7 Senate Democrats Are Betraying Obama by Supporting the Bush Tax Cuts

Even though President Obama wants to kill the Bush tax cuts and 74% of Americans agree with him, there are 7 Democratic senators who support extending the unpopular tax cuts.

Obstruction from the right has become a familiar topic in American politics, but who would have guessed that it is obstruction from Democrats that is giving Senate Republicans their best chance to extend the Bush tax cuts.

According to The Hill, there are a group of seven Democratic senators that are supporting Republican efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts. These senators fall into two categories, Democrats who are retiring from the Senate this year and those who are up for reelection.

Two retiring Democratic senators, Jim Webb (D-VA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) have gone on record as opposing killing the Bush tax cuts. A bigger concern for Democrats is that there are five incumbent senators who also oppose letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Within that group, four are running for reelection this year. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Sen. Mark Pryor is up for reelection in 2014 which has helped him delay a decision on the issue, but being that he faces a tough reelection campaign in Arkansas, the odds are that his own political survival may require voting for an extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Within the context of polling, the position of the four Democrats up for reelection appears to make little sense. According to a new National Journal poll, only 26% of Americans want to see the tax cuts extended for another year. An even smaller eighteen percent support Mitt Romney’s position of making the tax cuts permanent. The opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts stretches across party lines and income divisions.

In short, this is a very unpopular policy. So why are Democrats defying the will of majority of the people and betraying their own president by supporting it?

The answer is Citizens United. Democrats in close reelection races are terrified of the millions of dollars in negative ads that will be run against them by shady outside groups if they oppose the Bush tax cuts.

Sen. Bernie Sanders recently described how Citizens United is being used to threaten and intimidate senators, “This is unprecedented and it is the most savage attack against American democracy, and the concept of one person, one vote that we have seen in our lifetime, and what it is is saying if you are a billionaire, you can buy elections. You can by politicians, and by the way, on the floor of the Senate, on the floor of the House, you can intimidate members, because you will be saying to them if you are going to vote against Wall Street, or the insurance companies, or the military industrial complex, you just do that, and we’re going to have millions of dollars in thirty second ads in your state this weekend.”

By announcing that they oppose getting rid of the Bush tax cuts, these seven Democrats have seriously weakened President Obama’s negotiating position. Thanks to their betrayal, Mitch McConnell finds himself just four votes short of the total needed to pass an extension of the tax cuts.

The American people don’t want the tax cuts extended for another year, but a group of cowardly Senate Democrats do.

If the president wins reelection, he would have the option of vetoing any extension of the Bush tax cuts that the Senate passes in the fall, but if Democrats allow Republican to load the bill with several poison pills this may not be an option. For example, the Bush tax cuts could be paired with tax cuts for the middle class, or more funding for unemployment benefits, or the transportation bill that would create two million jobs, which would put the president in the position of having to reject things the American people support along with the tax cuts for the rich.

Without the support of all of the Senate Democrats, the president’s bargaining position is diminished.

So before we see another stupid headline like this,

the left and all Americans need to take a good hard look at how a group of Senate Democrats defied their wishes, weakened their president, and sold them down the river.

47 Replies to “7 Senate Democrats Are Betraying Obama by Supporting the Bush Tax Cuts”

  1. But .. but .. but .. we need these guys!! They are better than the alternative. We need their votes to keep McConnell from becoming Majority Leader!! I wonder if anyone recognizes what’s wrong with all that.

  2. They are better than the GOP alternative on most issues, but the current campaign finance system has allowed these Democrats to go off the reservation and do whatever they please anytime they choose. The Bush tax cuts are a sterling example of the problems with our system.

  3. These so-called Democrats deserve to be defeated since they are spineless and fear-driven. They will lose anyway. It’s just a shame that it is a Republican who will defeat them and not a Progressive.

  4. Disappointing… a victory for the tea Party and Citizens United…a defeat for the American People.

  5. we can get their numbers & contact info out on twitter & fb & email them & put some pressure. Can’t just sit & do nothing.

  6. Nationwide polling isn’t really the issue. The more logical question is how does extending the Bush tax cuts poll in each state that these Senators represent, all of which are purple at best and mostly on the red side of purple.

  7. They are betraying our country because they think it will help them keep their jobs. They are betraying the Middle Class Americans they represent. They should be so ashamed.

  8. It’s spreading ignorance like your comment, Dan, that brings our country down.

    “Mr. Obama and most Democrats wanted the Bush-era tax cuts extended only for couples making less than $250,000 per year and individuals making less than $200,000. Republicans wanted the cuts permanently extended for all Americans, and if the tentative deal goes through they will have gotten their wish, at least temporarily.

