OBAMA WON’T GIVE THE GOP MORE TAX CUTS…. President Obama was on the Hill today, meeting with House Republicans on the economic stimulus package. When asked if the president was winning any GOP votes, one conservative House Republican who was in the room told the Politico, “Nope,” adding that Obama “won’t compromise on more tax cuts.”
I’m not sure what definition of “compromise” the lawmaker was using, but the bottom line remains the same: the president’s efforts to garner Republican support aren’t working.
Obama seemed ready for the House Republicans to pounce, reportedly telling the gathered GOP lawmakers: “feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part [tax cuts],” according to two sources in the room.
That’s basically what they did, hitting Obama for more than 30 minutes with questions about deficits, taxes and spending. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), won applause from his GOP colleagues when he asked the president whether he would promise that the stimulus would not be an excuse to raise taxes or increase spending.
Obama responded, according to sources in the room, that he was worried about the deficit and debt, and promised that his fiscal 2010 budget — coming out next month — would make hard choices in terms of spending cuts in an effort to reduce the deficit.
The Politico report noted that the “out of power minority party” seems to be “finding its voice as a stout opposition party instead of the party of compromise.” Perhaps, but I’m not entirely sure when, exactly, House Republicans were ever positioned as the “party of compromise.”
What’s more, the article added that Republicans “slapped” Obama’s “outstretched hand,” as part of a “coordinated effort to embarrass” the president.
I suspect Obama isn’t feeling especially embarrassed. Frustrated, maybe. Like he’s wasting his time, probably. But the institutional dynamic hasn’t changed. House Democrats still enjoy a 77-seat advantage over the minority, Obama is still a very popular president, and Republicans (and their ideas) still enjoy little public support. The stimulus is still likely to pass, especially in the House.
Whether the House GOP is enjoying itself more now than last week is largely inconsequential.