ABC News’ Russell Goldman reports:
A number of House Democrats are pushing back hard against President Obama’s compromise tax deal, with one calling the plan to extend the Bush tax cuts, “fiscally irresponsible” and “grossly unfair.”
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, is leading the charge. He fired the opening salvo against the President in a letter circulated to House Democrats Monday night, calling on them to vote down the deal because it does not go far enough to protect the middle class.
“We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the President initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we,” Welch wrote in an open letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“What I’m hearing from members is a lot of apprehension and concern,” Welch told ABC News, when asked if he thought enough Democrats would support the plan to get it passed.
By just after noon on Tuesday, Welch's office counted 15 other Democrats willing to opposed to deal.
Welch said the current plan “holds unemployment benefits and middle class tax cuts hostage to give a tax cut to billionaires” and chided the president for giving into Republican demands too quickly.
“We’re in the seventh inning of a game and he called it before it’s over,” he said.
The proposed package would extend tax cuts across incomes, maintain benefits to the unemployed, and cut payroll taxes.
The congressman said the plan would add $700 billion to the national debt.
The deal cut between the White House and the ascendant Republican leadership, prevented one the first major standoffs since the midterm elections, but created a rift inside the President’s own party, with Congressional Democrats refusing to support the proposal.
House Democrats are divided on the issue, and Welch said he did not know how many members would oppose the proposal when it came to a vote.