The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 9, 2010
A hostage crisis in Washington as GOP holds out for tax cuts

It's like some horrible mash-up of "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Groundhog Day" in our nation's capital.

Senate Republicans, by taking the tax cut for the middle class hostage, were able to extract the ransom they wanted from President Barack Obama.

But House Democrats are balking at the compromise, which they see as a giveaway to the wealthy. Their caucus passed a resolution - a slap in the face to Obama, actually - to reject the current terms of the deal.

"House Democrats share the president's commitment to providing the middle class with a tax cut to grow the economy and create jobs. The House passed a bill last week to provide tax cuts for all Americans but not a bonus tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. The extra tax cut for the top 3 percent does not create jobs and increases the deficit. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked the bill from being approved by the Senate," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said in a statement.

Until the tax deal is signed, sealed and delivered, however, Senate Republicans are holding other Democratic priorities hostage.

They blocked consideration of the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young people who are raised and educated here after being brought by parents who are illegal immigrants.

And this afternoon, they blocked a vote on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" law that stops openly gay Americans from serving in the military.

That likely kills the repeal for the year, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged the Senate to "take whatever time it takes to repeal this policy before the end of the year."

" 'Don't ask, don't tell' is the wrong policy for our military," California's senior U.S. senator said in a statement. "It deprives our military of badly needed talent. It tells our gay soldiers that they will be discharged from the service they love if they are true to who they are. And it flies in the face of some of our most fundamental constitutional guarantees of personal liberty and equal justice under law."

By the way, for those who don't recognize those movie titles, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975) starred Al Pacino as a good-guy hostage taker, while "Groundhog Day" (1993) featured Bill Murray as weatherman stuck in an endless loop.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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