    But the plan also includes concessions to Democrats, including the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 months.

    Mr. Obama said that while he strongly prefers not to extend the cuts for all, he had no choice but to agree to do so temporarily because Senate Republicans blocked efforts to extend the cuts for all but the top two percent in votes over the weekend.”


  9. Glad to see my Democratic PA Senator Bob Casey, Jr. isn’t one… unfortunately we also have Republican Senator Pat Toomey. While out of state voters may give these 7 senators a feel for how the COUNTRY feels, it’s MORE IMPORTANT for their own constituents to make their stand known.

  10. I’m so tired of Democrats trying to appease Republicans. If they’re ashamed of being Democrats, switch parties. These sort of Democrats allow the Republicans to define them. Everyone is so afraid of being cast as a liberal. For once, I wish they would proud to be FOR the people.

  11. Far more productive than condemning these Senators who face the onslaught of corporate money and tight races (my senator included) is support for them and well reasoned letters encouraging them to take the correct position. Allowing them to be replaced with a Republican is madness.

  12. My senator,Joe Manchin,has never acted like a democrat.He has always been on the side of big business and big money.Look at what is going on in WV,with all the raping and pillaging of the state by the oil,gas and coal companies.You folks that worry about not voting for someone like this just because he could be replaced by a republican,are grasping at straws.I would much rather have a R in there and know for sure what he stands for,then have someone with a D after their name,and never know which way the wind will blow.I could no more vote for Joe Manchin than I could vote for Mittens.

  13. Just wanted to tell you that i feel the same way. They are in effect treasonous because they are not in accord with what the people want

  14. Except that’s not true. The GOP lied and scared people about Obamacare. Remember the non-existent Death Panels? Polls done on what was in Obamacare; closing the senior Donut Hole, kids on parents policies until age 26, getting pure existing conditions covered, all tha, polls VERY HIGH – like in the 70% range.

    You can lie all you want, but don’t try to bullshit here. Every person here knows better…and knows you’re a f’in liar. Typical GOPer.

  15. It’s not treasonous to go against the people. That just makes them assholes. What is treasonous is the GOP getting together and plotting to block everyone Obama does. It’s treasonous to fuck with the full faith and credit of the US of A for political gain. I can only hope that the GOP and every liar who can still call the self one, goes extinct. And soon.

  16. Hey, they arent even Democrats, they are traitors. Vote them out with all the rest. We did it in PA with the fake Democrat Altmire.

  17. Democrats are facing an intransigent GOP, who are holding tax cuts hostage to the bigger picture. As citizens, we need to see the bigger picture.

    I encourage EACH OF YOU to stop whining here & call your elected representatives’ offices. Ask them WHY? The answer isn’t simple, but it does give some insight into how things are done in Washington. Which is to say, usually thru compromise. “Intransigent” is the opposite of “compromise”.

    As long as the GOP continue to opt for feel-good tax cuts instead of looking at the entirety of our federal budget & funding it adequately to meet its requirements, WE will be held hostage, as well as our national budget.

    The GOP wants us to believe the Dems are selling us out, but if the Dems hadn’t agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts, the middle class would have been hit with a tax increase -at a time when few of us can afford it. The cost of everything has gone up, millions are unemployed, and the GOP isn’t helping Obama in his bid to put some of the unemployed back to work -EVEN if it means the govt is the employer! It’s a Catch-22. Extend tax cuts or else.

    This is the unfortunate position Dems find themselves in now, having voted down George Bush’s tax cuts all those years ago, which we were told would end up costing us over $1 trillion.

    The GOP keep going back to it time & again & have used it effectively as a tool (actually, more like a sword) to get what they want.

    If we’re being told “we’re broke!” ask yourselves why. We certainly can turn on those money printers (just like Reagan did back in the 1980s when he spent like there was NO tomorrow). We certainly have trillions to loan the banksters. So WHY are our country’s needs being held hostage to these proceedings?

    Stop with the knee-jerk reactions & start asking questions.

  18. BINGO! It’s called compromise. I’ve watched for years as the Repubs have passed tax cuts, but didn’t reduce spending to account for reduced revenue. This has left us consistently in the RED.

    The GOP don’t speak for, nor do they take their marching orders from, ordinary American Citizens. A blogger asked why he can’t get a job under a Dem Prez? He had one under the GOP Prez’s, but can’t get a job right now -why?

