Now that the United States Senate has decided to defy the Constitution by initiating a tax bill in the Upper Chamber, while predictably festooning it with gifts to high-income taxpayers, your own personal Blue Dog Congresscritter may hold the key to whether the Wall Street Bailout succeeds in the House of Representatives. Inter-chamber institutional pride may not prevent the People’s House from rejecting a Senate-driven bailout.
However, one piece of the Richistan-Relief effort — a "correction" to the Alternative Minimum Tax — has no corresponding offset to pay for the revenue loss. And a powerful Blue Dog sympathizer, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, is making noise about the need to talk to the Coalition about the Senate’s Wealthfare™ Bill.
Conservative Democrats, or so-called Blue Dogs, have been adamant that AMT bills should be offset and adhere to pay-as-you-go rules. House Democratic leaders have touted pay-go policies, but have reluctantly passed unpaid AMT bills because the Senate has not been able to clear such measures with offsets.
The House last week passed an AMT bill without offsets, 393-30. Thirty Democrats voted against the AMT bill, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.).
During a Wednesday morning interview on NBC’s “Today Show,” Hoyer said he is “not pleased” with the Senate’s maneuver and would discuss the upper chamber’s revisions with House Democrats.
This creates a new pressure point in the fragile coalition that favored the failed Wealthfare™ Bill on Monday: House Democrats who supported it but have previously rejected AMT bills that lack revenue offsets. So if your Congresscritter is among these thirteen public servants who believe in pay-as-you-go, you may wish to express your views to them (again).
Steny Hoyer (Maryland)
Brian Baird (Washington)
Marion Berry (Arkansas)
Allen Boyd (Florida)
Dennis Cardoza (California)
Jim Cooper (Tennessee)
Jim Costa (California)
Jane Harman (California)
John Larson (Connecticut)
Charlie Melancon (Louisiana)
Jim Moran (Virginia)
Adam Smith (Washington)
John Tanner (Tennessee)
The only way we’ll get a bill that truly favors the American people is to defeat this high-handed attempt by the Senate to shove a tax bill down at the Lower House. The Founders understood that the aristocrats who populated the Upper House would be more likely to favor their own high-end interests in crafting tax legislation; that’s why revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
Ask your Representative to stand up for institutional pride, and to be vigilant on previous commitments to pay-as-you-go rules for the AMT. Let’s just see if there’s another wedge into this bailout that doesn’t involve giveaways to the most privileged Americans.