Nov. 13, 2012 -- What a difference an election makes.
In the wake of the 2010 drubbing of Democrats and the ascendancy of the Tea Party, President Obama was forced to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, angering plenty liberals in the party. Fast-forward two years later, and today those liberal allies of the president come to the White House under much different circumstances -- triumphant and assured that the president will stick by his campaign promise to rescind the tax cuts on the wealthy.
Today's meeting will include more than 10 labor and progressive leaders: Mary Kay Henry, SEIU; Lee Saunders, AFSCME; Dennis Van Roekel, NEA; Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO; Neera Tanden and John Podesta, Center for American Progress; Bob Greenstein, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; Laura Burton Capps, Common Purpose Project; Max Richtman, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Justin Ruben, MoveOn; Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change.
"I don't think we're that worried," one labor source told The Note on the eve of today's confab at the White House. "We think the administration is resolved to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the rich after arguing against them incessantly."
But, this labor insider added, "We don't think that the Republicans will agree to that."
And another labor source said, "We were really enthusiastic about the president's frame on Friday, particularly decoupling the middle class tax cuts as something we can all agree on. It's hard to see why Democrats would give on tax rates, since they achieve it in negotiations or through expiration at year's end. At the same time, we remain concerned that the level of cuts discussed last summer could reemerge, particularly in Medicaid and Medicare."
FLASHBACK: According to the Huffington Post's Sam Stein, "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told The Huffington Post last week that his group would oppose any deal that cuts the three big entitlement programs. 'Yes. Yes. Yes. The voters yesterday rejected that notion soundly,' Trumka said at a briefing on Nov. 7.
'The answer is, if it includes benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, we'll oppose it.' Van Jones, co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, went further, noting that none of the progressive political institutions have 'demobilized' since the election. 'We are still on a complete fighting posture because we knew we had to win the politics in November and then on the economy in December,' Jones said. 'For the progressives who threw ourselves on hand grenades for the president over the past 24 months and especially the past six months, we are not going to be happy at all if he turns around and takes a chainsaw to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in pursuit of some misguided so-called grand bargain.'"