Parties’ Tactics Eroding Unity Left and Right
President Obama and Congressional Republicans pressed ahead on Monday with politically charged proposals on tax cuts and health care, in competing efforts to frame the election-year debate. But each risked opening fissures in their own ranks, as lawmakers played up alternatives to the aggressive approaches of their leaders.
Obama Pushes Tax Cut Extension That Excludes Wealthiest (July 10, 2012)
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At the White House, Mr. Obama announced his proposal of a one-year extension in the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning under $250,000, which threatened to put him at odds with some Democrats who have supported extending the cuts for everyone earning up to $1 million. While most party leaders fell into line with Mr. Obama’s message, several rank-and-file members said they remained opposed to any tax increases.
The No. 2 House Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, indicated that he would be open to a $1 million income threshold, while Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who is retiring at the end of this session of Congress, called that a bare minimum. “My druthers are to extend all of the tax cuts to continue the economic recovery,” he said. “But if this leads to a compromise, Congress should at least extend the cuts for everyone under $1 million.”
At the same time, House Republicans forged ahead with their plans to vote on a repeal of Mr. Obama’s health care law, even as some members expressed unease about voting to abolish politically popular elements of the law. Others expressed fears that the Republicans would be hurt politically for appearing to refight the health care battles of two years ago, after the Supreme Court had upheld the law and many voters had moved on.