Could Tax Sweeteners Bring Rebel Dems on Board?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The Senate released the details of its tax bill on Thursday—legislation that conforms to President Obama’s deal to preserve the Bush tax cuts and water down the estate tax, with a hefty (unpaid for) price tag of $858 billion. The bill is now expected to pass the Senate, particularly as it includes an extension of ethanol subsidies that’s likely to bring along Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and other farm-state senators previously critical of the deal.

The House Dems haven’t let up their fierce protest against the bill, despite the growing consensus from both White House officials and Democratic legislators themselves that they won’t be able to stop it. But within the Senate bill itself, there are other sweeteners for Democrats that might help quell the rebellion on the House side. The Wall Street Journal explains: “The package extends a program of cash grants for wind and solar projects, as well as tax credits for energy-efficient appliances, although at reduced, pre-stimulus levels. It includes favorable tax treatment for mass-transit benefits for employees.” And Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) admitted to Politico that the clean energy sweeteners would be positively received: “That is the most important addition… A lot of our members wanted it. It was excluded from the original bargain. The fact that it was added is a good thing.”

Such minor tweaks aren’t likely to sway the liberal wing of the House Democrats, most of whom will likely still vote against the bill. But the sweeteners could help bring a few more moderate members aboard and perhaps take a bit of the edge off the resentment that the House Dems have directed toward the White House.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest