Senate Dems balk at ending Bush-era tax rates; Update: McConnell says he’s prepared to “do a grand bargain”

posted at 11:21 am on June 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If Barack Obama wants to go into electoral battle on the promise to hike taxes, he may find the ranks behind him thinning significantly.  The Hill reports that seven key Democrats in the Senate will block attempts to raise the income-tax rates for the highest-earning Americans without a comprehensive tax reform plan, which means that Republicans might succeed in preventing Obama from running on his best class-warfare argument:

A growing number of Senate Democrats are signaling they are not prepared to raise taxes on anyone in the weak economy unless Congress approves a grand bargain to reduce the deficit.

At least seven Democratic senators have declined to rule out supporting a temporary extension of the Bush-era income tax rates, breaking with party leaders who have called for letting the rates expire for people earning more than $1 million per year.

That gives Senate Republicans a chance to push a temporary extension similar to the deal Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) struck with President Obama in December of 2010.

Democrats running for reelection, such as Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have declined to endorse their leadership’s call for a tax increase on wealthy families.

That’s not entirely bad news for Obama, either — assuming he takes advantage of it.  The Taxmageddon effect on the economy has already started, with businesses and investors sheltering capital in anticipation of heavy damage at the beginning of next year.  Resolving that with a temporary one-to-two-year compromise would encourage more risk and investment, although probably not an overwhelming amount of it, given the state of demand at the moment.  That could produce a couple of good months of economic indicators and give Obama some breathing space.

The question will be whether Obama can take a deal.  He has spent nine months demonizing Republicans and blaming the wealthy for using tax rates that have been in place for more than a decade.  A reversal now would undercut his argument against Mitt Romney in the general election, and it’s difficult to gauge which option would do the most damage — pushing Taxmageddon until the election, or disappointing his progressive base one more time on tax rates ahead of it.  Unfortunately, Obama won’t have the option of getting comprehensive reform passed in the next few months in order to avoid having to make this choice, thanks to his abandonment of Simpson-Bowles sixteen months ago — and it’s too late to adopt it now.

That’s not the only way in which some Democrats might be abandoning Obama this summer.  Manchin and his successor as West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin  have announced that they will not attend the Democratic convention in Charlotte — as they cannot commit to endorsing Obama:

Democrats U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Congressman Nick Rahall, who all face reelection battles this November, have decided to skip the Democratic National Convention in September.

The decisions of the three to stay home come after increasing pressure from Republicans to declare whether or not they support President Obama for reelection.  Rahall, who represents West Virginia’s third district, has already said he backs the President, but Manchin and Tomblin have refused to commit.

The West Virginia Delegate Selection Plan rules suggest that unpledged delegates had to declare who they planned to support.  It appeared that the deadline for the declaration was Tuesday.

Tomblin’s campaign spokesman Chris Stadleman said of the decision, “As he has said, he has serious problems with both Governor Romney and President Obama.  The Governor feels that his time is best spent working in West Virginia to move our state forward instead of attending a four-day political rally in North Carolina.”

Manchin, in a prepared statement, said, “I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that’s representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation. I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election.”

Obama can thank his war on coal for this abandonment rather than his economic policies.  West Virginia gets almost all of its electricity from coal, and a good chunk of their economy and jobs, too.  Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on a measure to overturn the Obama administration’s MACT rule, an EPA change that would create $21 billion in compliance costs each year — and cost 183,000 jobs, plenty of them in West Virginia.

I’d expect Manchin to abandon Obama on this bill, too, and perhaps a few of these same Democrats.

Update: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went on CBS today to put more pressure on Obama to cut a deal:

“We are prepared,” McConnell says, “to do a grand bargain.” He rebuffs Charlie Rose’s contention that Democrats want fairness and budget discipline with a reminder that nearly half of all Americans already don’t contribute in federal income tax as it is.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Dear President 0bama: YOU SUCK!!!!

Signed, Senate Democrats

UltimateBob on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Manchin is all talk.

SouthernGent on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

If Obama were smart, he’d take the extension and tie in the debt limit increase.

