Both Democratic leaders in the Senate have President Obama’s back on the fiscal cliff. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are both emphatic about the wealthy paying more taxes, and no cuts being made to Social Security.
On ABC’s This Week Nancy Pelosi stood by the president’s insistence that the rich by made to pay their fair share.
Here is a video clip from ABC News:
Pelosi said, “Well, no, I mean, the president made it very clear in his campaign that there is not enough — there are not enough resources. What you just described is a formula and a blueprint for hampering our future. You cannot go forward — you have to cut some investments. If you cut too many, you’re hampering growth, you’re hampering education, our investments for the future. If it’s going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been making it crystal clear that any deal that cuts Social Security will not pass the Senate. Reid said, “I’ve made it very clear. I’ve told anyone that will listen, including everyone in the White House, including the president, that I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit.”
If congressional Democrats are unified, President Obama’s hand to play in these negotiations grows even stronger. One of the problems in the two previous negotiations with congressional Republicans was that the Democratic side of the Senate was divided. Too many senators, including Reid himself, put their own reelection first. Harry Reid weakened Obama’s hand previous by actively looking to cut a deal, even if that deal was bad for Democrats.
Obama has gone from being viewed as toxic to the reelection hopes of congressional Democrats to being a twice elected president who oversaw unexpected gains in the Senate and House. The president has set the agenda on this issue, and congressional Democrats are getting in line behind him. Democrats may be even more unified than they were after the 2008 election. The infighting that with came control of both the House and Senate is gone.
People who worry that Obama is going to “cave” in these negotiations don’t seem to understand that every negotiation is different. Political climates change, and leverage shifts. Obama and the Democrats have all the leverage. They can do nothing and get what they want. It is the Republican signature issue of the Bush tax cuts that is on the line this time.
This isn’t 2010. It looks like Democrats are unified, and out to make Republicans pay a high price for their negotiating tactics of the past.