Or, at least, that’s how this Politico story makes it look:
Red-district Democrats are pressuring Speaker Nancy Pelosi to extend Bush-era income tax rates for all brackets, revealing a high-stakes rift between the party’s vulnerable moderates and its safe liberals as the issue increasingly dominates the national debate.
POLITICO has obtained a draft of a letter from rank-and-file lawmakers to Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urging them not to let tax rates rise for Americans at the highest income levels.
“We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term, to provide families and businesses the certainty required to plan and make sound budget decisions,” the House members wrote in a letter that was being circulated for signatures on Friday and is expected to be delivered on Monday or Tuesday.
Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah, Glenn Nye of Virginia, Melissa Bean of Illinois and Gary Peters of Michigan drafted the letter and are working to gather support, mostly from the moderate Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions, for at least a temporary extension of the rates for top income earners as well as those in the lower brackets.
I must admit, however, that I’m not so sure that the authors of that letter are more concerned about the economy, or about saving their own hides in what seems to be shaping up as a very anti-Democrat election cycle. Either way, I am glad to have them fighting their own party leadership (Obama-Pelosi-Reid) on what amounts to a tax hike in a recession.
Of course, some Democrats are still desperately trying to spin things:
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen and Obama have accused Republicans of holding the middle class “hostage” because they want all of the tax rates extended.
In point of fact, there are not enough Republicans in the House to stop a tax cut if that’s really what Pelosi wants to pass. In the Senate they might be able to by filibuster, but it’s entirely possible that the Senate could push it through using the Reconciliation rules, which, if I remember right, were created at least in part for just this sort of thing. Therefore, saying that the GOP is holding the cuts “hostage” is at best misleading and at worst a bald-faced lie… not that we should be surprised at seeing the latter from Obamacrats.