He won’t.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Dear President 0bama: YOU SUCK!!!!

Signed, Senate Democrats Americans.

UltimateBob on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

improved.

hillsoftx on June 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

We are already in the midst of an accelerating Obama-Taxmageddon Depression. Even if they act today to extend the tax rates AND defuse the 2013 Obamacare tax hikes it’s already too late to affect this election.

Business likes uncertainty as much as Barry Soetoro likes paying his lunch bill. Even MORE capital is being yanked from the market and companies are hiring even LESS people out of fear of the uncertainty of next year’s taxes.

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM

American workers must get priority for American jobs.

You just blew it, Barry.

stenwin77 on June 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

If Obama were smart, he’d take the extension and tie in the debt limit increase.

He won’t.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Yep, you are correct. He won’t. He could have that today if he wanted it.

The reason he wont’ accept it is because next year is his nirvana. Taxes ARE ALREADY SCHEDULED to go up over HALF A TRILLION dollars and he doesn’t have to lift a finger to do it.

Of course he’s failing to realize that he WILL NOT BE PRESIDENT when this happens…

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Manchin is all talk.

SouthernGent on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

They like him in WV, but I’m wondering if the people there are going to realize that he’s beholden to a party which doesn’t have their interests at heart.

Granted, this is a state which has sent Jay Rockefeller to the Senate for 4 terms, too.

teke184 on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Why do I get the feeling that WV Dems may be facing a big challenge in November even if they skip out on the party in Charlotte? Rahall is running for his 19th term in Congress. He should be bulletproof in WV and yet he apparently is not.

Happy Nomad on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Dear President 0bama: YOU SUCK!!!!

Signed, Senate Democrats Americans.

UltimateBob on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM
improved.

hillsoftx on June 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

The world

New and improved

VegasRick on June 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Manchin and his successor as West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin have announced that they will not attend the Democratic convention in Charlotte — as they cannot commit to endorsing Obama

Put your money where your mouth is Manchin. Endorse Mittens and publicly rebuke the Obama agenda or start packing. Don’t try to toe the party line and have it both ways.

Doughboy on June 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM

If Obama were smart…, he’d take the extension and tie in the debt limit increase.

He won’t isn’t.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Fixed.

teke184 on June 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Of course he’s failing to realize that he WILL NOT BE PRESIDENT when this happens…

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Not to get too orwellian on you but what if he DOES realize that he will not be President.

A final gesture to the American people.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

It needs to say the obama tax cuts since HE extended them already, no?

cmsinaz on June 19, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Why do I get the feeling that WV Dems may be facing a big challenge in November even if they skip out on the party in Charlotte? Rahall is running for his 19th term in Congress. He should be bulletproof in WV and yet he apparently is not.

Happy Nomad on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

He isn’t except for the fact that the WV Republican Party is more inept than the national RNC when Steele was Chairman.

Rahall has all sorts of baggage. He’s in bed with the unions, he has all kinds of questionable business ties to islamist front groups in the Middle East, and he’s been there practically forever. It took Mollohan’s land deal scam to get his sorry ass kicked out.

Two of WV’s 3 congressional districts are now Republican. Rahall and the two Senators are the remaining democrats.

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Not to get too orwellian on you but what if he DOES realize that he will not be President.

A final gesture to the American people.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

That will be a scary day because he’s shown no restraint whatsoever to seizing power AND he has an unstable narcissistic personality…

I think the people around him have realized he’s unlikely to get re-elected but I think Obama will be the LAST to.

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Racist!

-libtardordie

gwelf on June 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Update: McConnell says he’s prepared to “do a grand bargain”

Tom Friedman will be in his bunk.

Kataklysmic on June 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Democrats running for reelection, such as Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have declined to endorse their leadership’s call for a tax increase on wealthy families.

And then, right after they’re re-elected, they will support everything that Harry Reid proposes.

dirtseller on June 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

grand bargain = bend over, here it comes

Lost in Jersey on June 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Tom Friedman will be in his bunk.

Kataklysmic on June 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Doesn’t he want to watch?

CurtZHP on June 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Barry make a “deal”?

