Where House Democrats Stand On the Senate Bill
Sure, it’s up to House Republicans as to whether the fiscal cliff deal brokered between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is put on the House floor for an up or down vote. But as with any compromise, no side is thrilled with the fiscal cliff deal, and House Democrats aren’t exactly giddy over the details.
Just before reports trickled out that House Republican Leader Eric Cantor wouldn't be supporting the Senate bill, House Democrats concluded a nearly three hour meeting, which included Biden giving a detailed rundown of how he reached a deal with McConnell and what to expect over the next two months.
“Right now our members, after very thoughtful deliberations and review, are continuing to review the legislation, weighing the pros and cons and weighing the equities of not going over the cliff,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said after the caucus meeting.
When asked how many Democrats would vote yes if the bill was put on the floor as is, Pelosi said, “That isn’t a subject that I will be talking about right now.”
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer couldn’t give a number on how many votes leadership would deliver because his fellow Democrats are reviewing the legislation, he said. But, “I can tell you we’ll have a bipartisan vote if Republicans vote.”
A few progressive Democrats trickled out of the caucus meeting early, saying they would vote for the bill. Rep. Elijah Cummings said Biden’s rundown of the deal was “One of the best presentations I've heard since I've been in Congress” and that he’d vote for it. Rep. Danny Davis said he was “impressed” with the deal, and although he has to think about it, he’s “inclined” to vote yes.
But not all were on board so quickly. One House Democrat said he saw concerns coming from a significant portion of the caucus, at least in the early stages, with nearly two-thirds of members staying after Biden departed in order to ask questions of Pelosi about how delaying the sequester for two months would be paid for.
One concern House Democrats have is about the income level for which the Bush-era tax cuts would be held constant, Hoyer said. But when asked whether there is dissension in the caucus, Hoyer told National Journal, “I think there is interest in discussion. I don’t want to characterize. I don’t expect 100 percent, and I think members are considering, and we’ll find out what they think.”