The partisan wrestling on tax issues took an odd turn in the Senate Wednesday as Republicans objected to a vote on the President Barack Obama's plan for a one-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had challenged Democrats in the morning to bring up Obama's proposed extension for a vote, apparently believing it would not pass. He charged that the Senate should stop dithering on what he described as an unpopular tax hike.
"Frankly, we don’t have the luxury to waste any more time arguing about a question that’s already settled for most people, McConnell said. "The problem here isn’t that government taxes too little, but that it spends too much.
“What the American people need right now isn’t a lecture on fairness but some certainty," McConnell continued said. “I have already called for a one-year extension of all of the current income tax rates. Today, I’ll go further by asking for consent that we set up two votes in the Senate.
“One on the president’s proposal to raise taxes on nearly one million business owners in the middle of the worst economic recovery in modern times, and one that would extend current income tax rates for one year," he said. “The Senate should make itself clear which policy it supports. This is our chance to do it."
But by the afternoon, Democrats seemed assured that they could manage to get at least 50 votes, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered the GOP its chance -- as long as it was a straight majority vote, with no 60-vote filibuster threshold used to block much legislation.
"They knew they'd lose," said one Democratic aide who was not authorized to speak publicly about the behind-the-scenes strategy. "So they came up with this lame excuse that they hadn't seen legislation they also hadn't seen in the morning."
oops, not sure where this went: I kinda hope the tax cuts stay for awhile, and letting them stay for another year could help the Republicans look like they aren't dead set against the President no matter what their bickering does to the American public. I mean they are Bush era cuts after all, so they're only killing stuff their party passed.