Senate Democrats Ready to Break From Obama as Prelude to 2016 Election?

Senate Democrats Ready to Break From Obama as Prelude to 2016 Election?

Chuck Schumer’s speech was an interesting and unapologetic explanation that his full support of Obmacare was a mistake because it wasn’t good for the Democrat Party.  It had nothing to do with the fact that it is bad policy, bad for healthcare, bad for families, bad for jobs and bad for the economy. 

It was also the first indication that the Democrat leadership would be throwing Obama under the bus in preparation for the 2016 election.  There may be an opportunity here for those Senate Democrats to work with Senate Republicans and make some real economic progress.  But that may also be wishful thinking.

The President also threatened to veto of a $400 billion-plus tax-break bill that was being negotiated by both parties, including Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, exposing a widening rift within the  Democrat Party.  

Negotiators from both parties, were preparing to exclude a pair of Obama’s top priorities from a year-end agreement. The plan would lock in permanent extensions of tax breaks for corporations, college students and residents of states without income taxes while not making permanent breaks for low-income families.

Obama objected and responded in an unusual way. The White House issued a veto threat before lawmakers released the plan publicly.

Obama’s rejection of talks involving Senate Democrats shows tension in the relationship between the president and some parts of his party in Congress, particularly Reid.

“I have no idea what is going on here,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Reid. “The idea that the White House would be willing to threaten a veto like this before a deal is even announced is very unusual.”

(Reuters) – Criticism of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law by a top Senate Democrat this week laid bare post-election tensions that could pose challenges for the party in upcoming fights with Republicans over taxes, energy and immigration.

In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats’ losses in this month’s midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed “a cascade of issues” botched by the White House, starting with Obama’s push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.

Later on Tuesday, the White House took the unusual step of publicly pledging to veto a deal on tax breaks that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was trying to hammer out with Republicans in the House of Representatives.

“There is clearly a lot of unhappiness and a lot of mistrust that exists between the president and his congressional party,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

Democrats will cede control of the Senate to Republicans in the New Year after heavy losses in the Nov. 4 elections that also gave the Republicans an increased majority in the House.

Obama, whose low approval ratings were seen as a drag on his party in the elections, may see support waver from some Democrats on an energy issue – the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to be processed on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Democrats in states where voters want pipeline will face a dilemma over whether to break ranks with Obama and back Republican legislation aimed at forcing the project through.

Republicans will also try to thwart the executive action on immigration that Obama announced last week and that grants temporary relief from deportation for millions of immigrants who are living in the United States without the right papers.

Several Democratic senators have been critical of Obama for taking executive action rather than letting Congress take the lead on the issue. If six or seven joined Republicans, they could block Obama’s action, forcing a veto.


In some ways, Schumer’s remarks were typical of the kind of “post-disaster syndrome” of finger-pointing common after election losses, Baker said.

“Typically, when a political party has suffered an electoral debacle, one of the first things they do is shoot the survivors,” he said.

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