Will Democrats Support Bush Tax Cut Deal?

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President Barack Obama has reached a compromise with Republicans on an extension of the Bush tax cuts, but he still has a lot of work to do. He must convince his own party to support the deal.

Fresh off a hand shake with Republicans over a deal to extend the Bush era tax cuts for all Americans, President Obama went on national TV on Tuesday to explain why he made the agreement.

"I felt the middle class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high end tax cuts," Obama said. "I think its tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed."

CBN News spoke with Regent University distinguished professor Charles Dunn about the challenge President Obama now faces, and whether the tax deal was the right move.  Click play for his comments following CBN News Senior Editor John Waage's updated report.

Democrats were watching the president's televised address, but many weren't impressed.

"I'm not a big fan of what's been negotiated," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Reid and other Democrats were upset the president agreed to extend tax cuts to high earners and reduce the estate tax for wealthy heirs.

Under the deal, the estate tax goes up to 35 percent, but each spouse can exempt up to $5 milllion from being taxed. The deal also extends expiring unemployment benefits for 13 months.

Republicans like the deal much better than Democrats.

"I'm very hopeful and optimistic that a large majority of members of the Republican conference will find this proposal worth supporting," said Sen Mitch McConnell,R-Ky. "And I'm hopeful that the Democratic leaders can convince their members as well that this is the way to go forward. And is the right thing to do under these circumstances."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,D-Calf., said reaction has not been very good among her fellow Democrats. She calls the estate tax provision "a bridge too far."

"I think we're going to have to do some more work on it," Reid said.

"To my Democratic friends what I'd suggest is let's make sure that we understand this is a long game, it's not a short game," Obama said.

Also, some Republicans will need convincing as well.

Reports indicate Tea Party favorite, Sen. Jim Demint,R-S.C., won't support the deal, because it raises the deficit and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio said he'll vote "no" because he's "tired of borrowing money".

Time to approve a deal is running out. If Congress fails to pass an extension by January 1, all Americans will see their income taxes go up.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.