Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are so exasperated by President Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans that they're offering up their own progressive-friendly proposal -- and lashing out at the White House.
At a press conference today, CBC members basically said they didn't believe Obama will be able roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest in the midst of a presidential election year. Obama has said he'll fight for the an expiration of the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans after the two-year extension contained in his deal.
It is much, much too late for the CBC to weigh on in this debate. It is difficult to understand why they would wait until this late a date to make a move. Makes no sense. Looks like posturing. In any case, the members are speaking up in direct opposition to President Obama's deal:
From the Washington Post:
Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was joined by CBC members Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Donald Payne (N.J.) and Donna Christensen (V.I.) in announcing the CBC's position on the package, which Lee said she made clear at House Democrats' meeting on Wednesday with Vice President Biden.
"We are simply here to say that we want a fair deal," Payne said. "You know, there was the New Deal under Roosevelt, and then there was a Fair Deal under Truman. Every new deal is not necessarily fair, and we see this new deal as not necessarily fair."
And from ABC News:
When asked whether the deal proposed by President Obama would be bad for African Americans specifically, U.S. Virgin Islands delegate Donna Christensen, said it would be harmful to African Americans because it could take money away that would otherwise be steered toward other programs.
"I do think that a major part of our objection is that we feel that it’s going to be bad for African Americans," Christensen said. "The Republicans have said, for example on health care reform, that one of the ways they plan to attack it is by the appropriations process, by starving the provisions, and I think this is the first step."
The Black Caucus did not announce what they intended to do about the Obama Deal, but made clear, as did the caucus vote the other day, that they oppose it. They did put forward a plan, however, which closely aligns with the House Democratic bill, while adding and adjusting the President's payroll tax cut:
The better way to go, Scott and the other members of the CBC said, was to propose an alternative to Obama's tax cut deal now that Democrats running for office in two years could be proud of. To Scott, that means a two-year extension of only the middle and lower class cuts -- not the permanent extension Obama bargained for -- and no extension of the upper class cuts at all.
Scott's plan includes 13 months of additional unemployment insurance, "a payroll tax holiday or equivalent payment, such as a tax rebate check, with guarantees
that Social Security will not be deprived of revenue" and the two-year extension on the middle and lower class Bush tax cuts along with extensions of the tax programs aimed at the middle class Obama has put into place.
I applaud the CBC's stance, but this is coming a bit late in the cycle in my opinion. Nor did they say they would withold votes for anything but the House plan, which would move the upcoming Senate bill that much further away from passage.
Still, it is pretty significant that this is the first major bill where the CBC has taken a public stance against the President.