Washington (CNN) – Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate have decided to move ahead with votes after Thanksgiving to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less.
These decisions come hours after Democratic leaders met at the White House with President Obama, where several sources say they talked extensively about the tax cuts. Until now, how or whether Democrats would proceed on the thorny issue of extending the Bush era tax cuts was unresolved.
In the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN that Democratic leaders have scheduled a vote. "At least that will be available for members to have a vote on," Hoyer said.
What is still unclear is if that House vote would extend so-called middle class tax cuts permanently, or just on a temporary basis.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to vote on the middle class tax cut extension most Democrats want, but he will also allow Republicans to hold a vote on what they are demanding: a permanent extension of all Bush-era tax cuts.
"We want to give the Republicans an opportunity to vote on McConnell's legislation," Reid said. He also said he might hold multiple votes on the issue, "If we have to do it more than once, twice, to show the American people that we support the middle class."
Reid said he is not sure whether the Democrats' legislation in the Senate would be a permanent extension for those making $250,000 or less, or temporary. The Senate Democratic caucus appears to be split on that.
"We have to be very, very careful extending things indefinitely because we have to focus on what the economy might be in the future," said Reid.
It is unclear if Democrats in either chamber have enough votes to pass only the middle class tax cuts. Democratic leaders are leaving open the possibility of compromise with Republicans if their measures do not pass. In fact,
Democratic sources say Obama made clear in Thursday's meeting they may ultimately need to find a middle ground.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D- Maryland) released a statement regarding an extension of middle class tax cuts:
“The House will vote on an extension of middle class tax cuts before they expire. Democrats are firmly committed to continuing tax cuts for middle class families on income up to $250,000. We cannot afford to add $700 billion to the deficit to benefit the wealthiest Americans with almost no economic benefit as Republicans want to do," Hoyer said in the statement.