The Year of the Moderate, Part II
As House Democrats move forward with their health care overhaul, 22 Democrats — 21 of them freshmen members — have announced their opposition to the upper-income tax hikes party leaders hope will fund the proposal, The Hill reported today.
That strategy, the Democrats wrote in a July 16 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), would have a negative impact on small businesses.
We believe that any revenues for the health care program should be collected from a larger base than the critical small business sector. We encourage you to seek creative ways to reduce the overall need for revenue generation, and to propose a more equitable way of distributing the burden of any remaining needs to ensure that health care reform is a success for small business, our economy, and the millions of uninsured who stand to benefit.
This is no real surprise. The freshman class of Democrats comes largely from conservative-leaning districts where any tax hike — even if it would affect only the wealthiest 1.2 percent of households — is anathema.
As Speaker, Pelosi has repeatedly allowed the members of her flock to cater to their constituents’ ideologies even when those sentiments have bucked the leadership’s priorities — a savvy political strategy aimed always at preserving seats in the next election. And these 22 Democrats are clearly banking on that trend to continue. Still, there aren’t too many funding options available to pay the $1.2 trillion cost of the Democrats’ health care proposal. If the choice falls between providing universal coverage and taxing the wealthiest Americans, well, Pelosi will likely start pushing back on this one.