by Jim Nintzel
House Democrats have rejected the tax/unemployment benefits/stealth stimulus deal worked out by the Obama administration and Republicans earlier this week. A press release from Congressman Raul Grijlava, who evidently believes he'll be able to craft a better deal once he's in the House minority:
The House Democratic Caucus moments ago rejected by voice vote the tax package negotiated by President Obama and Congressional Republicans that would have included a tax cut for the wealthiest two percent of the country and a major relaxation of the standard estate tax rate. The decision means the package will not be brought to the House floor for a vote this year.
“The House was not consulted during the negotiations that produced this package, and our support cannot be taken for granted now or in the future,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Slashing taxes for the wealthiest two percent during a major recession is simply unreasonable, and the hardworking American people deserve a better deal. I was proud to vote against this hastily produced package, and I believe the House made the right decision today.”
Grijalva pointed out that Republicans set to assume the House majority in January “have tried to simultaneously slash taxes for the wealthy and cut education, health care, Social Security and every other program they can get their hands on. This is not a path to
a more secure, productive or successful society. A vision of America that prioritizes the pocketbooks of the wealthiest two percent at the expense of the other 98 percent is not a vision the voters support, and I believe Democrats need to stand against it at all costs.”
Republicans almost uniformly voted no Wednesday on extending a one-time $250 payment to Social Security recipients who, for the second consecutive year, will not receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase in benefit payments. As described in the Huffington Post:
President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors barely getting by on their Social Security checks face undue hardships without the COLA increase.
But most Republicans contended that the nation couldn't afford the estimated $14 billion cost of the payment.
“Republicans are concerned about $14 billion to support Social Security recipients, but only too happy to add $900 billion to the national debt with their upper-income tax cuts,” Grijalva said. “This is beyond irresponsible—it’s a failure to responsibly govern. The House will push strongly for a better tax deal and will make sure the right priorities are put forth, no matter how many Republicans hold their breath.”