It’s Democrats who could give him the biggest headache.
Over the last couple of weeks, influential leaders of his party have raised objections to major parts of his $3.5 trillion plan for 2010, especially in the Senate.
Coal states don’t like Obama’s plan to tax pollution. But without the $645 billion “cap and trade” emissions tax, Obama would have to ditch his middle-class tax cut.
Many conservative Dems dislike the President’s plan to trim tax breaks wealthier people get for charitable deductions and mortgage interest. Those taxes are supposed to pay $300 billion for health care reform.
If Obama were to lose just those two, his plan would be nearly a trillion dollars in the hole over 10 years. Democrats say privately it could have a huge impact.
“Yeah, it matters,” said one senior aide.
A Senate insider said, “I don’t think it’s feasible” to get all the Democrats onboard. And in the Senate, where it often takes 60 votes to win, the loss of just one or two of the 58 Democrats can doom a bill.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a conservative North Dakotan, went so far as to warn yesterday that he’s heard so many complaints he could “absolutely be sure we can’t pass this budget.”
A White House official said having some Democrats opposing them could help by showing Obama is doing what’s needed, not partisan favors. But early signs of trouble have already popped up.
The Senate passed the remainder of this year’s pork-laden $410 billion budget last night – but only after it was nearly killed by Democratic defectors.
The White House downplayed Dem distress. “I don’t think ultimately the criticism is surprising,” said Obama aide Robert Gibbs.
White House-friendly analysts said politicians oppose Obama at their peril because of his popularity. But they also admit there’s danger Obama may not get all he wants.
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