House Dems Reject Obama Compromise on Billionaire Tax Cut

December 9, 2010
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Just a few hours ago, the House Democrats passed a resolution rejecting the bonus tax cut for millionaires and billionaires as currently written. Just after the vote, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said via Twitter, “We will work to improve it before having a floor vote.”

This is huge news in America, as just yesterday it was widely assumed President Obama’s compromise with the FOX-GOP over the billionaire tax cuts would stand uncontested by the lame duck Dems in the House of Representatives.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, VT, caucuses with the Democrats) said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the other day that “the American people are outraged” over President Obama’s willingness to give in so quickly to FOX-GOP demands that tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires be expanded even after the GOP hijacked the economy and threatened to let middle class tax cuts expire if they don’t get their way.

Senator Sanders said, “We can win this fight. We can get a handful of Republicans to join us.”

Blitzer said in response to the Senator, “Yes, but you have six Democrats in the Senate who are voting with the Republicans, saying, in a time of economic recession, distress, you don’t raise taxes on anyone.”

To which Senator Bernie Sanders replied, “Yes, well, that is what the millionaires and billionaires always say [but] as Warren Buffett pointed out recently, when times are good, when times are bad, we always — they always want tax breaks for the very rich. The reality is, according to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), if we’re serious about creating jobs in this country, the worst option — the least effective option — is giving tax breaks to billionaires. The best option is to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure.”

Sanders went on to say his office received over 800 phone calls yesterday, almost 100% against the billionaire tax cuts.

As for criticism of President Obama by members of his own party for the President’s seeming habit of caving into Republican demands time and time again, signaling a willingness to compromise on the billionaire tax cuts in the early stages of negotiations without fighting for the progressive position — just as he did with the health care bill when he ditched the public option, and with COP15 last year when he tossed the climate deal for the non-binding Copenhagen Accord – Senator Sanders chose his words carefully:

“Well, look, don’t get me into being overly critical of the President,” the Senator said. “I like him. I respect him. He’s a friend of mine. He happens to be wrong on this issue.”

Senator Sanders continued, “One of the things [President Obama] did say during the campaign is that we were not going to continue Bush’s tax breaks for the richest people in this country.” The Senator from Vermont said the President’s compromise with Republicans does exactly that, and the Democrats will not stand for it.

Today’s resolution by House Democrats to reject the millionaire and billionaire tax cuts seems to echo the Senator’s sentiments.

Here’s what readers can do if you’re passionate about this issue:

MoveOn.org is raising funds to help their campaign for a fair tax deal. This includes TV ads, polling, and grassroots organizing. They’re calling for small contributions of even $5 to help keep their ads on the air in critical markets where they hope to move public opinion. I’m not raising money for MoveOn.org but if you want to give to a cause, this is certainly a worthy one to consider. If you’d prefer to roll up your sleeves and get to work, you can make some calls.

If you think Congress should not add $700 Billion Dollars to the American deficit by giving more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, let them know. Call your Senator. Call your Representative. You can hit the MoveOn website for more information.

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