President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan—complete with tax increases on the wealthiest Americans—won high marks from his liberal base encouraged to see Obama back in fighting mode, but the plan is set to hit a brick wall in Congress — even in the Democratically controlled Senate and the bipartisan super committee.
Moderate Senate Democrats are signaling strong resistance to tax increases in the President’s deficit-reduction plan, and the early disapproval within his own party will no doubt give Republicans on the deficit super committee plenty of cover to block any and all revenue-raising aspects of Obama’s plan.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Monday night that he’s put off by all the talk about increasing taxes when he believes the primary and only goal of the deficit super committee should be finding cuts to hack away at the deficit.
“Tax increases have to come second to cutting,” he said. “I was just home over the weekend and that’s what [my constituents] we’re all talking about.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who represents a state whose economy is dependent on energy production, last week said the offset for Obama’s new spending plans, which includes the elimination of oil and gas subsidies, “was not going to fly.”
“Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told Politico last week when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”
Clearly trying to withhold her opposition — at least for the day, Landrieu ducked into an elevator when reporters tried to stop her Monday night to ask her opinion about the President’s speech.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a co-chair of the deficit super committee, gave an oblique response when asked Monday night about her response to the President’s speech and how it would affect the super committee’s work, noting that she hopes the panel can take a “fair and balanced” approach.
Despite high legislative hurdles that could deadlock the super committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a die-hard liberal charged with handling Democratic communications strategy, was energized Monday night.
“I think he gave a great address and we are drawing distinctions on where we want to go and where Republicans don’t want us to go,” he told TPM.
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