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U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during news conference on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law on Capitol Hill in Washington June 28, 2012. Nearly three years after he died, Pelosi was thinking of Senator Ted Kennedy and
Give 'em hell, Nancy.
Engineering the House Democrats' effort to force a vote on an extension of tax cuts for the middle class isn't the only role Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has taken on in the fiscal cliff curb fight. She is, TPM's Brian Beutler argues, "keeping the negotiating center of gravity in Democrats’ comfort zone."
As the controller of an overwhelming number of Democratic votes, she’s there to warn all negotiators, including Obama himself, not to cut a bad deal.
“Leader Pelosi is playing offense on the middle class tax cuts bill,” says a House Democratic leadership aide. “She’s unifying the House Democrats around an action they can all support, while also reminding all the negotiators at the table that you can’t reach a deal without changes in tax rates on the wealthy.”

That’s as much a warning to Obama as it is to Boehner. Until recently Obama had left himself enough wiggle room to accept a deal that would raise revenue from top earners by limiting their deductions instead of increasing their income tax rates.

Because Senate Democrats passed legislation in August to permanently extend middle-income tax cuts, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have been sidelined for the moment by dint of circumstance.

Pelosi’s role, in effect, is to make sure the Senate bill comes up for a vote in the House, ideally unchanged, so it can go straight to Obama’s desk for a signature. Most recently, she rejected House Republicans’ counteroffer to Obama, which would include benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

Pelosi's express rejection of benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security aren't just an admonishment to Republicans, but a reminder to Democrats to stand by their principles. She's giving Democrats the buttressing that they'll need to withstand the constant pressure the Very Serious People will exert to make sure the poor and elderly suffer in this process in the name of balance.

She has her work cut out for her since she's got "help" from the likes of Rep. Steny Hoyer, who's trying to put benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare right back on the negotiating table. It's going to be a long few weeks.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:23 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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