Blue Dogs Bite, Stage Protest Vote On House Floor

The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats that pushes for fiscal responsibility, is having its "defining moment" this week, in the words of one of its members, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.).

The group is trying to fend off a massive tax bill that is not paid for by spending cuts or other tax increases. In short, it increases the deficit and foists the costs of today's tax cuts on future generations, the Blue Dogs argue. The bill would solve the problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax, an antiquated tax system that will increase the taxes of millions of unsuspecting taxpayers next year unless altered by Congress.

This evening the Blue Dogs staged a protest vote on the House floor to tell the Senate that they would not support an AMT fix that increases the deficit. Twenty-nine Blue Dogs sided with Republicans to defeat a routine procedural motion 184 to 218.

“The message to the Senate was that we are not leaving until they send us an AMT relief bill that’s fully paid for,” said a House Democratic aide familiar with the Blue Dogs' thinking.