    As long as conservatives (as in GOP, as in the monied classes who supposedly create jobs & donate to our elected officials’ campaigns, hello….) get their way with respect to taxes, etc, they’ll create jobs. Maybe.

    Raise their taxes? They’ll walk. Allow Americans to unionize? They’ll walk. Do ANYTHING that smacks of helping ordinary Citizens, and they’ll walk. They don’t want just a piece of the pie, THEY WANT THE WHOLE PIE -even if it’s at our collective expense.

    Did you know that some corporations are actually demanding that some municipalities return monies withheld from employees’ paychecks to them, or they’ll take their businesses elsewhere? This amounts to a hidden & little-known tax refund to those corporations! Guess what else? IT’S THE EMPLOYEES’ MONIES!

    So before we go on & on about this, we must, as a nation, understand the mindset of those at the top of our food-chain. These people don’t want a federal govt because many of those agencies were created to regulate business -in response to the concerns of us “little people”.

    To become what the monied classes envision, we would have to dismantle our fed govt. I’m all for it if it gets us back to being the best, the biggest, and the brightest. That is a more realistic conversation than all this stuff we blog about endlessly.

    Either we work within the systems we’ve built, or we change them. Otherwise we will continually be at odds & it’s getting us NOWHERE.

  19. Sure you can. Are you an ordinary Citizen? As in, not someone who makes over $1 million/yr? Then you should understand that compromise is what the Dems are used to doing. They’re used to speaking for & helping us ordinary citizens.

    However, the GOP have had them over a barrel since GWB & his cronies passed those tax cuts all those years ago. We were told then it would end up costing us over $1 trillion in revenue, but no one cared -least of all, the GOP, whose constituency were the largest beneficiaries of said cuts.

    So if you want to gripe about it, call your elected officials. Ask them why, during a time when so many are unemployed (thus reducing their contributions to our national coffers) would we continue to cut taxes? Why don’t we just leave things alone & concentrate on the REAL issues facing our nation?

    All this is smoke ‘n mirrors. It is ESPECIALLY designed to cast a bad light on Dems, who stand to make great gains in this next election. You better believe the GOP & conservative right are afraid of this.

    They’re hoping you stay confused long enough to either stay away from the polls, or -god forbid- vote for one of theirs. DON’T DO IT. You’re being lied to & used.

  20. BINGO, Phil. It’s a ruse. Of course the Dems voted to extend those tax cuts. Why is that? The alternative is much worse -tax increases across the board for EVERYONE.

    The is the smoke ‘n mirrors game of the GOP. Don’t fall for it. Ask WHY. If you already know the answer, great, you’re ahead of the game.

  21. Yes, but don’t blame the Dems for that. Blame the GOP & GWB. They passed those tax cuts which, at the time, we were told would end up costing our country BIG. And look at where we are now. Didn’t that prediction come true in SPADES. And the GOP have been using those cuts like a knife in the gut of our country ever since.

    It is a travesty, but it’s also a testament to how our rightwing-controlled press have so effectively steered the national discussion to make it look like Dems are weak. Dems don’t stick together. Dems don’t, don’t don’t.

    Ask yourselves who the REAL party of NO is. It ain’t the Dems. They want to give the American People (all of us, not just the top 1%) what we want & need. The GOP wants to give the 1% what they need & they’re not compromising. So, govt comes to a grinding halt. Thanks, GOP.

  22. You’re wrong on that count, Jason. If you think these elected officials aren’t voting to protect us (in the long run, which is NOT something the GOP want you to see) then you should call your elected reps & talk with them.

  23. To Ned & Nick: Don’t fall for it. Time & again we’ve watched as the GOP have foresaken ordinary citizens to serve their REAL masters: the monied class. This is NO different.

    When I see Claire McCaskill’s name on anything, I call to get clarification. Why? Because she has faithfully served the people of Missouri for many years now. She’s as tough & smart as they come. She’s also very powerful. Now ask yourselves WHY would the GOP want you to see her in a different light? They want her gone.

    This is politics, people. There is a bigger question here, but you’re not asking it. Why?

  24. Don’t believe it, Arnold. If those tax cuts weren’t extended, Dems (who traditionally look after us little people) would have had some big-time explaining to do when our paychecks showed less. That was the compromise.

    If you want to blame anyone, blame the GOP under GWB. They knew back then how much these cuts would cost over ten years. Now the GOP are just using the extension of those tax cuts (“or else!”) as a weapon, a tool that allows them to get around actually doing anything constructive.

  25. MsJoanne, the betrayal would have shown in your paychecks, if the Dems hadn’t given in on extending these tax cuts. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but the reality is the GOP would have allowed tax increases to kick in for the vast majority of working Americans.

