President Obama has struck his deal with Republicans on extending Bush-era tax cuts — now he has to sell it to his fellow Democrats. That might not be easy, given liberal anger over the fact that the compromise preserves the breaks for the rich, as the GOP wanted. Rep. John Conyers, an influential Michigan Democrat, vowed to "do everything in my power" to defeat it. Obama insisted it was "a good deal for the American people." But will he be able to convince enough Democrats to pass it?
Obama might not get the votes he needs: President Obama has an "uphill task" in the Senate, says Katrina Trinko in National Review, and it will be "even trickier" getting the deal approved by the House. The White House says the concessions are worth it to make sure taxes don't rise on the middle class and unemployment benefits don't dry up. But those arguments may not sway enough Democrats.
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It will pass if Obama makes the case in person: Both the White House and the GOP are going to have to work to sell this deal, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Obama already sent Vice President Biden to Capitol Hill to talk to Democrats. But the president has to be more aggressive — Democratic aides tell Roll Call that he will have to drop in on Democratic caucus meetings in person if he wants to line up enough votes for this to pass. No matter how mad progressives appear, "if I had to guess, I'd say it'll squeak by."
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Republicans will save it if Obama cannot: Obama doesn't have the "arm-twisting powers" he once had, says Sheryl Gay Stolberg in The New York Times. When health reform was in jeopardy, he warned Dems that letting it die would weaken his ability to push other liberal policies. Now, with the GOP taking over the House, "the liberal agenda is going take a back seat to Republican priorities" no matter what. So Obama will have to rely on Republican support, further angering liberals.
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