However, Vice President Joseph Biden is scheduled to attend Senate Democrats’ luncheon Tuesday, and several aides said that despite complaints there is at least a theoretical path to passage in the Senate with a majority of the party backing the bill.
If the Senate poses its own difficulties, Obama could run into even more problems in the House.
“This may well be rougher in the House than Senate. It may not be easy in either Democratic caucus, but the Senate road map may be a little easier,” a senior Senate Democratic aide said.
Liberal Democrats wasted no time in slamming the proposal.
In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Monday night, Rep. Peter Welch (Vt.) called the proposal “fiscally irresponsible” and “grossly unfair,” and he called on both Pelosi and Obama to reject the deal.
“We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the president initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we,” Welch said in the letter.
Republicans greeted Obama’s speech with praise.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said he appreciated Obama and Biden for their “determined efforts” to work with the GOP “on a bipartisan plan to prevent a tax hike on any American and in creating incentives for economic growth.”
“Their efforts reflect a growing bipartisan belief that a new direction is needed if we are to revive the economy and help put millions of Americans back to work,” McConnell said.
“Tonight’s announcement marks an important first step in giving all American families and businesses the certainty that their taxes will not increase on January 1,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said in a statement. “While I wanted the rates to be made permanent, the current political makeup of this lame-duck Congress would not allow that.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.