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Democrats Prepare for ‘Class Warfare’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
From left: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Sen. Charles Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Wednesday for passage of the president’s jobs bill.

Republicans, meanwhile, blasted the proposal as another tax increase that would hurt the economy, particularly because it was originally slated to take effect in 2012. However, the bill that Reid introduced late Wednesday was revised to change the effective date to 2013.

"There they go again: Washington Democrats insisting on raising taxes on job creators right now," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Bloomberg TV earlier in the day. "That is not what we need. I think most people think it is counterintuitive to raise taxes if you want economic growth."

Republican aides sent around various statements from Democrats who have opposed tax increases over the past few years.

A senior Democratic aide said Wednesday that Democrats would like to work with Republicans on a way to pass the jobs bill but that the GOP has shown no interest in doing so. In the meantime, Democrats are going to try to make the GOP pay a political price.

A vote is likely early next week on the jobs bill, which is expected to fail. Democrats then likely will take up three free-trade agreements and appropriations bills before forcing another vote on the jobs package.

The idea is to make the GOP vote again and again to thwart the plan in hopes that it will budge — or pay a political price.

If Democrats can't break the GOP with multiple votes — a scenario that is unlikely — they might eventually move toward breaking the bill into chunks and voting on pieces such as the payroll tax cut extension that some Republicans have backed.

Democrats can then attack the GOP if it stands firm and allows a tax hike to hit the middle class in January when the existing 2 percentage point payroll tax cut expires.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Democrats don't want to work with Republicans on a jobs package. "I don't think they want to pass anything because then they are going to accuse Republicans of obstructing a jobs plan, and they are going to try to say the economy is Republicans' fault."

DeMint predicted many Republicans would oppose a payroll tax cut even if it is not offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

"It would be hard for us ... but I think a lot would vote against it if it were not offset. It's making our problem worse, our debt hole deeper."

DeMint acknowledged that's a shift from the past, when the GOP has supported tax cuts that increased the deficit.

"The problem is so much worse, we're having to borrow so much money every month ... so offsetting is pretty critical," he said.

Editor’s Note

The online version of this story was updated to reflect the revised version of President Barack Obama’s jobs bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced after Roll Call’s deadline Wednesday. The introduced bill includes a higher surtax on income of more than $1 million than Obama had proposed, 5.6 percent versus 5 percent, and it would go into effect a year later, in 2013.

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