A leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus believes the deal to extend the Bush-era tax rates, if passed into law, will keep Democrats on the defensive for the next two years.

"We think it's a bad deal," Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the group's co-chairman, told The Ballot Box. "It doesn't help the party, and it puts us in a defensive position for the next two years."

Grijalva, who narrowly won a fifth term in November, said Wednesday that many liberal Democrats have been expressing their distaste for the deal in recent days.

"It might elevate the president in some sense, I don't think so," he said before entering a Democratic Caucus meeting at the Capitol with Vice President Joe Biden. "But for the base, and for many of us who have campaigned for two cycles against tax breaks for the rich and the estate tax, it puts us in an untenable position."

Grijalva said he expected liberal House Democrats to vote against the tax deal when the legislation comes to the floor, but that could help their prospects in 2012, he added.

"If there’s one silver lining, it's an opportunity for Congress to assert its independence, too," said Grijalva.