House Democrats, most of whom were infuriated by the tax deal that President Obama struck with Republicans, have given up on their threatened efforts to block the compromise. The Hill reports: “For House Democrats, fight over tax cuts is now about saving face.” Maybe it always was:
House Democratic efforts to block President Obama’s tax bill have dwindled into a battle to save face as they come to the realization they will have little opportunity to rework the bipartisan compromise.
Party leaders were debating on Tuesday whether to bring up amendments to the bill for a vote even as Democrats acknowledged the overwhelming Senate support for the tax deal created an “urgency” to get legislation to the president’s desk.
The House Democratic Caucus approved a non-binding resolution last week to reject the Obama-GOP compromise “in its current form.” But in the days since, with little support from the White House and none from Republicans for changing the framework, House leaders have backed off suggestions they would block the tax bill from coming to a vote. And one liberal critic of the plan said Democrats were resigned to the fact the deal would go forward largely intact.
My first reaction when word of the compromise emerged was that the Democrats had, in effect, admitted that the Republicans were right all along. The Dems have railed against the Bush-era tax cuts for years, yet they have controlled Congress for four years without lifting a finger to change them. Now, when the issue finally can’t be avoided any longer, what did they do? They meekly agreed to an extension of all the tax rates of the 2000s, because doing otherwise would devastate the economy. QED.
While there are elements of the compromise that conservatives don’t like, let’s not lose sight of the broader principle: for the Democrats to admit, after all these years, that their attacks on President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” were nothing but political posturing and that higher rates will indeed damage the economy, is a huge victory of which conservatives should be proud.