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Gibbs: Unhappy Democrats Should Come Up With Alternative

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that President Barack Obama sympathizes with Democrats angry about the tax deal he brokered with Senate Republicans but challenged his party to come up with another way forward that all sides can agree on.

“He understands that there are parts of the agreement that Democrats don’t like. He’s certainly one of them,” Gibbs told reporters during a briefing.

But Democrats unhappy with provisions in the bill aimed at locking in GOP support — namely an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy and provisions dealing with estate taxes — will either need to back the deal in the name of preserving middle-class tax cuts or come up with an alternative that is “agreeable to everybody” and that would “strengthen the coalition,” he said.

“If everybody took out what they didn’t like, we would have nothing,” the White House spokesman said. “The bottom line: We will have a vote that will not result in people’s taxes going up by the end of the year.”

House Democrats sent a warning to the White House earlier Thursday by voting against bringing up the tax deal unless changes are made. Gibbs tamped down the significance of the resolution they agreed to during a Democratic Caucus meeting.

Lawmakers made that decision on “a voice vote,” he said, “and my guess is, if a lot of voices yell one thing, you may not yell the other.” Gibbs also signaled that Obama won’t be coming to the Hill to try to lobby his party on the deal. “The president has been making his case. The president will continue to,” he said.

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