He’s not that smart. For some reason, Barry believes that his base alone can get him re-elected.

GarandFan on June 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM

“We are prepared,” McConnell says, “to do a grand bargain.”

Compromise.

davidk on June 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Manchin and the rest of the WV delegation will not be attending the DNC.

tetriskid on June 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Hmmm I can’t understand why “Coal Country” would sit this one out/

Dr Evil on June 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

There will be no deal before the election in November, and there is only the slightest probability that they will reach a deal after the election and before the new Congress convenes in 2013 (probably another kick-the-can-down-the-road continuing resolution freezing taxes and spending at current levels if anything). The politicians will have about a 10 month window from January – November 2013 to do something about the budget deficit; we expect higher taxes and spending cuts. After November 2013 the next election cycle begins, any deal will be off the table.

TouchdownBuddha on June 19, 2012 at 11:45 AM

A grand bargain you say? I’m sure McConnell will get us exactly what we want–huge tax increases today, to be followed up with some spending cuts next Tuesday.

Tom Friedman must be squealing in delight.

PetecminMd on June 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

McConnell almost sounds like he has stones. Must be an election year.

ElectricPhase on June 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Is McConnell up for reelection this year? I despise these GOP-e creeps.

stenwin77 on June 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Mr. Rose makes sure that Obama’s “side” is told. You mean old nasty Republicans.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM

“We are prepared,” McConnell says, “to do a grand bargain.”

Wonderful news. Good to know the smartest men in Washington are looking out for us.

Doomberg on June 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM

So despite poll numbers that finds massive support for raising taxes on the highest earners these Democrats are going with the high earning special interests that contributed to their campaign. If Democrats were “communists in disguise” as you all claim, wouldn’t they jump at the opportunity to use public support for higher taxes on the wealthy? Wake up folks, these moves are not about winning votes, they are about fundraising. Public opinions matters much less than the opinion of donors.

libfreeordie on June 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Is McConnell up for reelection this year? I despise these GOP-e creeps.

stenwin77 on June 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Team Mitch

Dr Evil on June 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

0bama will not compromise.

jukin3 on June 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

“We are prepared,” McConnell says, “to do a grand bargain.”

Whoa. I didn’t know I was being clairvoyant.

What I forgot to add to my orginal post was – I hope the Repub’s don’t offer it.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Manchin “acting” like a bluedog is hilarious. A bluedog is a democrat who will lie to his constituents all the way up to election day and then stab them in the back as soon as the poll closes. Manchin is a Obama suck-up and nothing more. Obama’s war on coal has Manchin in their back pocket. When traitors like Manchin are so obvious, it just means the dumbing of America is progressing at an accelerated pace. Narcissists like Obama will always ultimately fail and take their syschophants with them, but usually after their major danger has been done.

volsense on June 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM

dear leader will double down on his do nothing gop congress schtick

cmsinaz on June 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM

jukin3 on June 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Good. I’m pretty sure we don’t want him to.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM

I think he means that he is prepared to do a Grand Sellout.

Anytime these plicks do a deal, the middle class gets Effed.

Time for these frackin RINOs to fade into the sunset.

Kuffar on June 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM

They like him in WV, but I’m wondering if the people there are going to realize that he’s beholden to a party which doesn’t have their interests at heart.

Granted, this is a state which has sent Jay Rockefeller to the Senate for 4 terms, too.

teke184 on June 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

They liked him as governor in West Virginia. But West Virginia is lukewarm on Manchin as a senator. Obama and his agenda are hugely unpopular in the state. He will lose, yet again, in a landslide in WV. And the WV politicians know it. That’s why they are all trying to run as far away from Obama as possible. The question is whether or not the voters will be buying it.

Last time around, Machin came close to losing the special election for the senate seat, despite the fact that Byrd had held it since the dawn of time. This time around, if he can’t successfully convince voters he is not on board with Obama, he is toast.

Shump on June 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM

“We are prepared,” McConnell says, “to do a grand bargain.”

Says the guy who serves in a Senate that is +$16 Trillion dollars in debt and has $100 Trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities just over the next rise in the road…

*sigh*

… Fixing this is not going to be pleasant.

