Facing increasing pressure from Senate Republicans and the White House to pass the tax cut compromise bill unchanged, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today suggested strongly that the urgency of preventing middle-income tax increases on January 1 will keep the White House’s framework in tact. However, unhappy House Democrats will have a chance to go on the record in support of making changes to the package, though Democratic leadership won’t be doing much to help those changes along.
“The vote in the Senate yesterday, 83-15…there is strong support for moving ahead,” Hoyer told reporters this morning. “And the reason there’s strong support for moving ahead is because there is a very keen sense that allowing middle-income taxes to go up on January 1 will not be good for the economy.”
“That urgency is reflected in that 83-15 vote,” he added.
Despite the best efforts of reporters at his press conference this morning, Hoyer didn’t show all of his cards. But he suggested that a combination of pressure from Republicans and the need to resolve this issue quickly will prevail over any attempt to scrap the deal.
“If the House Democratic Leadership decides to make partisan changes, they will ensure that every American taxpayer will see a job-killing tax hike on January 1st,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement yesterday evening.
So how does Dem leadership squeeze balance those two competing pressures?
“There are many members of the House that want to reflect their view on a number of the issues in the bill,” Hoyer said.
This would likely be reflected in attempts to amend the bill that’s expected to pass in the Senate later today — to change the estate tax provision, among others — that would not get 218 votes. Hoyer demurred when I asked if the leadership would whip those amendments.
“We’ve had that vote. Pretty much people have expressed their opinion on that vote. We’ve had that vote. Now people are going to have to decide again on the urgency of this bill, and what they believe will facilitate or not facilitate this bill moving forward.”
The end game is coming into focus.
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 email@example.com.