Friday, December 17, 2010
Late last night, the U.S. House passed President Obama's controversial tax-cut compromise. The Pittsburgh-area delegation -- which includes Republican Tim Murphy and Democrats Jason Altmire, Mike Doyle and Mark Critz -- all voted in favor of it.
Altmire, in fact, was the guy who announced the passage of the measure from the Speaker's chair.
Doyle had previously been critical of the plan. And more liberal Democrats proposed changes to the bill, focusing especially on scaling back estate-tax cuts that benefit the most wealthy. Doyle was the only member of the local delegation to support that effort, which failed by a vote of 194 to 233.
I hope to talk to Doyle later today about the vote, and will post the results of that discussion here. But the Pittsburgh delegation represents a pretty good cross section of the forces arrayed against liberal Democrats. Altmire is a well known "Blue Dog" Democrat, and Critz skews more conservative as well. Murphy has long positioned himself as pragmatic conservative. None of those political constituencies were likely to rebel against a tax-cut plan backed by leaders in both parties ... even if the deal will help explode the deficit and, in the long run, add to the uncertainty facing Social Security.
Suffice it to say that last week, Doyle told City Paper that liberal Democrats would "get the best deal we can." That didn't happen. But Doyle was right when he told me "Dec. 9 is not the date to surrender."
The surrender actually came one week later.
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