'World News' Political Insights: Democrats Try to Salvage Pride in Lame-Duck Session

House leaders seek small victories as chaotic Congress ends.

ByABC News
December 5, 2010, 4:38 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2010 -- Having navigated the thickets of thickly drawn party lines on taxes, President Obama now must overcome a potent force inside his own Democratic Party: pride.

The deal cut by the president and Republicans on taxes almost appears certain to hold, as Congress stumbles toward a conclusion of a lame-duck session with more agenda items than time.

But the Democratic anger that erupted on Capitol Hill last week will continue to play itself out. At its heart, it stems from long-held skepticism about the White House's commitment to core party values -- and shorter-term rage that the president chose to capitulate on a defining distinction between the two parties.

The extraordinary display of disappointment voiced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus appears unlikely to substantially change the tax bill.

The president has too much riding on the outcome to let it collapse, and a Senate vote early this week will likely provide momentum toward final passage in the House, Democrats' objections notwithstanding.

Democrats in the House and the Senate will instead have to settle for a few token victories, including some extended tax credits for renewable energy initiatives and modest changes in the estate tax provisions.

The fight has broader implications for a party that's still reeling from last month's electoral "shellacking." Many Democrats feel the president's actions over the past two weeks added injury to the insults delivered by voters.