As some anticipated, U.S. House Democrats are balking at a proposed tax cut deal negotiated by the White House and Republicans on the Hill. This morning, some members of the Democratic caucus blocked a vote on the package, which would extend temporarily emergency unemployment insurance and the Bush-era tax cuts for all earners, among other provisions.
House Dems are frustrated with how well the nation's rich make out under the current accord. They are particularly angry with changes to the estate tax law, which they consider far too generous for the wealthiest households in America (and they are right).
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky is one progressive who is working hard to make the deal better for average people. On PBS' Charlie Rose last night, she reminded viewers that income inequality is a "threat to our democracy" and that this deal exacerbates that problem. Watch it: (Here's the full appearance):
Still, there's a lot of urgency to get some type of deal passed. The tax cuts will expire on December 31 for everyone along the income scale unless Congress approves an extension. Unemployment insurance, as we know, already lapsed. By February, some 241,000 workers in Illinois are scheduled to exhaust their benefits if no additional relief is provided. And the bill, as ugly as it is, would provide some fiscal stimulus to an economy that's not chugging along at full strength.
Tim Fernholz outlined four ways the party could improve the package here.