Democratic lawmakers try to block vote on unemployment extension

It seems that President Obama’s impromptu press conference on Tuesday to sell the compromise he worked out with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits has not convinced some of his fellow Democrats. Several Democrats in the U.S. House are so upset about the deal that they’re trying to block the House from voting on the bill.

Fox has learned that Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Jay Inslee (D-WA) are crafting a letter to share with the House Democratic Caucus that would try to prevent the Speaker from bringing the tax bill to the floor.

They hope to get 60 signatures on their letter (which is still being drafted) and then force a vote in the caucus. DeFazio says he thinks that if a majority of House Democrats are against this compromise, they shouldn’t bring it to the floor.

This seems rather Quixotic. If the House leadership wants the bill, the White House wants the bill and there’s a majority that will pass it — and with most Republicans on board, there certainly will be — it seems highly unlikely that a vote in the Democratic caucus would prevent it from happening.

After the Democrats lost control of the House in 1994, it was not unusual for President Bill Clinton to sign a bill that was passed with majority approval from Republicans and a minority of Democrats. That is how GATT, NAFTA and at least two financial deregulation bills were passed after 1994.

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Ed Brayton

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