Why Democrats won’t take action on tax hikes until after the election

posted at 3:22 pm on September 24, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats will send Congress into recess without taking any action to cancel the tax hikes that will come at the end of the year, putting off the debate until after the midterm elections.  They want to put the blame on Republicans for supposedly blocking the debate in an attempt to force Democrats to agree to an extension of all current tax rates, rather than letting the highest income brackets get hit with a tax increase.  Jim Manley, Harry Reid’s spokesman, provides the spin:

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the decision in a statement that blamed Republicans for holding up tax cuts for the middle class in order to prevent a tax hike on wealthier taxpayers.

“Democrats will not allow families in Nevada and across the country to suffer or be held hostage by Republicans who would rather give tax giveaways to millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas,” said Jim Manley, the spokesman for Reid.

“We will come back in November and stay in session as long as it takes to get this done.”

There’s just one teensy problem with this spin, which is that it’s patently ridiculous.  In the House, Nancy Pelosi has a 77-seat majority which can pass just about anything they want when they have consensus.  Democrats do not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but a tax bill would get considered under reconciliation — the same process Reid used to shove ObamaCare down the throats of Americans.  In fact, reconciliation would be much more legitimate to use for this issue.

So if it’s not Republican obstructionism, which it most certainly isn’t, then what’s the problem?  The Hill reports it more accurately:

A rift between centrist and liberal Democrats in both chambers of Congress has derailed plans for House and Senate votes on extending tax cuts before the election.

It isn’t that Republicans are obstructing the process; it’s that centrists in Pelosi’s caucus can read the writing on the wall in their districts.  They don’t want to go back home and explain any kind of tax hike, not even a class-warfare explanation about soaking the rich, in a recessionary environment.  Their Republican opponents would use such a vote to (accurately) paint them as tax-and-spend Democrats no different than the deeply unpopular Pelosi, and many of them would have to look for a new job.

Senator Dianne Feinstein puts it more succinctly:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), an influential voice within the Democratic Conference, warned that if Democrats voted to allow taxes to increase on wealthy families, it would give their opponents political ammunition.

“My own view is that it should not be done before an election, it should be done after the election,” said Feinstein.

Yes, because accountability is such a burden.  If the policy works, then debate it honestly before the election, and let voters decide which party and candidates got it right.  It’s precisely because they don’t want accountability for this decision that Pelosi and Reid have put it off.  It’s not obstructionism; it’s political pusillanimity.


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Because the Democrats want to raise your taxes. Duh.

Emperor Norton on September 24, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Blame the GOP? Wow that’s fresh.

Dems pssst – you control Congress and the White House.

CWforFreedom on September 24, 2010 at 3:25 PM

political pusillanimity

Awesome alliteration.

radioboyatl on September 24, 2010 at 3:25 PM

“My own view is that it should not be done before an election, it should be done after the election,” said Feinstein.

After all, Democrat Party control of the government is way more important than anything to do with the citizenry.

BobMbx on September 24, 2010 at 3:26 PM

political pusillanimity

Say that five times fast.

Firefly_76 on September 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

The Hard Fall™

carbon_footprint on September 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

In trouble either way. Go ahead and lame-duck some tax increases, it will make for some fine early campaign season ads in about a year or so.

Bishop on September 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

The Democrat spin that this is about tax CUTS is getting ridiculous.

Bush CUT the taxes…this is about avoiding RAISING them!

Geez!

Justrand on September 24, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Democrats are such liars and filth.

darwin on September 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Riiiiight. The Dems are gonna somehow convince a majority of Americans that Republicans want to raise taxes. The very people who are out there clamoring for the extension of ALL the Bush tax cuts are secretly a bunch of tax hikers. Good luck with that.

Doughboy on September 24, 2010 at 3:30 PM

In trouble either way. Go ahead and lame-duck some tax increases, it will make for some fine early campaign season ads in about a year or so.

Bishop on September 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Yep they can have their medicine now or they can have it later.

What do these people think the rich will do? Will the rich simply take the hit or will they cut back let us say on a new pool or a new car? One would think that these cutbacks lead to less employment of regular people but I guess that does not matter as long as Big Gov gets their our money.

CWforFreedom on September 24, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I looked at that picture of Di-Fi and suddenly realized that I haven’t bought Halloween candy for the kiddies.

Cody1991 on September 24, 2010 at 3:32 PM

it’s political pusillanimity

Oh, come on Ed, it’s OK to use the shorter, more succinct version of that word ……

Pussies

Jerome Horwitz on September 24, 2010 at 3:34 PM

It boggles the mind that they blatantly know that the people won’t want it so they postpone action until after an election.

