Updated Sept. 22, 4:58 p.m.
Republicans want to prevent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from making Republicans go out on a limb for the wealthiest Americans just so close to November. With only weeks to go before the election, they’re putting dozens of House Democrats on the spot, demanding a single vote on extending all of the Bush tax cuts — including the tax cuts that solely benefit the wealthiest Americans.
The GOP pressure might make some Democrats cave, and will certainly make others hide from questions about the Bush tax cuts. But unless Pelosi plays hardball on tax cuts, it’s these Democrats who will decide whether the wealthiest Americans get to keep all of their tax cuts.
Below is a list of 50 Democrats. Many of them are already on the record backing an extension of the top-bracket tax cuts. We’ve marked them with an “L” to indicate that they’ve signed a letter to Pelosi asking for all the Bush tax cuts to be extended.
Others are Democrats who might, based on their voting records or their current political vulnerabilities, break with leadership on this issue. (For instance, we’ve marked Blue Dogs “BD”). Some of these members will no doubt side with Pelosi. Others not listed here might surprise us and side with the GOP. The list is not meant to be a perfect summary of Dem fence-sitters and tax cut proponents. It’s to demonstrate that Pelosi has a lot of whipping to do if she’s going to win the tax cut fight on straight up or down votes.
We’ll update this list as the tax cut fight continues and the line dividing the Democrats comes into greater focus.
|John Adler||New Jersey|
|Jason Altmire||Pennsylvania||L, BD|
|Michael Arcuri||New York||BD|
|John Barrow||Georgia||L, BD|
|Melissa Bean||Illinois||L||Sept. 22 — A Bean spokesman told TPM today that she would not comment beyond what is in the letter until the leadership has presented a plan.|
|Sanford Bishop||Georgia||L, BD|
|Dan Boren||Oklahoma||L, BD|
|Allen Boyd||Florida||L, BD|
|Ben Chandler||Kentucky||BD||Sept. 22 — Chandler told constituents he wants the cuts extended for every income bracket, at least temporarily. He said he would vote for the middle class only cuts if that’s what leadership presents for a floor vote.|
|Travis Childers||Mississippi||L, BD|
|Gerry Connolly||Virginia||Sept. 22 — A Connolly spokesman told TPM today that he has not changed his position he’s held since 2009. Connolly wants to extend all of the cuts temporarily for at least one year. Connolly wants a vote on the cuts before the election. The spokesman would not answer a hypothetical on what he’d vote for if the leadership doesn’t give him the option he prefers.|
|Jim Cooper||Tennessee||L, BD|
|Jim Costa||California||L, BD|
|Lincoln Davis||Tennessee||L, BD|
|Joe Donnelly||Indiana||L, BD|
|Brad Ellsworth||Indiana||L, BD||Sept. 22 — Ellsworth appeared on Fox News to advocate his plan to extend all of the tax cuts. He said he wants to see a vote before recess. “We should pass those directly, and we should do it before we go home, before we recess,” Ellsworth said. “If we get it off the table it’s one less thing we have to talk about going into November.”|
|Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin||South Dakota||L, BD||Sept. 22 — A Herseth-Sandlin spokeswoman told TPM they would not comment on any hypotheticals, adding, “I think her stamp on that letter is pretty self explanatory.”|
|Frank Kratovil||Maryland||L, BD|
|Jim Marshall||Georgia||L, BD|
|Jim Matheson||Utah||L, BD|
|Mike McIntyre||North Carolina||L, BD|
|Michael McMahon||New York||L|
|Charlie Melancon||Louisiana||BD||Sept 22 — According to the Associated Press, “Though he regularly tries to distance himself from the Obama administration, Melancon on Monday again backed the President’s position on Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire.” He’s made similar public arguments many times.|
|Walt Minnick||Idaho||L, BD|
|Harry Mitchell||Arizona||L, BD|
|Glenn Nye||Virginia||L, BD|
|Earl Pomeroy||North Dakota||L, BD|
|Mike Ross||Arkansas||L, BD|
|John Salazar||Colorado||L, BD|
|Kurt Schrader||Oregon||BD||Sept. 22 — The Oregonian reports that Schrader supports President Obama’s plan to let tax cuts for the wealthy expire.|
|Heath Shuler||North Carolina||BD|
|Zack Space||Ohio||L, BD|
|Harry Teague||New Mexico||L|
Correction: Baron Hill was incorrectly listed as a signatory to the letter to Pelosi. We have corrected it in the table above. [September 21, 2010]
Additional reporting by Christina Bellantoni and Elizabeth Harrison
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.