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House Dems Revolt, Vote Down Obama's Tax Deal

December 9, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Dec. 9th, 10:30 pm ET  - as per the sources cited on our micropublishing account, the Senate is adjourned until 9:30 in the morning, with no roll call votes planned. Sen. Reid announced the cloture vote on tax deal will be held 3pm Monday. As of tonight, Cox radio reporter Jamie Dupree has led the way with his summary of the tax deal as it stands.

Dec. 9th – this afternoon, the Senate rejected cloture for the Defense Authorization bill (S. 3454 – aka #NDAA), which includes a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (aka #DADT). Details of how the vote went down and continual updates on our micropublishing account.

Full roll call details forthcoming… at times like this, it certainly would be preferable to reduce the time lag and make available real-time vote results to the public on the open Web. We’ll keep working and organizing until the Library of Congress complies in full with the Eight Principles of Open Government Data. Nothing short of this standard is acceptable in a transparent representative democracy, as we hope ours to be. In the meantime, our non-profit will keep working to ensure transparency and accountability in government.

If you appreciate our user-friendly explanations of the baffling vortex that is the U.S. Senate, please make a tax-exempt donation and help us continue our watchdogging work. For example, compare the bill pages and information display for the Defense Authorizations bill on THOMAS and on OC… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the data we uniquely aggregate from around the Web and the free participation tools we offer.

Earlier: in a nearly unanimous internal caucus vote this afternoon, House Democrats made it clear that they’re not going along with the tax cut deal that Obama has negotiated with Republicans. CNN:

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 vote comes a day after Vice President Biden made clear to House Democrats behind closed doors that the deal would unravel if any changes were made.

“Wow did the [White House] mishandle this,” a senior House Democratic Source told CNN. “Breathtaking. Members have major substantive concerns and they should have gently guided people to the finish line.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon said: “They said take it or leave it. We left it.”

The vote was non-binding, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] seems to be taking it pretty seriously. “This means we will not bring this [agreement] to the floor as is. It has to be changed,” Pelosi’s spokesman told Politico.

It’s not exactly clear what House Dems want for changes, though several members are saying that the 13-month extension of the unemployment insurance filing deadline is not a good counterweight to the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy since, for the past two years, Congress has repeatedly passed extensions over GOP objection without having to concede anything to them. According to Arthur Delaney at HuffPo, “several Democrats said the least popular part of the White House’s deal is the estate tax proposal, which would tax estates at 35 percent and exempt the first $5 million, a far more generous proposal than Democrats have supported.”

As for adding additional weeks of unemployment insurance (i.e. a fifth tier), Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1], who is sponsoring stand-alone Tier V legislation, was the only Democrat that voted in favor of the Obama tax deal. So the 99ers’ main advocate in the House isn’t really participating in the fight to change the tax deal.

If the whole deal falls apart, the Democrats risk pushing the Bush tax cuts debate back until the next session of Congress, which will have a Republican-controlled House and a much weaker Democratic majority in the Senate. With the Dems losing 5 seats in the Senate Democrats are losing in the Senate, they probably wouldn’t have the 40 votes they would need to stop a tax cut-only bill from passing. That would put an extension of unemployment benefits at risk since the Republicans wouldn’t have to concede anything to the Democrats to get what they want to get their Bush tax rate extension passed.

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