“We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term, to provide families and businesses the certainty required to plan and make sound budget decisions,” the House members write in a letter that was being circulated for signatures on Friday and is expected to be delivered today or Tuesday.

Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah), Glenn Nye (Virginia), Melissa Bean (Ill.) and Gary Peters (Mich.) drafted the letter and are working to gather support, mostly from the moderate Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions, for at least a temporary extension of the rates for top income earners as well as those in the lower brackets…

The situation may well be lose-lose-lose for Democrats. If they raise taxes on higher income Americans, they risk alienating moderate voters and campaign contributors in closely contested races in Republican-leaning districts. If they freeze the rates for everyone, they risk depressing an already deflated liberal base in districts all across the country — including those represented by centrist Democrats. And, if they kick the can down the road with a one- or two-year extension for the highest earners, President Barack Obama will have to wrestle with the issue again heading into his 2012 re-election campaign.