Skip to comments.Centrist Dems lying low on deficit negotiations to avoid 2014 backlash
Posted on 12/06/2012 8:04:33 PM PST by neverdem
Senate Democratic centrists, whom Grover Norquist describes as the hostages in the tax debate, are lying low and keeping quiet about competing proposals from President Obama and House GOP leaders.
These centrists have declined to endorse Obamas opening offer to raise taxes by $1.6 trillion, twice the size of the tax increase most of them voted for in July.
They have also held their fire on House Speaker John Boehners (R-Ohio) plan, released Monday, that would raise $800 billion in tax revenues and cut $1.2 trillion in spending, which is closer to the ratio of the Bowles-Simpson plan popular with many of them this Congress.
What Im doing on all of those fiscal cliff-type issues is just waiting to see what package we put together, said Sen. Mark Pryor (D), who faces reelection in Republican-leaning Arkansas in 2014.
Pryor said he wanted to see more detail in Boehners plan.
Just sort of general and vague statements about what he might support at some point doesnt really move the ball very far down the road, Pryor said of Boehners plan. He said he also wanted to know more about Obamas blueprint before passing judgment.
Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose anti-tax pledge is a significant obstacle to a deficit-reduction deal, has rested his hopes on Democratic centrists facing reelection balking at a major tax increase.
Our hostages are the 20 Democrats up in 14. Well send them either piece by piece or one at a time over to the White House to negotiate, Norquist told The Hill in an interview earlier this year.
Democrats running for reelection in swing- and Republican-leaning states know they will be pummeled by millions of dollars worth of attack ads from third-party groups for any votes they cast to raise taxes.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who faces voters in 2014, declined to endorse the substance of the plan Secretary Timothy Geithner circulated on Capitol Hill last week.
I dont know if that ratio is going to end up being final, he said of Obamas call for a 2-to-1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, another Democrat up for reelection in a red state, Louisiana, said Boehners offer is better than no proposal.
I know that Speaker Boehner is really trying, so any proposal is better than no proposal, she said.
Senate Democrats face as difficult an electoral map in 2014 as they did in 2012. It took weeks for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to persuade Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to take the job as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Senate Democrats have to defend 20 seats, while Republicans have only 13 up for reelection.
Obamas negotiating position, however, has been helped by an emerging consensus among Democratic centrists that income tax rates on the wealthy must be increased in order to reach a deal.
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said he thinks the rates for the top brackets will have to increase.
I think so, but Ill keep my powder dry. Its between the president and Mr. Boehner, he said.
Johnson faces a tough race in 2014, likely against former Gov. Mike Rounds (R).
Sen. Mark Begich (D), who is running for reelection in Alaska, another red state, agreed that a final deal to avoid the fiscal cliff will have to raise income tax rates on the nations wealthiest families.
Republicans have taken a hard-line stance against raising income tax rates, arguing it would slow job creation.
Democratic centrists who are not running in 2014 have also been careful to stay out of the public spotlight.
When asked about Boehners plan, retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) offered a terse No comment.
Sen. Jon Tester (D), who narrowly won reelection last month, said he had not seen Boehners proposal and wanted to take a peek before discussing it.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2012 cycle, declined to render judgment on the presidents or Boehners position.
Im being stubbornly vague because I want us to get a deal, and if you start drawing lines in the sand, it makes it that much harder to get a deal, she said.
But McCaskill, like her centrist colleagues, says Republicans must give ground on raising tax rates.
Im just glad we got two proposals, she said. Lets just hope we can split the difference and they bend on rates. If they dont bend on rates, we wont get a deal, I dont think.
“Sen. Mark Begich (D), who is running for reelection in Alaska, another red state, agreed that a final deal to avoid the fiscal cliff will have to raise income tax rates on the nations wealthiest families.”
Palin should go after that seat.
What exactly is a “centrist Democrat?”
A Democrat who markets himself or herself as a fiscal and/or social comservative in order to get elected in a center-right district with weak or compromised Republican candidates. That’s what a “centrist Democrat” is. They’ll horsetrade for cover on highly controversial votes in order to maintain viability back home, but will toe the line reliably when necessary.
Not mich different from a RINO, really. They just play for the other team.
The Republicans ought to offer the Democrats a clean bill with no amendments in the House allowing Obama to have the tax hikes he wants. The Democrats can pass it in the House, Republicans can vote present, then let the senate vote. Then they can negotiate over the rest of the Bush tax cuts, spending and the debt ceiling. Its the best they can do.
GOP is going to get creamed in 2014 at this rate
“Centrist Democrat” — LOLOL.
The Republicans and conservatives have got to start calling the tax raise on the “rich” Marxist class warfare, and define it through the words of Lenin and Marx.
If you define the enemy and his tactics, you make it easier to get people to support your side. Plain and simple.
Take a Marx/Lenin quote and juxtapose it with one by Obama, Geitner, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, etc.
Making a list, checking it twice, show that the Dems are dirty as red lice.
Don’t let the enemy define himself or you. Get there “the firstest with the mostest”.
Sun Tzu - “KNOW YOUR ENEMY AND YOU WILL KNOW THEIR WEAKENESS”.
The republican party is doing a “WeekEnd at Bernies”..
Its quite dead you know?....
Many/most republicans are considering if they haven’t already left the party..
2014 may be the mouse that farted for the republicans..
Why all the public posturing and handwringing? The Democrats control the WH and the Senate. That’s 2/3s of the lawmaking trioka.
Let Obama propose and Reid pass the Obama budget as presented by Geithner. Then let the House vote on it.
Does any rational person really think Americans want what Obama proposes. The last Obama budget died in the Senate 99-0. Can’t the GOP get thicker skin?
We don’t need more or higher taxes. We have a spending problem at the local, county, state and national level.
Centerist Dem= Dem smack dab in the middle (center) of the DEM-ocialist Party .
Centerist Dem= Dem smack dab in the middle (center) of the DEM-ocialist Party .
Palin’s popularity took a beating in Alaska. Any indication that things have improved for her there?
I, too, would love to see Sarah in the senate!
I will never vote for dem or repub again. What difference does it make? They get elected then do whatever the hell they want. Both parties!
What backlash? If there was no backlash in 2012, what possible reason is there to believe there will be serious changes for the better in 2012?
Freeze or lower federal spending.
Freeze or lower federal TAXES.
But along with those two things, one more:
BRING BACK US JOBS!
For crying out loud people, how are we supposed to get out of this growing mess we are in, when neither party is advocating for America jobs?
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