Before news broke Monday that the House had no plans to vote on a fiscal cliff deal, a progressive group urged Congressional Democrats to walk away from any deal that didn’t include raising taxes on households making over $250,000.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent an email to Democratic senior staffers in both the House and Senate at 3 p.m. ET Monday, after word trickled out that a deal in the works would only raise taxes for households making $450,000 and above (or $400,000 for individuals.)
The email, obtained by TPM, argued that Democrats have no practical reason to cave on taxes and would actually have increased leverage if Congress blows through the midnight deadline to avoid the cliff.
“Democrats hold the cards, and our leverage increases in less than 10 hours if we hold strong,” the email, signed by the group’s co-founders Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, read.
Progressive anger over the tax portion of the emerging deal was raised on Monday morning by liberal Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who argued that Democrats might not sign on to a deal that only raises taxes on those making $400,000 or more. “As I see this thing developing — quite frankly, as I’ve said before — no deal is better than a bad deal, and this looks like a very bad deal, the way this is shaking up,” he said on the Senate floor Monday.
Harkin later told CNN, “They think Republicans may object? We may object.”
Here’s the full email by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
Hill friends… On behalf of nearly a million progressives nationwide, we wanted to emphasize that this is a moment to stand on principle.
There has always been room for negotiation, but throughout this debate progressives have had 2 bright-line positions: Tax rates on those making $250,000 must go up to at least the Clinton rates and there must be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits.
The president ran on and won on $250,000 twice. Voters across the country overwhelmingly agree with the $250,000 threshold (see http://2014polling.com). And in real human costs, the billions lost by raising the threshold to $400,000 will come out of the pockets of grandparents and working families across the nation. Meanwhile, individuals making over $30,000 per month would get a tax break.
Democrats hold the cards, and our leverage increases in less than 10 hours if we hold strong.
The public is paying attention, and we urge all Democrats to stand on principle at this moment. The current deal violates progressive principles. It should be opposed.
Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, Co-Founders, Progressive Change Campaign Committee
The memo also included a TPM piece from Friday in which Green is quoted urging Democrats to hold their “bright line position” on taxes and entitlements in fiscal cliff negotiations.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.