For Some Democrats and Activists, No Deal Better Than Bad Deal

As President Barack Obama shows cautious optimism that a fiscal deal can be reached in the waning hours of 2012, some Democratic activists and union leaders are already pushing back against the contours of the tax plan being negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, wrote on Twitter that Democrats should “keep faith with the people who elected you.”

“Its time for Dems to reject the Rep hostage-taking & present an ultimatum of their own – Pres Obama’s plan. Working people stand behind it.  No more tax cuts for 2% or millionaire estates.”

Adam Green, co-founder of the Democratic-aligned advocacy group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said the White House should insist on its original proposal to raise taxes on annual income exceeding $250,000.

“Any deal must raise taxes on those making $250,000 at least to the Clinton rates — and no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits,” Green said. “Raising the threshold to $400,000 means billions of dollars of pain will be transferred to the working poor and our grandparents, and that is not acceptable.”

Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, warned that a chunk of the caucus may vote against such a package. “There’s just no question about it,” he said in an interview.

Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, said in a speech on the floor that no deal would be preferable to a bad deal.

“We’re going to lock in forever the idea that $450,000 a year is middle class in America?” Harkin said. “Need I remind people that at $250,000 a year, that’s the top 2 percent income earners in America?”

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