Even though President Barack Obama has not been “engaged” during fiscal cliff negotiations, and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has twice rejected opportunities for the Senate to vote on Obama’s plan to avert the fiscal cliff, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for Obama’s 2012 campaign, sent an e-mail to Obama supporters accusing Republicans of “holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.”
“Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days? A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that’s who,” Cutter wrote. “Cutting taxes for the middle class shouldn’t be difficult, especially when Republicans claim they agree with the President on the issue. But some Republicans are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.”
Obama’s initial offer to avert the fiscal cliff included $1.6 trillion in new taxes, a new round of stimulus projects, and his having unprecedented power to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. Even Congressional Democrats did not support his plan, which is why Reid refused to bring up his plan for a vote on the Senate floor. In addition, ongoing negotiations are at a stalemate in part because the Obama administration and Democrats refuse to enact structural reforms to programs like Social Security and Medicare and cut federal spending. Obama has also signaled he may even veto his own tax hikes if he does not get the power to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally or take the country over the fiscal cliff for political gain.
According to Cutter, though, Republicans, who want the Bush tax cuts to be extended for everyone, will be to blame if the country goes over the so-called fiscal cliff:
Here’s what’s going on right now: President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year. The Senate has passed that bill, and the President is ready to sign it — but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. House Democrats have filed a petition that would force a vote if it attracts 218 signatures.
Cutter urges supporters to use the campaign’s “call tool” and “reach out to fellow Obama supporters and make sure they contact their Republican representative” to put pressure on them to increase the top tax rate. She then fails to mention the federal government’s spending problem and insists the wealthiest Americans, who pay the lion’s share of the nation’s taxes, are not paying their “fair share”:
Let’s get one thing straight: If your taxes go up, Republicans will have made a conscious choice to let that happen. They’ll have missed the opportunity to prevent it, just to cut taxes for the wealthy.
Republicans need to stop using the middle class as a bargaining chip. If they fail to act, a typical middle-class family of four will see a $2,200 tax hike starting in a few short weeks. Middle-class families could face some tough financial decisions simply because Republicans didn’t want to ask the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay their fair share.
After winning reelection, the Obama administration said they it would try to use the campaign’s organizing tools from the campaign to advocate for Obama’s second-term agenda, and Cutter’s email is evidence that the Obama administration seems intent on doing just that.