Seven Percent Solution on June 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Not to get too orwellian on you but what if he DOES realize that he will not be President.

A final gesture to the American people.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Does that gesture involve a single raised finger?

stukinIL4now on June 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM

A growing number of Senate Democrats are signaling

I would bet behind closed doors most of the senate and house dems
have had enough of him.

docflash on June 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

McConnell knows that Obama cannot agree to a grand bargain, so he is pre-emptively turning up the heat on Obama. Plus, McConnell is innoculating the GOP from being attacked for a purported unwillingness to deal in an election year.

matthew8787 on June 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Why do I have the feeling McConnell will be walking away from this with a limp?

Mr. Arrogant on June 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Look – more great news about the economy – unexpectedly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_JOB_OPENINGS?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Philly on June 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Isn’t Grand Bargain just Senate-speak for “super-committee”?

tommyboy on June 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Once again, McConnell is playing chess while the democrats are playing nuclear war.

SouthernGent on June 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM

If Obama were smart, he’d take the extension and tie in the debt limit increase.

He won’t.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

That was my guess at what the “grand bargain” would be as well. Avoid cuts (which they detest) and buy another year of debt with the deal of a tax rate freeze for the same 1 year period.

All of this would go away for Obama, businesses would have minimum stability, which is better than there they’re at, and the economy might at least avoid looking like it’s heading to recession just as voting starts this November.

If Obama doesn’t take this deal (much less make it himself) he deserves the sound drubbing he gets in November for the nose-diving economy.

gekkobear on June 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Mancin could be flipped. I could easily see him changing to an “R” if the GOP takes back the Senate after he wins re-election.

cdog0613 on June 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Isn’t Grand Bargain just Senate-speak for “super-committee”?

tommyboy on June 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

It means it’s time for the Senate Gangsters to roll into action, bi-partisanly stab conservatives in the back, then blame them for the failure of said “compromise”.

IE: McCain, Graham, Coburn, etc. Not to mention I’m sure Lugar would love to give us a parting shot before he heads out the door…

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM

If Obama doesn’t take this deal (much less make it himself) he deserves the sound drubbing he gets in November for the nose-diving economy.

gekkobear on June 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM

RAAAAACISM! and “Do nothing Congress” is all King Putt has to run on. I feel he will try his best to AVOID any “bargains” of any kind.

It all depends on whether Harry Reid will choose loyalty to Teh Won over what’s good for his party (not to mention the country) or not. If Barry doesn’t want this to happen, Reid will “table” it.

If it goes through (extension of debt ceiling, tax rates) barry will almost have to sign it. But one wonders given his new found “powers” if he wouldn’t declare that he isn’t going to enforce the part that extends the tax rates on the wealthy and collect the tax increase anyway.

Hey, wouldn’t be any LESS illegal would it?

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

McConnell is a fool who gets played over and over again by Reid. Too bad the other senator from Kentucky isn’t minority leader.

lonestar1 on June 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

McConnell says he’s prepared to “do a grand bargain”

…Mitch will bargin on how grand it will be to bend over!

KOOLAID2 on June 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM

That was my guess at what the “grand bargain” would be as well. Avoid cuts (which they detest) and buy another year of debt with the deal of a tax rate freeze for the same 1 year period.

All of this would go away for Obama, businesses would have minimum stability, which is better than there they’re at, and the economy might at least avoid looking like it’s heading to recession just as voting starts this November.

If Obama doesn’t take this deal (much less make it himself) he deserves the sound drubbing he gets in November for the nose-diving economy.

gekkobear on June 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I don’t think he’s as smart as his sycophants would have you believe, but I don’t think he’s so incompetent as to not take a deal. If not, the economy will nose dive right before the election and it will absolutely signal the end his presidency.

On the other hand, based on his previous actions, I wouldn’t be surprised if he once again agreed to something in principle and bails at the last minute. Say what you want about Obama, the one thing he is not, is a leader. He thinks he has to appease his lunatic base in order for them to vote for him. So while he might fire up his base, he’s alienating the Independent vote. If he were any kind of leader, he would take action he needed to take and his supporters would fall in line. But that’s not how he rolls. He’s to timid. The base is his everything.

