Senate poised to vote on Bush tax cuts Wednesday
July 24th, 2012
06:31 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate poised to vote on Bush tax cuts Wednesday

Washington (CNN) - The Senate is poised to cast votes Wednesday on competing Democratic and Republican plans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.

While neither proposal is expected to pass, each represents what amounts to an opening bid for what is sure to be a frenzied negotiating session after the election as the economy nears the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

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The Senate Democrats’ bill would extend the tax cuts just on incomes under $250,000 for a couple and $200,000 for an individual. That’s in keeping with their pledge to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, not the wealthy.

Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all taxpayers, arguing any tax hikes while the economy is still weak would make a recovery more difficult.

On Tuesday, Senate leaders jockeyed over procedure, and late in the day it wasn’t clear which proposals would get votes.

Democratic leaders were confident that if Republicans would drop their filibuster, which is currently stalling action on the measure, the Democratic bill could get at least 51 votes. They doubted the Republicans could do as well on their bill.

Republicans “know a majority of senators and a majority of Americans support our plan to help middle class families,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the floor. “Our plan gives 98 percent of American families certainty their taxes won’t go up and it reduces the deficit by almost $1 trillion by ending wasteful tax breaks for the rich.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party wants votes on three measures. One on the Democratic bill, one on the Republican bill, and one on a proposal by President Barack Obama that some Senate Democrats oppose because of the rates on estate taxes and taxes on dividends. Republicans signaled a split by the Democrats could hurt the president politically.

“We think we should have a vote on all three proposals tomorrow,” McConnell said. “Show the American people what’s really behind these proposals and what we stand for. If Democrats believe the president’s rhetoric, they’ll vote for his proposal. And he’ll work to get their support.”

Republicans threatened to continue their filibuster and deny votes on the Democratic and GOP bills if they didn’t also get a vote on the president’s proposal.

Also Tuesday, Democrats railed against Republicans for wanting to extend tax cuts for the wealthy while at the same time not including three expiring tax credits for many middle and lower income families that both the president and Senate Democrats included in their bills.

The tax credits, which were approved as part of the 2009 economic stimulus law that most Republicans opposed, include credits for college tuition costs, and expanded versions of the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit.

“This idea that they don’t want to raise taxes on anyone,” complained Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “They’re okay raising taxes on many middle class people as long as they get their tax breaks for the very wealthiest among us. That’s an amazing and astounding point.”

Asked about a decision to leave out the tax credits, Senate Republican Leader McConnell said he couldn’t answer because he had just found out about the omission and Sen. Jon Kyl, the number two Republican, said he would have to find out why.

Filed under: 2012 • Democrats • Republicans • Senate • Taxes
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Kris Craig

    The Republicans are playing political games. Threatening a filibuster if they don't vote on the President's proposal?! That's just utterly insane. The President is not a legislator. He doesn't get to draft legislation. It's standard practice for the White House to draft their "ideal" measure and for their party to subsequently use bits and pieces of it.

    Normally I wouldn't care, but we're on the edge of this "fiscal cliff." The ONLY reason the Republicans are doing this is because they want to score a cheap talking point (cheap in that it really won't translate into swaying any swing voters; it just plays to their base). And they're willing to abuse their power and risk doing even more harm to our economy in the process.

    As for the Dems, they can't get all high and mighty over this, either. Unless they're willing to roll out the cots and let this become a REAL filibuster, then they're just as guilty as the Repubublicans.

    July 24, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the floor. “Our plan gives 98 percent of American families certainty their taxes won’t go up and it reduces the deficit by almost $1 trillion by ending wasteful tax breaks for the rich.”
    This is precious. Harry Reid saying he is worried about deficits. Don't believe it for a second. He wants more to spend. His behavior for the last 3 1/2 years is all the proof we need.

    July 24, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. California Gary

    Gosh.......I wonder how the Republicans are going to vote? They're so unpredictable!

    July 24, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. 1Joyce

    Most economists say it is a bad idea to raise taxes in the middle of a recession. Obama also said the same thing, when he agreed to continue the Bush tax cuts earlier. This economy is not recovering very quickly, so why are the Democrats wanting to discontinue the tax cuts now? If there wasn't so much uncertainty right now, businesses would be open to hiring more people – raising their taxes will not help at all. More could lose their jobs. I guess if you still have your job, you aren't concerned with that.

    July 24, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Pete

    Hope the president let's go of all the Bush tax extentions,maybe then will representitives on both sides wake up when citizens start to rebel.Then the incumbent can go back with a more permanent tax reduction for people under $250,000 and throw the wealthy under the bus,they most certainly deserve it,they been riding on a reduced tax rate savings high for ten years ,its time the freebie for the wealthy to end..Wealthy don't suffer thru recessions,they spend more because they buy things cheaper,so they benefit from the suffering of others,its nothing new,they know what to do with their tax loop holes too!!

    July 24, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Paul

    "Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all taxpayers, arguing any tax hikes while the economy is still weak would make a recovery more difficult."

    Ask any economist, a 3% increase on income over 250K for the top 2% of Americans will have little effect on the economy. But, drastic cuts to government spending during a recession will tank it.

