In an "open revolt," the House Democratic caucus have blocked President Obama's tax compromise with Congressional Republicans. The "outraged" Democrats want changes to the plan, especially a provision that would lower the estate tax from 45 percent to 35 percent. Vice President Joe Biden has called the current tax plan "take it or leave it," and the GOP says modifying the package could be a deal-breaker. Will the Democrats let the tax deal die, or is this just another step in the negotiation process? (Watch a PBS report about the Democrats' stand)
It's deal-or-die time for Obama: "House Democrats haven't exactly been hiding their disagreement" with this compromise plan, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. But this "formal" move to block it means Obama has to "pay a lot more attention to what House Democrats want" if this is to pass. Speaker Nancy Pelosi may not kill the plan, but she will almost certainly "demand changes" before there's a vote on it.
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House Dems will "hold their noses" and vote yes: "As a practical matter, I don't see how Democrats could possibly think they have leverage" now, says Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. They "could have refused to compromise" six months ago, but with a GOP House majority waiting in the wings, they're in a "much weaker position" today. This is a "lousy deal" for Democrats, but "killing" it will only hurt them more.
Every side has something to gain if it fails: If House Democrats insist on modifying the plan, it really could die, says Dan Amira in New York. What then? The GOP would be the "big winners," but House Dems "would be greeted as heroes by the liberal base" for "showing some spine." Obama's going to "catch flak" from liberals whatever happens, but moderates and independents may well see that as "a positive thing."
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