He had a golden opportunity in Simpson- Bowles and pissed it away. Now, I just don’t see how he wins re-election.

Fish on June 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Whats the scariest thing you could ever hear from McConnell?

“lets make a deal”

BobMbx on June 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

On the other hand, based on his previous actions, I wouldn’t be surprised if he once again agreed to something in principle and bails at the last minute. Say what you want about Obama, the one thing he is not, is a leader. He thinks he has to appease his lunatic base in order for them to vote for him. So while he might fire up his base, he’s alienating the Independent vote. If he were any kind of leader, he would take action he needed to take and his supporters would fall in line. But that’s not how he rolls. He’s to timid. The base is his everything.

Good points. But the last time he walked away from the deal, Democrat leaders were telling him to walk away because they thought they had the upper hand and the economy would heal itself.

This time around, the Dem’s know they are in trouble so won’t be pushing Obama but will he walk away regardless? I think so.

WisRich on June 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Dear President 0bama: YOU SUCK!!!!

Signed, Senate Democrats

UltimateBob on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Oh, yeah, we forgot to add, we aren’t going over the cliff with you.

TulsAmerican on June 19, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Dear President 0bama: YOU SUCK!!!!

But we still got your back

Signed, Senate Democrats

Fixed for the reality of a people who will still vote for Pelosi/Reid/0bama as their leader.

MNHawk on June 19, 2012 at 1:28 PM

oh now they “are ready for a grand bargain? Why would McConnell come out, not only say that, use that term?

And after the backstabbing to the TP…he’s still allowed to talk for them?

wait…IS McConnell SPEAKING FOR THE TEA PARTY TOO??

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on June 19, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Geez McConnell … tell them no talks until the Senate Dems submit a budget.

PackerBronco on June 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I don’t believe, for a minute, these Democrats have actually taken economics 101 or give a damn about the U.S.economy, they’re all in tough elections back home and want to seem reasonable. If they ever get a filibuster proof majority again they’ll be Rahming through legislation like it’s going out of style.

VOTE THEM OUT.

bflat879 on June 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM

A DEAL? What deal, McConnell? Straight up extension or permanent law.

We have eunuchs representing GOP.

riddick on June 19, 2012 at 2:30 PM

McConnell knows there is a deal out there that simplifies the code and lowers rates – how low and whether it would be statically revenue neutral would be the interesting parts.

Not even the democrats want to raise taxes in a recession whatever the stupid opinion polls are, because they know a tax hike – along with the spending hikes it would facilitate – would kill all their re-election chances not to mention kill what is left of the economy.

They also know that Obama stabbed Boehner in the back the last time so they won’t be getting much of what they want in any negotiations with the House. Better to ride the status quo and try and convince the electorate the GOP is being too partisian than agree to any deal which will be what the House wants it to be.

And also, why would they expect to stick their necks out when they know Obama couldn’t cut a deal if it was handed to him – there is that Boehner deal he broke coming up again. Could they in good conscience expect Obama not to double cross them? He double crossed Boehner when he had extracted some tax increases and asked for more at the last minute. Obama had a GOP House Speaker ready to discuss revenue enhancements – statically scored as tax increases – after the tea party threw a whole lot of Dims out of the Congress in the last elections; AND HE COULDN’T EVEN TAKE IT!!!

Obama is just stupid – and the Dims in congress may be many things, but walking the plank alone so they can lose their re-election is a stupid thing they won’t be doing.

Zomcon JEM on June 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

wildcat72 on June 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Employers are also cutting as many jobs as they can. Obama will not compromise. He had a chance to show what he is made of last year during the debt ceiling process and he walked away, rather than make the deal.

dogsoldier on June 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Only 7?

I’m kind of surprised about that.

molonlabe28 on June 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM

McConnell is part of the reason that the Senate will be retained by the Democrats in November. It doesn’t matter who is President. Gridlock.

Decoski on June 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM