Bachmann Softens Stance on Tax Deal - PLUS: House Democrats Throwing Tantrum? UPDATE: Obama Compares GOP to "Hostage Takers" in Presser

Posted: Dec 07, 2010 2:36 PM
Last evening, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) hinted that she might oppose the tax accord struck between the White House and Republican leadership:

"I don't know that Republicans would necessarily go along with that vote. That would be a very hard vote to take," Bachmann said on conservative talker Sean Hannity's radio show on Monday.

"I think we're back in a conundrum. I think the compromise would be extending the rates for two years and not permanently, but not tying it to massive spending," she said. "We cannot add on something like a year of unemployment benefits."

Earlier this afternoon, Bachmann's office released a new statement on the compromise, in which the Congresswoman appears to tentatively embrace the plan, while still raising concerns over the unfunded 13-month extension of federal unemployment benefits:

“Certainty must be provided to individuals, businesses large and small, farmers, and everyone impacted by the tax code. I called for the current tax rates to be made permanent for all Americans, but it appears a compromise for a two-year extension will be the temporary solution.

“It was irresponsible for Congress to adjourn in September and hit the campaign trail without finalizing the tax rates. The American people are tired of uncertainty, and this compromise on a two-year extension for all will at least offer a foundation for job creation for the immediate future.

“As part of the compromise, the President wants to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months. Unemployment benefits are already at a historical length of 99 weeks, and the President’s request would push benefits to three years. The President hasn’t indicated any other spending offsets or reductions to pay for these benefits, even though he claims to be committed to reducing the deficit. Our economy doesn’t have a moment to waste and it’s vital that we stop these tax increases now, but we cannot overlook the consequences of another unfunded extension of unemployment benefits. Along with the American people, I anxiously await the final version of the bill that will bring certainly to our nation’s taxpayers.”

This might be a signal that House Republican leadership is effectively whipping votes for the deal they helped broker.  House Democrats, meanwhile, seem to be in utter disarray.  Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who lauded the agreement last night, moments ago told reporters at the Capitol that the "vast majority" of the GOP caucus believes the tax agreement is a "step in the right direction," and predicted strong Republican support for the measure if and when it comes to a vote.  Across the aisle in the Senate, the bargain's fate is far from certain.  Harry Reid has already stated he's "not a big fan" of the estate tax portion of the deal.  The Vice President has his work cut out for him.

UPDATE: The president spoke at the White House this afternoon and again defended the proposed agreement.  "This isn't an abstract debate," Obama said, criticizing those "who would have preferred a protracted political fight."  He also pledged to oppose further extensions of the "tax cuts for the rich" when they are up for reconsideration in 2012.  He dishonestly predicted that Republicans would "again" oppose middle class tax cuts at that time -- a position the GOP has never even come close to holding.  Later, the president incoherently compared Congressional Republicans to hostage takers, arguing that the "hostage is the American people."  He also tore into his base for putting ideological purity ahead of pursuing the "north star" that should guide all public servants: "Doing what's best for the American people."

Obama's press conference had an air of desperation to it, and for good reason. President Obama knows he can't lose this fight.  If Congressional Democrats torpedo the compromise hammered out by the Obama White House, the president's political impotence will be laid bare.  This already-injured White House cannot absorb that humiliation right now.

UPDATE II:  Shockingly, Senate Democrats are messing with Joe:

Biden Visit Does Little To Ease Tax Deal Ire

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Tuesday that he may not have the votes to pass President Barack Obama’s deal with the GOP to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts for two years.

When asked whether he would have enough support to pass the legislation, the Nevada Democrat said, “No. I think we’re going to have to do some more work” in persuading Members to approve the agreement.

UPDATE III: Jim Geragthy reviews Obama's train wreck of a press conference, during which he managed to offend or anger...pretty much everyone.

UPDATE IV: (via Allahpundit) Was Pelosi blindsided by the Obama-GOP deal?