The Huffington Post's Sam Stein joined Countdown guest host Sam Seder to discuss the deal made by the White House and Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts and whether they have the votes to pass the legislation. Stein stated that they likely had the votes despite opposition from the House progressives and did not think it would face a filibuster in the Senate.
As Stein noted, when the White House conceded that they would not be willing to allow the tax cuts to expire, they gave away the store on negotiations and just gave the Republicans more of an incentive to hold out longer than they were. Stein repeated what Ezra Klein wrote, included in my previous post, which is that the administration actually wants to have this fight again in 2012. He's exactly right that they're going to have a lot of trouble earning the trust of Democrats on whether they really want to see these tax cuts expire in two years.
Stein has more in his article at The Huffington Post -- Rep. Peter Welch Circulates Letter Urging Dems To Submarine Tax Cut Deal:
Just minutes after we reported a potential tax cut deal between Republicans and the White House, the first congressional Democrat is out urging his colleagues to submarine the deal.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) circulated a letter to his colleagues urging them to oppose the deal on grounds that it is "fiscally irresponsible." Addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the letter reads as follows:
We oppose acceding to Republican demands to extend the Bush tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires for two reasons.
First, it is fiscally irresponsible. Adding $700 billion to our national debt, as this proposal would do, handcuffs our ability to offer a balanced plan to achieve fiscal stability without a punishing effect on our current commitments, including Social Security and Medicare.
Second, it is grossly unfair. This proposal will hurt, not help, the majority of Americans in the middle class and those working hard to get there. Even as Republicans seek to add $700 billion to our national debt, they oppose extending unemployment benefits to workers and resist COLA increases to seniors.
Without a doubt, the very same people who support this addition to our debt will oppose raising the debt ceiling to pay for it. We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the President initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we.
That said, the likelihood the final deal doesn't get enough votes for passage seems far-fetched. For starters, if all Republicans vote for the package, only 40 Democratic votes would be needed. The Blue Dog coalition could provide that. Moreover, Pelosi, who ostensibly signed off on the deal, could muster up the votes to help push it through.
UPDATE: A House Democrat aide emails the Huffington Post the following:
House Democrats haven't agreed to anything yet. Any package needs to be thoroughly reviewed and discussed in the caucus.
And one last note here, thank you Keith Olbermann for allowing Sam Seder to fill in for you. I'd love to see him get a spot hosting on MSNBC.