December 9th, 2010
04:11 PM ET

GOP: Power players or 'hostage takers'?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/09/republican.strategy.taxes/t1larg.gop2.gi.jpg caption="Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, from left, and Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor are among the leaders of the GOP." width=300 height=169]Kristi Keck

In the months leading up to the midterms, President Barack Obama and Democrats tried to label Republicans the "party of no."

But in the weeks since the election, Republicans have come out of the gate swinging, prompting the president to peg them as the "hostage takers."

And with liberal Democrats in the House revolting over the deal Obama worked out with Republican leaders to extend tax cuts to all Americans rather than just those making $250,000 or less - a key campaign promise - the president is in a tight spot. He'll face a larger class of Republicans coming in with the new Congress next month and Democrats remaining defiant despite their weakened standing.

All 42 Senate Republicans last week issued an ultimatum, refusing to move ahead with any other issues being considered by the lame-duck Congress until the dispute over extending the tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, was resolved and an extension of current government funding was approved.

It was a bold move by Republicans, who won control of the House of Representatives in last month's midterms and weakened Democrats' power in the Senate. Supporters said Republicans were standing up for their principles, while Democrats likened it to a congressional temper tantrum.

"Mitch McConnell and the Republican senators that signed that letter last week said basically, 'You are going to play by our rules or we're going to take our ball and go home,' " said Democratic consultant Mo Elleithee.

So far, the White House has been forced to play by GOP rules.

With Congress at a stalemate, Obama this week announced a deal worked out with Republican leaders that recommended extending the tax cuts for all income levels for two more years.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Republicans
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Michael

    I am a Dem, but does it not fall under discrimination to give higher taxes to the rich just because they make more money? So if you are poor or middle class you get to pay less taxes. Everyone should pay that same percentage of taxes that is fare, and the only deduction you should be able to claim is charity and children. Republicans have one thing going for them they all stick together where Democrats do not. President Obama did what he had to do at this moment and good for him. And just a side not when a bill comes forth only what the bill stands for should be in that bill nothing added!! If it has nothing to do with taxes it doen not go in the bill period.

    December 9, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  2. Fran

    I hear today that there is attempts to "sweeten" the 'Tax Cuts' for the wealthy. The President or the Republicans think somehow that "sweetening" the bill will somehow make it easier for us to swallow! Don't they get it?
    What happen to deficit reduction? What happen to not allowing the Republicans this tax break that they don't need? If this extra tax cut is suppose to create jobs...then why haven't they created them in the last 2 years that the tax cuts have still been in effect? And we are also to accept No Tax for the inheritance tax up to 5 million dollars? One more thing, The unemplopyment benefits that are being held hostage, effects Republican's who are out out work too. I just don't get the blatant greed!

    December 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  3. John Moore - PA

    The Republican leaders are sure good at playing hard ball. However, since they appear unconcerned about what their behaviour does to the average American citizen I suppose it is easy to play that game.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm |