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Why Democrats Are Lining Up Against the Tax Deal

Pelosi is outlining why Democrats won't be supporting the tax extenders deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans should not attach a package of permanent and temporary tax breaks to the a government funding bill unless they can pass it without Democratic support, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned Friday.  

"I wouldn't vote for it, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone else vote for it," the California Democrat said of a potential combined measure. "So that's not a way to keep government open, unless they have all the Republican votes to do it."  

The cost of the package, reportedly about $750 billion, has been a major concern among House Democrats who have argued permanent extensions of the tax breaks should be offset. “Evidently the Republican deficit hawks are an endangered species now," Pelosi said. "We’re adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit permanently, and have you heard any of the deficit hawks speaking out against this action?”  

Pelosi, noting she is only speaking to the position of House Democrats, said she believes Republicans can reach a deal on extenders that includes making some permanent, but that she won't be involved in that agreement.

Pelosi Says House Democrats Will Oppose Extenders Deal

"I've never been for it. I wasn't for it before it had big oil in it. I think it's far too expensive," Pelosi said, responding to Republican comments that she's holding up the extenders negotiations.  

"I said to [Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch], 'You're either saying I'm holding it up or I'm not in the loop. I can't be both,'" Pelosi said, adding bluntly, "I don't even want to be in the loop on that bill."  

The extenders package is still being negotiated but lawmakers have seemed to settle on a permanent extension of some of the tax incentives, like ones for research and development and small business expensing. Democrats appear to have secured permanent extensions of the earned income and child tax credits, but Republicans have rejected their request to index the credits to inflation.  

She said some of her colleagues feel that if if those tax credits were indexed to inflation they might not vote for it, saying it's too expensive. "It undermines our ability to get something done for the future,” she said, noting she is one of the Democrats who feels that way.  

But, she added, the extenders package could have the support of the others -- a likely reference to the White House and Senate Democrats.  

“We have shared values on this and at some place this bill will be improved by the negotiation that the White House will have because they want to sign something," Pelosi said. "We don’t need to be for it. They’ll have enough Republican votes supporting their special interest friends to pass this thing in as second.”  

While Pelosi spent the majority of her weekly news conference Friday expressing her opposition to the extenders deal that is in the works, she said it is actually her members who have been the most vocal.  

"I don't tell them what we're going to," she said. "I hear what they say back. And they don't even want us negotiating on it for anything because they think it's the wrong place to go."

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