last night, there were already rumors that congressional Democrats were considering mutiny and "progressives" on the internet were freaking out that Obama got "rolled" or "suckered." This post is representative if you'd like a little schadenfreude with your Wheaties this morning.

With his allies having conniptions over his "symbolic presidency", I expected the White House to lash out at Republicans. Something about "Party of No" and making "hard decisions." It's the standard move, especially when the President needs Democrats to get in line and vote for this thing.

Instead, the White House seems to be declaring war on the Democrats in Congress:

"We wanted a fight, the House didn't throw a punch," a senior White House official tells ABC News, pointing out that for months before the 2010 midterm elections, President Obama was making the case against the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans. "The House wouldn't vote before the Senate, and the Senate was afraid they'd lose a vote on it."

"It was like the Jets versus Sharks except there weren't any Jets," the official said. "Senator Schumer says he wants a fight? He couldn't hold his caucus together."

"This isn't a debate in a lab somewhere," the official continued. "People's taxes were going to go up, and then we were going to have a Senate with a slimmer margin and House under Republican control."

Message control is not one of this White House's strong attributes, is it? Vermont Independent Senator Sanders is already threatening to filibuster the tax deal.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:38 AM

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