    July 24, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  7. w l jones

    I can see it now cows dancing in the street of Texas some party members not helping theirs constition who really need a tax release. ..hiding behinding I got mine at taz!TAX! payer expense. Bless.

    July 24, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Julie

    The Tea/Repubs would rather have the perverse thrill of everyone going over the "fiscal cliff" than not. After all, if the US goes over the cliff, the rich won't be the ones to go no matter what. But they'll be content to cause it and then watch the other 2% do so with guffaws and back slapping all the while thinking that's what Jesus would do too.

    July 24, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. John the Historian

    I am sure Willard does not want his taxes raised but then maybe he has nothing to worry about with his wealth in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland. Since he is hiding his donations to the mormon cult I am sure he doesn't want the Christian Right to get too worried about his promotion of this cult. I wonder what mormons believe about wealth on their planet kolob ?!

    July 24, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. dale zalewski it's tax increases for the wealthy weaken the economy, huh? Before it cuts for the wealtjhy create jobs. But, you say, the only jobs created were in China and India...American jobs shipped over seas where they'll work for a bowl of rice and a fish a day. Americans ended up losing their jobs and had to depent upon enemployment benefits, which the Republicans are trying to do away with. I swear...these rep[ublicans can lie out of both corners of their mouths at the same time and if they are ever caught telling the truth they probably lie aboout that, too!

    July 24, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. us_1776

    So what other childish maneuvers will we get out of the tea potty contingent this time?

    It's not enough that Dems are going along with an extension of this ripoff but the tea potty will be sure that all the benefit goes to the 1%-ers no doubt.


    July 24, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. ugot2bkidden

    The republicans will never agree to the democratic plan, as it leaves them no leverage in the future to extend all tax cuts. President Obama, months ago, said this it not the time to raise taxes...period. Raising taxes at this time is not good for the economy. I'm wondering why the change of heart. Could it be for votes, or maybe he has just "evolved" once again.

    July 24, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Ins1te

    The Bush tax cuts have been in place 10 years and they failed! So what's the point in extending them? Where are the jobs? What happened to trickle down economics? Nothing! Remember the collapse in 2008? Wake up people!

    July 24, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. Vic of New York

    OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! Let the Bush tax cuts expire and the mandatory defense spending go into effect.... OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! OFF THE CLIFF ! ! !

    July 24, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. Namehoppyt

    Are you kidding. The minority leader does not know why 3 tax cuts that greatly favor the middle class were left out.
    Either he is incompetent, or more likely does not want to own up to the clear fact. The only taxes really important to Republicans are those they help the rich avoid

    July 24, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. degazmatic

    Eisenhower taxes on wealthiest was 87%. Government could afford to fund nasa and interstate highway. Reagan and bush 2 cut taxes on rich and now america cant send its astronauts in space. Two Unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts, unfunded medicaid expansion but no new taxes. Where does government get money for its revenue? Taxes. Bush 1 realised this and raised taxes. Raising taxes reduces deficits ala clinton and bush 1. Lowering taxes creates deficits ala reagan and bush 2. Raise the taxes!

    July 24, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. enuff

    Their whole goal is to make the president look bad... not help middle class americans... oh no... can't do that. Grover Norquist wouldn't approve. Quit holding us hostage and do your job!!!

    July 24, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. L. R. Long

    The GOP needs to point to at least one example where allowing the top 1-2% to have tax breaks has helped the economy or created one job. Bush43 gave tax breaks to his millionaires and, not only was that followed by an economic collapse, it was failed to create one job. The debt grew in size substantially. The rich get tax breaks and they keep that money. The don't "spread" it and the certainly don't hire people with it.

    July 24, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Make permanent the Bush tax cuts for the middle class – the folks who spend money, create demand and grow the economy – and let them expire on the wealthy, 62% of whom WANT to pay more in taxes.

    The wealthy who want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent are the ones who claim that doing so will create jobs, the last 10 years of experience to the contrary. (My bad; they've been creating jobs overseas, where labor is cheap and environmental regulations don't exist.)

    In my book, voting to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is a vote AGAINST our country's long-term economic health and prosperity. PERIOD.

    July 24, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. Alex

    Let it expire!Hey Obama no compromising this time !

    July 24, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. dave

    Hay Mitch you don't want to raise taxes on the "JOB CREATORS" do you? They need more time to "CREAT JOBS"! Seems that it takes a very long time to do so because they have had these tax cuts for more than 10 years! Maybe they need an even 20 years to "creat jobs"! Maybe the term "JOB CREATORS" is really code for the GOP sucking up to the rich. Its like the word " INTITLEMENT" the GOP used to replace social sucerity so it would sound like its free instead of payed for which it really is!

    July 24, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. daniel

    Its time for america to get it together and realize that the two party system is not benefiting america anymore and we as a people need to vote for the party that wants to good for everyone and not just a select few.

    July 24, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  23. daniel

    The republican party wants everything for themselves and if we as a people dont realize that we can change political scene by getting out and voting the republican out of office then we stand to loose everything.

    July 24, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. GetReal

    McConnell always wants to insert poison pills into bills that he knows the Dems will not support. Now, he is holding middle class American tax cuts hostage, just to score personal jabs against President Obama.

    July 24, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  25. RBN

    There's going to be a boat-load of Republican Senators looking for work next go around.

    July 24, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
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