House Democrats, after taking an internal vote, decided against bringing up the Obama-brokered tax deal in its current form.
Defying President Obama, House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up the tax package that he negotiated with Republicans in its current form.
“This message today is very simple: That in the form that it was negotiated, it is not acceptable to the House Democratic caucus. It’s as simple as that,” said Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
“We will continue to try and work with the White House and our Republican colleagues to try and make sure we do something right for the economy and right for jobs, and a balanced package as we go forward,” he said.
The Senate planned to take up the bill first anyway, and I assume they’ll go forward. But the House won’t take up the bill unless the Democratic leadership agrees to it, and according to this they just won’t take up the bill.
Peter Welch is up to 53 Democrats on his letter opposing the tax cut deal, including these signers:
The letter, which Welch authored and first circulated late Monday, was signed by: Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Judy Chu, Yvette Clark, Steve Cohen, John Conyers, Elijah Cummings, Danny Davis, Peter DeFazio, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Barney Frank, John Garamendi, Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Alcee Hastings, Martin Heinrich, Maurice Hinchey, Rush Holt, Jay Inslee, Jesse Jackson, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paul Kanjorski, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Ben Ray Lujan, Steven Lynch, Doris Matsui, Jim McDermott, Mike Michaud, Jim Oberstar, John Olver, Chellie Pingree, David Price, Tim Ryan, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Carol Shea-Porter, Adam Smith, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Betty Sutton, Bennie Thompson, Mike Thompson, Paul Tonko, Anthony Weiner, Lynn Woolsey, David Wu and John Yarmuth.
The path forward is now uncertain. If the Senate passes the bill, will House Democrats relent and allow a vote?
…the voice vote in the caucus meeting was engineered by Peter DeFazio, and is considered “a vote of no confidence” in the package.
UPDATE: From Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva:
“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,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “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.”
UPDATE II: There was some thought that the House leadership would put the bill on the floor anyway, regardless of this revolt from the Democratic rank and file. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t sound ready to do that:
House Democrats share the President’s commitment to providing the middle class with a tax cut to grow the economy and create jobs. The House passed a bill last week to provide tax cuts for all Americans but not a bonus tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. The extra tax cut for the top 3 percent does not create jobs and increases the deficit. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked the bill from being approved by the Senate.
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.
Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to create jobs and economic growth, to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and to do this in a fiscally sound way.
Pelosi wants to renegotiate.