It appears that the White House and Senate Majority Leader (for now) Harry Reid are not at all on the same page regarding the tax deal that Reid is negotiating with House Republicans. Ever since yesterday afternoon, the White House has been sending one signal after another to indicate that they think that Reid has negotiated a horrible deal for the middle class and a giant giveaway to corporate America. Now they’ve explicitly promised to veto the compromise package of tax extenders.

Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said the deal being hashed out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) gave far too much to business interests, and far too little to the middle-class.

“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” Friedman said, just hours after reports emerged that a $450 billion deal on the tax breaks was close at hand and that negotiators hoped to wrap it up by Tuesday.

It’s not clear that there is any way to get a better deal, and the Republicans will completely control Congress next year and will surely insist on an even rawer deal for the middle class in next year’s budget. But, at least this time around, the White House is willing to fight and must have some hope of extracting some further concessions.

What’s most interesting about this is the rift that has opened up between Reid and the administration.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at