Washington — The Congressional Black Caucus will not support President Obama’s tax deal. At a press conference this morning, Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), CBC chairwoman, told reporters that an “overwhelming majority” of the caucus are opposed to the agreement.
“It is Oprah Winfrey and Santa Claus — everyone gets a tax cut,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D., Va.) sighed. “It’s ‘You get a tax cut, you get a tax cut.’” Rep. Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands called the deal “bad for African Americans.”
“We don’t see this as a personal issue at all,” Lee said, in response to a question about how their stance will be interpreted at the White House. Still, Lee says that she would like to see Obama come to the Capitol in coming days to consult with House Democrats, much like Vice President Biden did this week.
Members of the caucus, Lee added, have reached a consensus on their own tax plan, since they see the Obama-GOP deal as a “non-starter,” due to its tax cuts for the wealthy and estate-tax provisions.
Some CBC members even worry that Obama is moving toward Gipper-like economic policy. “I’m worried that the deal President Obama cut with Republicans sets up for a Reagan-style set of bad choices,” says Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D., Ill.). “If we cut taxes for the wealthy while maintaining massive military spending in support of two wars, then the new Republican Congress will be empowered to cut social programs in order to reduce the deficit. So it will be a choice between cutting programs for the poor, children, the unemployed, the uninsured, and veterans or allowing deficits to pile up. That was President Reagan’s strategy: A ‘starve the beast’ plan of lowered taxes and increased military spending that would force Congress to make deep cuts in programs for the most vulnerable.”