As I mentioned yesterday, Mpls. Mayor R.T. Rybak enthusiastically supports the “framework” compromise between Pres. Obama and the Repubs. He followed up our chat with a post on his own blog making the same arguments (Obama is keeping his core commitments) and adds a list of Obama’s accomplishments to date.
The White House, which is in awkward semi-campaign mode for the deal that it sort of hates, has been releasing a stream of endorsements from elected officials (mostly, but not all, Democratic mayors and governors) and today that put out a press release linking to Rybak.
Meanwhile, as MinnPost’s Washington guy Derek Wallbank noted a few hours ago, the deal may be falling apart for lack of support from Democrats. The House Dem caucus has voted not to bring the deal up for a vote (and, for a few more weeks, the Dems control what comes to a vote in the House). Some Dem House members actually started a chant of “Just Say No!” during the meeting.
That vote could be a big development. The House Dems say they want changes in the deal. I have no idea whether they can get them, but the implicit threat is that if they can’t get satisfactory changes they will block the deal, the tax cuts (and unemployment benefits) will expire and the parties will go to the political trenches to blame one another.
I have previously argued that the Dems should be able to win that argument. Obama (and Rybak) have argued that tax cuts for the middle class and benefits for the unemployed should not be held hostage to politics.
Most of those lefties who denounce the deal, denounce it on its merits (this Robert Reich blogpost calls the deal an “abomination,” which I call strong language). But I’ve seen less discussion of how the Dems, or the middle class, or the unemployed, come out ahead on the next round of negotiations. Obama has explicitly argued that the prospects for getting a better deal next year, when the Repubs take over the House and add to their cloture-proof minority in the Senate, are poor. On the other hand, one of the currently fashionable criticisms of Obama is that he is not particularly experienced or talented at this kind of congressional brinksmanship.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, one of the leaders of the rebellion in the House caucus, told ABC News:
“I personally believe the Republicans are bluffing on saying they’re going to kill off unemployment insurance for millions of Americans just before Christmas. And I would love to have that debate.”