Big John on September 24, 2010 at 3:35 PM

You know Ed, the American people have their own form of reconciliation…and it is coming soon.

d1carter on September 24, 2010 at 3:38 PM

This does not help the D’s at all. Sure the MSM will dutifully report that the R’s are obstructing. But at this point, the people who are ready to vote on Nov 2 do not believe anything the D’s or the MSM says. All this will do is add to their losses.

JohnTheBuilder on September 24, 2010 at 3:39 PM

The vote was canceled because Pelosi-Obama-Reid know if an amendment to extend all the tax cuts was allowed to come to a vote enough Dems would defect for it to pass.

agmartin on September 24, 2010 at 3:40 PM

It boggles the mind that they blatantly know that the people won’t want it so they postpone action until after an election.

Big John on September 24, 2010 at 3:35 PM

And that with a sizable percentage of Americans they will get away with it.

WitchDoctor on September 24, 2010 at 3:41 PM

A really stupid move by the Democrats. In order to please their “no tax cuts for the rich” leftist fringe, they’re telling MIDDLE-CLASS taxpayers “we’ll wait until after the election to prevent your taxes from going up…maybe”.

Republicans can clobber Democrats on this issue, by saying “We want to prevent taxes from going up for ALL taxpayers–we want to do it NOW, but Democrats are blocking us, and if we get the majority, we WILL do it. If Democrats keep the majority, they might raise your taxes, it’s a big secret.”

Republicans need to press this issue all the way–a GOP majority means taxes WILL NOT go up, a Democrat majority means an indefinite maybe, whatever Pelosi and Reid decide. Lame-duck session=Lucy pulls the football away, Charlie Brown voter on his back.

Steve Z on September 24, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Is my memory failing me or is this the same “Tax Cuts For The Rich” that the habitual liars in the dimmicrat party and their co-conspirators in the dinosaur media spent months fighting?

Now they want to preserve the tax cuts for lower income Americans that don’t exist.

The dimmicrat party and the dinosaur media constitute a criminal conspiracy to lie and steal from the American tax payer.

MaaddMaaxx on September 24, 2010 at 3:44 PM

There’s just one teensy problem with this spin, which is that it’s patently ridiculous.

It’s not obstructionism; it’s political pusillanimity.

Plus, the Dems think the voters are really stupid.

May they get the plague for being so impertinent.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2010 at 3:44 PM

I looked at that picture of Di-Fi and suddenly realized that I haven’t bought Halloween candy for the kiddies.

Cody1991 on September 24, 2010 at 3:32 PM

When I saw that photo, the first thing that popped into my head was that she resembles a female Teddy Kennedy.

She absolutely disgusts me, and not just because of her looks. It’s mainly because of this attitude:

“My own view is that it should not be done before an election, it should be done after the election,” said Feinstein.

UltimateBob on September 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

“My own view is that it should not be done before an election, it should be done after the election,” said Feinstein.

And it will be – in a party line vote in the lame duck session, they will extend the tax cuts, except those going to the rich small business owners, which will make the unemployment situation even worse.

Vashta.Nerada on September 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Because they were too busy allowing Comedians testify before Democrat controlled committees in order to beclown themselves even further?

portlandon on September 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Limiting case is they only meet for 2 months every two years – lame duck only. But are really really “productive” then.

Talk about taxation without representation……

tomg51 on September 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

One other reason I just thought of that the Dems are waiting til after the midterms is that December is when the so-called deficit reduction commission will offer its recommendations to Obama and Congress. Maybe they wanna use that as a cover for letting more of the Bush tax cuts expire.

Doughboy on September 24, 2010 at 3:46 PM

What happens after the midterm elections? Everyone moves to the 2012 presidential election mode. Obama can’t vote present on this. He alone holds the veto pen and will be held accountable for whatever he signs. OWN it, Barry.

TN Mom on September 24, 2010 at 3:46 PM

The vote was canceled because Pelosi-Obama-Reid know if an amendment to extend all the tax cuts was allowed to come to a vote enough Dems would defect for it to pass.

agmartin on September 24, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Bingo. See my comment above.

Vashta.Nerada on September 24, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Then I hope every REPUBLICAN campaigns against there Dumbocrat opponant like they are going to vote for the Taxes!

