Polis draws heat over Obama tax cut deal

Progressive watchdog blogger Jane Hamsher reports that Colorado Congressman Jared Polis argued passionately at a Democratic Congressional caucus meeting Tuesday in favor of the White House deal with GOP leaders to temporarily extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in exchange for an extension of middle class tax breaks as well as some but not all unemployment insurance benefits.

Yet Congressional staffers told the Colorado Independent that Polis, like many other members of the caucus, has not made up his mind on the deal and won’t do so until the legislation appears in writing for genuine consideration.

Because Polis is a multi-millionaire and will benefit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars directly from the deal as so far presented, he has been the target of ire. Hamsher specifically asked readers to contact him and ask him why he’s willing to sell out the so-called 99ers, the unemployed whose benefits will run out at the end of December and for whom the deal does nothing.

“If you’re one of the 99ers who doesn’t know how your bills are going to be paid after the end of the year,” Hamsher writes, “give Jared Polis a call and ask him. This deal will be great for him. Maybe he can tell you why it’s good for you, too.”

Polis, however, has campaigned on and supported over the course of years the middle class tax cuts. He is no champion of the Bush tax cuts on millionaires.

President Obama defended the deal as a sort of adult compromise in the face of an intransigent GOP.

“On the Republican side, this is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy. This seems to be their central economic doctrine. And so unless we had sixty votes in the senate at any given time, it would have been very hard for us to move this forward. I think our proposal is to make sure the middle class is held harmless, but that we don’t make these Bush tax cuts permanent for wealthy individuals because it would cost the country at a time when we got these looming deficits and the American people were persuaded by that.

“But the fact of the matter is I haven’t persuaded the leaders of the Republican party. I haven’t persuaded Mitch McConnell and I haven’t persuaded John Boehner. And if I can’t persuade them, then I’ve got to look at what is the best thing to do given that reality for the American people and for jobs.”

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