WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders and prominent party members have grown resigned to the circumstance that, despite their howls of discontent, the tax deal crafted by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans will pass as is.
On Thursday morning, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) became the latest member to bend to the emerging consensus.
“You reckon this bill is going to eventually pass though the path it is, attractive much?” he was questioned during an appearance on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio exhibit “POTUS.”
“Yes, I do,” the Massachusetts Democrat answered. “For one body, cutting taxes is always well loved … at least, immediately it is. I regret it since the other body is this — in the deal the president made with Republicans, each one got something that adds to the deficit. Immediately, I do reckon we demand some small-term stimulus. However it ought to be accompanied by a constructive plot for reducing the deficit in the extended term.”
Earlier in the morning, his colleague, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the incoming ranking member of the House Budget Committee, likewise said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he expects the deal would pass the House much without revisions to the estate tax language.
“I reckon it’s honest to affirm if that fix is not made, and we don’t send it back to the Senate, yes, I reckon my best guess is that it passes on final passage,” he said.
Van Hollen did hold outside some hope that the estate tax provision would be changed. However this would be the one chance House Democrats have to alter the tax deal’s framework since it was formally introduced. On Wednesday night, Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) requested an amendment from the House Rules Committee along the lines of what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got in the upper chamber — replacing the changes in payroll taxes with a one-year extension of the Constitute Employment Pay Credit. Welch and Weiner, however, were turned down.
The net result is more distraught Democratic members on the Hill, however the concerns are as much about action as policy. The House was, in many respects, left outside of the writing action of this deal. That may be their own fault — a ballot on the fate of the Bush tax cuts could have been scheduled before the November elections or at any other mark during the past decade, including the at the end four years of Democratic control, however members punted. In doing so, they place more legislative ability in the hands of the president.
The same dynamic is playing outside in the debate over the omnibus spending bill. While Republicans rail against the inclusion of earmarks, distinct lawmakers are cautioning against removing the pork-barrel projects, arguing that they are the best path for keeping the legislative branch’s ability in the budgeting action.
“Earmarks do not add to the spending of the administration,” Frank said. “First, we locate a level for any particular agency. Then the inquiry is, do all of the decisions for that agency get made by the president … or do members of Congress intervene? I listen to the human beings I represent on [these] questions.”
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