Meanwhile, back to Stephen Colbert……

SDarchitect on September 24, 2010 at 3:46 PM

If the democrat leadership won’t do it before the election they won’t do it after either. They want taxes to go up. They will continue to blame all their troubles on the GOP, for the next 2 years.

Skandia Recluse on September 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM

They always cry “Who is going to pay for these tax cuts”, well this November a whole lot of Dems are going to pay big time.

fourdeucer on September 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM

So if they passed it, then it would to PBHO’s desk and he would either have to sign it into law or veto it. That’s why the ‘rats won’t make a move now.

Bishop on September 24, 2010 at 3:51 PM

How many house seats need to be picked up to provide a veto override?

JohnTheBuilder on September 24, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Harry’s been too busy trying to get the ‘Dream’ act through …he couldn’t affort to be bothered by trying to keep taxes from going up.

dont taze me bro on September 24, 2010 at 3:52 PM

…but but Obama promised my taxes wouldn’t go up one dime! Not one dime!!!!!

search4truth on September 24, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I figure that 112 house seats would have to be picked up to provide a 2/3 majority to override a presidential veto. As good as Nov 2 looks for R’s, I do not think this is feasible. Too bad, really. That would be the ultimate referendum on Obama.

JohnTheBuilder on September 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM

The war is lost

faraway on September 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Because they were too busy allowing Comedians testify before Democrat controlled committees in order to beclown themselves even further?

portlandon on September 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

No, that was simply to distract everyone’s attention away from the other hearing on the Hill today. You know, the DOJ hearing?

Del Dolemonte on September 24, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Well why don’t we look at the budget they’ve passed for the fiscal year starting in less than a week and we can see if they’ve… wait, what do you mean they don’t have a budget for the fiscal year starting in less than a week?

Yeah, good job guys, nothing shows competence like not getting a basic part of your job done.

gekkobear on September 24, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Here is the box they are in. If they vote to raise taxes on the rich now before the election, then they get pummeled by the right for being tax raisers who are tone deaf and do all the wrong things for the economy and small businesses. This makes it really difficult for the so-called democratic moderates who are trying to hold on and not get swept away in November.

If they extend the tax hikes now for everyone including the rich, they get pummeled by the left and right for being hypocrites for assigning all the blame for the economy and deficit on the Bush taxe cuts for the wealthy, only to now capitulate and agree that to remove them would hurt.

What will happen is that after the election they will extend the rate cuts for everyone.

exceller on September 24, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Can we all say “Final Nail in the Coffin” for the Democracts..:)

Dire Straits on September 24, 2010 at 4:19 PM

There’s more than one teensy problem.

The other is there’s no bill. You can hardly blame the Republicans for blocking a bill that hasn’t yet been written.

Chris of Rights on September 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Personally, I think this is a huge gift to next year’s Republican House.

If this isn’t passed in a lame duck session, and I don’t think it will be, then Republicans can introduce a bill on day one next year, that extends the Bush tax cuts to all Americans. They make it retroactive to January 1 of the year. It will easily pass both chambers.

Then, Obama has a decision to make. He can continue to be an idealogue and veto it, thus becoming the President that created the largest tax hike in American history, or he can suck it up and sign it.

This won’t be the last decision of this kind that Obama will have to make over the next two years.

Chris of Rights on September 24, 2010 at 4:23 PM

If these political pusillanimity
don’t get their rectitude straightened up they are gonna get their asses kicked soon!

dhunter on September 24, 2010 at 4:24 PM

What will happen is that after the election they will extend the rate cuts for everyone.

exceller on September 24, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Hope to hell your right,
Will believe it when I see it and if so will “Cousin Eddie” sign it?

dhunter on September 24, 2010 at 4:25 PM

a tax bill would get considered under reconciliation — the same process Reid used to shove ObamaCare down the throats of Americans. In fact, reconciliation would be much more legitimate to use for this issue.

Yes, but once FY2011 starts on October 1, there is no reconciliation .. none for all of FY2011.

J_Crater on September 24, 2010 at 4:29 PM

If this isn’t passed in a lame duck session, and I don’t think it will be, then Republicans can introduce a bill on day one next year, that extends the Bush tax cuts to all Americans. They make it retroactive to January 1 of the year. It will easily pass both chambers.

Chris of Rights on September 24, 2010 at 4:23 PM

And for the icing on the cake, make them permanent.

UltimateBob on September 24, 2010 at 4:36 PM

What will happen is that after the election they will extend the rate cuts for everyone.

exceller on September 24, 2010 at 4:16 PM

If you believe that, may I interest you in oceanfront property in Nevada?

