The 83-15 vote the Senate took to move the tax bill Monday was huge news — when has something this consequential in the two years since President Obama took office passed with this much support from both parties?

Reluctant Democrats are coming around, finally seeing they have little choice but to climb aboard or risk the public blaming any further economic deterioration on them. After Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) led the charge against the compromise in a House Democratic Caucus meeting last week by shouting, "No we can't," he was called out by none other than the Rev. Al Sharpton, who said opposing the deal and blaming President Obama was tantamount to abandoning working people.

"I'm against tax cuts for the rich too ... but this is absolutely over the top to blame this on President Obama. The goal is to take care of working class people, not to attack the president," Sharpton declared on his radio show last week.
 
But even as Democrats grow resigned to the outcome, Republicans are facing growing pressure from conservatives outside and inside Congress to oppose the package as well. Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio) was one of five Republicans to vote against the bill in the first test vote Monday because he opposed the emergency spending on the extension of unemployment benefits and the overall price of the unpaid-for bill.
 
"We borrowed the money to pay for the first one; we borrowed the money from China to give me a tax break; we borrowed the money to pay for our wars; I'm tired of borrowing money," Voinovich told The Hill last week. "I want tax reform, which means that we'll pay more in taxes, but we'll get tax reform and make some sense out of this terrible situation."
 
Rep.-elect Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Deficits to average record .3 trillion over next decade: CBO Democrats don't expect to do 2020 budget MORE (R) of Arkansas told The Hill that the unemployment benefits have gone on too long, without being paid for. "We've already gone to 99 weeks — that's the better part of two years — and at some point in time, I fear that we're going to create an entire culture of joblessness in our nation ... There has to be a point in time out there where we have to come to the realization that it's no longer affordable."
 
Other conservatives are calling the tax plan a new TARP, something that Republicans who vote for it will likely regret. Last week Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, was one of several conservatives — such as likely 2012 contenders Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin — to come out against the tax-cut deal and warn those who support it. "On balance, the 'bad' outweighs the 'good' in this deal. Never mind the 'ugly' sure to come after Reid and Pelosi are through with it. No deal is better than a bad deal," wrote Bozell.
 
Democrats are still licking their wounds, according to this AP account, and liberals like Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) who called the debate "a fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party and the nation," will clearly remain dug in against the tax-cut plan. But in the days to come, how many Republicans will end up arguing that this is also a battle for the heart and soul of the GOP?

And how many of them will vote no on the House side?


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