“I’ve counted on your support because you understand the importance of changing our politics, of doing the hard work of finding the common ground,” President Obama said in a video message to supporters released Tuesday night. “It’s not perfect but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery.”
“I know some folks – even good friends – are unhappy with the plan because, as with any negotiation, getting there required some give and take,” he said.
But he painted the compromise as an example of change.
“For too long, Washington has been a place where any compromise was seen as a failure,” he said, “where victory was defined, not by what you achieved for the country but by who you defeated in partisan warfare.”
The president recorded the “personal” message as he faces increasing fire from congressional Democrats and progressive activists about the tax cut compromise he negotiated. House Democrats meeting Tuesday night were angry and frustrated about the deal, Democratic sources told ABC News, with many expressing concern not only about the continuation of the lower tax rate for higher income levels, but a two-year 35-percent rate for the inheritance, or estate, tax, with a floor of $5 million.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that there was “unease” in her caucus.
Said Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., “At the core was deep and abiding concern by a number of members who stood up and said that this was not a good deal.”
Added Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., “I think it would be wise for our negotiators to go back and revisit the estate tax issue.”
For the time being, the president appears to be sticking by his guns, though White House aides did not respond to questions as to whether the president was willing to make any changes in the outline for a deal.
Indeed, the president in his message to Organizing for America supporters said that the deal will allow the nation to avoid “a perfect storm that would set families, businesses and our country back, just as we’re recovering from a devastating recession and a decade of stagnant wages.”
He said because of the deal, “Republicans were forced to end their obstruction of an extension of unemployment insurance and we secured a payroll tax cut for workers.”
And he vowed that “this is not the end of this fight. These tax cuts will expire in two years … and I will continue to make the case to the American people about why I don’t believe they should be renewed. In fact, I’m confident – as we make the tough choices to cut the deficit – it will become apparent that we can’t afford to extend these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans one day longer.”
-Jake Tapper and Auzzie Deen