If Dems were smart, they would pass a bill (probably with Republican support) that extends the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250K, then they could crow about “preventing middle-class tax hikes”. Republicans wouldn’t block it, because they wouldn’t want to be accused of holding the middle-class taxpayers hostage to the rich.

But Democrats don’t want this debate, because they don’t want the “dirty little secret” to get out that middle-class taxes are going up in 2011 IF NOTHING IS DONE, and they’re hoping that Republicans won’t talk about it. And they expect voters to “trust” them to extend the Bush tax cuts in the lame-duck session. Which begs the question: Democrats had the same majorities for nearly two years now–why didn’t they do it earlier?

Republicans need to shout from the rooftops: If Democrats keep the majority, YOUR TAXES ARE GOING UP. If Republicans get the majority, YOUR TAXES WILL NOT GO UP. John Q. Public, do you want to pay more taxes or not?

Steve Z on September 24, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Personally, I think this is a huge gift to next year’s Republican House.

If this isn’t passed in a lame duck session, and I don’t think it will be, then Republicans can introduce a bill on day one next year, that extends the Bush tax cuts to all Americans. They make it retroactive to January 1 of the year. It will easily pass both chambers.

Then, Obama has a decision to make. He can continue to be an idealogue and veto it, thus becoming the President that created the largest tax hike in American history, or he can suck it up and sign it.

This won’t be the last decision of this kind that Obama will have to make over the next two years.

Chris of Rights on September 24, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Such a bill would pass a Republican House, but the Senate will definitely have enough Democrats to filibuster it. Whether they would want to is another question, because a third of them would face the voters in 2012, as would Obama. Some Senate Democrats might hope that voters have short memories, or come from states where less than half the voters pay income taxes to begin with.

Still, by putting this off to the lame-duck session (read January) Reid is giving Republicans a good rope to hang himself with…

Steve Z on September 24, 2010 at 4:45 PM

If word gets out to all those retirees that are living on stock dividends that the tax on said dividends will go up over 150% (from 15 to 39.6%)if the cuts are not extended, there will be some seriously miffed seniors out there.

And those folks vote.

iurockhead on September 24, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I still say it is to try and get businesses to push Q1 2011 profits into Q4 2010 to get a false economy bump.

clement on September 24, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Republicans need to shout from the rooftops: If Democrats keep the majority, YOUR TAXES ARE GOING UP. If Republicans get the majority, YOUR TAXES WILL NOT GO UP, TEMPORARILY. John Q. Public, do you want to pay more taxes or not?

Steve Z on September 24, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Fixed.

Dark-Star on September 24, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Such a bill would pass a Republican House, but the Senate will definitely have enough Democrats to filibuster it.

Steve Z on September 24, 2010 at 4:45 PM

I am pretty sure that 10-15 Dems would go along in support unless Obama shows much better leadership skills than he has shown thus far.

However, as said in the original article, they can pass it through reconciliation. Only needs 50%+1, not 3/5.

The Dems best chance (in the Senate) would be try to amend it to remove the tax break for upper income earners, then try to force the Republican House to accept their bill.

They can only do that though if they a) maintain control of the Senate, and b) get 50%+1 to approve the amendment.

Chris of Rights on September 24, 2010 at 5:49 PM

political pusillanimity.

ooooh babyyyy……

leftnomore on September 24, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Gettin’ up there with Doc Zero.
political pusillanimity

Awesome alliteration.
PLUS 10

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 24, 2010 at 8:43 PM

“My own view is that it should not be done before an election, it should be done after the election,” said Feinstein.

Sounds like DiFi just recorded a great campaign commercial for the Republican Party

AZfederalist on September 24, 2010 at 10:22 PM

This is one time when the Democrats are right in blaming George Bush. Having to vote on raising taxes is all BOOOOOOsssh’s fault

Herb on September 25, 2010 at 9:17 AM

I figure that 112 house seats would have to be picked up to provide a 2/3 majority to override a presidential veto. As good as Nov 2 looks for R’s, I do not think this is feasible. Too bad, really. That would be the ultimate referendum on Obama.

JohnTheBuilder on September 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM

override of a veto – The process by which each chamber of Congress votes on a bill vetoed by the President. To pass a bill over the President’s objections requires a two-thirds vote in each Chamber. Historically, Congress has overridden fewer than ten percent of all presidential vetoes.

http://www.senate.gov/

CSK on September 25, 2010 at 11:53 PM