    We are missing the bigger picture & not asking the right questions here. Don’t believe the headlines, or don’t misconstrue what’s really going on here.

    Some of these Dems are powerful & they’re the ones the GOP are gunning for. Why? Because the GOP stand to LOSE BIG this coming August & November for how terribly they’ve mismanaged our country, tried to run roughshod over us & hold our country hostage while they basically do nothing for ordinary citizens.

    By getting you to react instead of think, the GOP will accomplish their goals of either keeping you from the polls, or worse -voting for one of theirs. DON’T DO IT. Above all, don’t fall for this.

  26. Jeanabella, I called Claire McCaskill’s office. I listened & agreed. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but the alternative would have been tax increases across the board for ALL.

    One thing I believe we can ALL agree on is, our fed govt has gotten too big. Business doesn’t like them because the fed govt has created agencies specifically to look after the interests of ordinary citizens who historically have been beaten up by the monied class.

    But our fed govt’s defense budget is WAY out of line with anything remotely resembling sanity. Our fed govt has ballooned to what can only be termed a “parasitic” size & they’re doing things with our tax dollars that they shouldn’t. Another problem is they give tax breaks & incentives to businesses who then turn around & funnel some of that largesse back into the campaign coffers of those elected officials who helped them in the first place.

    We, as a nation, have become lazy. We think someone else has to fight these battles for us when our democracy only works when a majority of us are ENGAGED. As it is, we don’t even get 50% voting in our elections.

    So if things aren’t working like we think they should, whose fault is it really……??

  27. Not sure why you addressed that to me. I agreed with the last tax extension for the same reason Obama did, the GOP was threatening to not extend the unemployment benefits of people who had been out of work for a year or more already, and at the height of the financial crisis (if you need more proof that the GOP are a bunch of assholes, that, right there, should do it). UE benefits, dollar to dollar are the best stimulus to the economy. I was prepared to have my taxes go up but not at the expense of people teetering near the edge.

    And for all the Firebaggers who say a GOPer is better than a Dem, you really need to think long and hard about that, and look at an overall voting record. I don’t like it any more than you but would you REALLY want another DeMint, Rand Paul, Jow Walsh or whichever teabagger nutter vs a blue dog?

    I’ll never forgive “dems” who said NO to Obamacare because it wasn’t enough. Hell no it wasn’t enough, but to let die SOMETHING for nothing is an abomination to the people who need something.

    Look to Canada, where I, as an American, live (I’m married go a Canadian). Their exceptional healthcare wasn’t implemented all at one time. It started with one province. Obamacare, if the rat bastards on the SCOTUS don’t overturn it, is a step forward for someone like me who had preexisting conditions. IOW, it’s SOMETHING.

    Sorry for the rant.

  28. That’s exactly the purpose of getting you riled up over this: they either want you to stay away from the polls, or vote GOP. Ask yourself why?

    Now get on the phone & talk to your elected rep in Washington. If they didn’t agree to extend these tax cuts, the result would have hit you directly in your pocket.

    Don’t abandon your party at this point. The GOP stand to lose BIG TIME this coming August & November. This is just the kind of stuff our rightwing-controlled press will put out there to get you hopping mad so you either don’t vote, or vote contrary to your own best interests. Don’t fall for it!

  29. Actually, we don’t all agree…or, speaking for myself, **I** most certainly do not agree that the government is too big. What areas of federal government exactly would you suggest doing away with or reducing (other than the Pentagon which is a GOP sacred cow)?

    Government serves a purpose. Government employees provide a service. It’s cheaper to have them employed by the government than through a private contractor but we’ve been talked into how bad the gov is. Government salaries get spent into the economy just as well as yours or mine. Bullshit that the federal gov is too big.

    Oh and BTW, Obama has the smallest government in, what was it, like 30 years…smaller than small gov Reagan (who along with Bush and Bush Jr. HIRED more government employees when they were in office).

    It’s truly sad his much people buy into Republican memes.

  30. I live in Florida and the only reason I’ll vote for Bill Nelson is that he’s running against Connie Mack who even a bigger tool of the Rich and the Shameless.

  31. Yes The republiCONS of missouri more than likely had something to do with this.
    I don’t believe a word of this about Senator Claire McCaskil.
    I do know the republiCONS have pulled every dirty trick posible.
    It is plain and simple, if we vote on the peoples behalf… we are voting Democrat !
    If we vote for the corporations and the 1%… we are voting for the selfcentered and the rightous republiCONS. The koch brothers will win.

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