Obama's bipartisan meeting on tax cuts postponed

The bipartisan White House meeting President Obama had hoped to hold this week to discuss tax cuts and other matters has been postponed, officials said Tuesday.

Obama had invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House Thursday to discuss the way forward after the midterm elections. The meeting was to focus on economic concerns, particularly the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 that are due to expire at year's end.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said late Tuesday that the meeting "was never confirmed in the first place." Spokesman Don Stewart added: "The meeting will happen, the schedulers just haven't confirmed the date/time yet. Nobody 'pulled out.'"

Hopefully the meeting never happens -- at least not until Republicans are willing to compromise, which they have repeatedly made clear is not in the cards.

And while some pundits will assume this is bad news for President Obama and Democrats (WaPo's reporter called it a "bad omen" for him), this may actually be the best thing that has happened to Democrats since the election. They've got a good position on tax cuts. They've got a popular position on tax cuts. There's no reason for them not to fight for their position on tax cuts. And maybe now that this meeting has been postponed, they actually will engage in that fight.

Update: White House statement from Robert Gibbs:

At the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner due to scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses, the President’s meeting with bipartisan leaders will now take place at the White House on Tuesday, November 30th.  

"Scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses"? Are you kidding me? They couldn't be bothered to spend an hour or two meeting with the President? This is about as obvious a slap in the face as you can get. And what makes it all the more maddening is that comes after Obama has signaled that he'd be willing to compromise -- if not cave -- on tax cuts. Hopefully, the White House interprets this for what it is and realizes that these guys aren't interested in anything but destroying the President. The only way to get them to the table is to force them to the table. And you don't force them to the table by telling them they can have whatever they want.

Update: Wouldn't it be nice if the White House and Congressional Dems used the time between now and the rescheduled meeting on November 30 to announce that they will have an up-or-down vote on extending the middle-income tax cuts as soon as Congress reconvenes, with or without Republicans?

Update: Harry Reid appears to be heading in the wrong direction -- he says he's open to continuing current tax policy on a temporary basis. Don't be fooled by the "temporary" word -- the issue is whether we change current tax policy, not whether we extend it temporarily or permanently.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 03:34 PM PST.


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