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. Johnson

    The GOP really has to stop this nonsense which demonstrates a dysfunctional Congress. It is reasonable for those earning over $250,000.00 a year to pay a little more tax. A favorable vote would go a long way to increase our confidence in the Government.

    July 24, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. w l jones

    All an all this nation is bless with a group of find people from one end to the other with good climate rich soil and abundle of food great Highway thank to our government..what can one say but thank. spike all the bickering. Bless.

    July 24, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. California

    Either extend them all or let them all expire.

    Class warfare needs to end.

    July 24, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. Mike Texoma

    Well,then, we may have an opportunity for Republicns to drop their "starve the beast" strategy in favor of what most Americans favor on tax policy, However, as long as they see a chance to win in November, without majority approval on this issue, they will continue to insist on starving the beast. Given the deficit situation, and this opportunity to bring about a substantial reduction, one hopes – thin as hope may be – they might favor cloture and vote in favor of the President's bill.

    July 24, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Name

    The rich is crazy and some people don't get it. And as u can see what they will due if they don't get there way hold us at cost. One day us as people will get it. And take on the beast. As he does us newyork holla

    July 24, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Name. ken floyd

    The rich is crazy and some people don't get it. And as u can see what they will due if they don't get there way hold us at cost. One day us as people will get it. And take on the beast. As he does us newyork holla

    July 24, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. Martin Walters Seattle

    We need this Democratic Party first step to tax equity and fairness.

    July 24, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. Diana

    So let me get this straight. All 3 proposals include tax breaks for the middle class and the poor. They all agree they deserve the break. BUT–Republicans are holding up the votes with a filibuster because they want the ones in the country who don't need the breaks to also get tax breaks?? Absurd. Stop holding things up and pass the stuff already. You can argue over who deserves what later with the high end people who can afford anything they want. Stop holding hostage these plans for your votes to blame the other party. I blame you Republicans for this. Not the Democrats. Your strategy of causing this problem will not reflect on Democrats raising taxes on all Americans, but a bunch of cry-babies who ruin things for everyone because they don't get their way. You Republicans will be to blame. Just like you are to blame for the country's credit rating dropping when you held the debt ceiling hostage with your tactics. Get over yourselves and do your stinking jobs. I'm sick of this stuff.

    July 24, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |

    Whether income is from "wages" or "dividends, interest or capital gains", it should be taxed at the same rate. "Wages" are the "dividend" received by workers for THEIR investment in job training, company commitment, transportation to GET to their job, etc. WHY are wages, then, taxed differently then the bond holdings of millionaires?

    July 24, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    No one likes to pay taxes, but it is something that must be done by everyone. I think that we could pay less if there were less corruption with the defense contractors as well as the wealthy putting more into social welfare programs like food banks and private job training programs. Why aren't the wealthy doing this? Because many of them think that they don't have to care for their fellow Americans.

    July 24, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Political Games

    I'm getting sick of the dumbed-down rhetoric and party politics that both Democrats and Republicans continue to put forth from Washington. These short clips that our media outlets show representatives jabbing at each other do every American no service as it does not educate, but rather deceive or skew us. It's time that we bring back debates of political philosophies in formats such as Lincoln-Douglas. We need the 4th Estate: the media to step back and remove themselves from the news, but rather show the news in an unadulterated manner. Every American deserves to see not just the position and record of those that seek to represent us, but the in-depth reasoning behind every their choices that are not constrained by the 30 second response we've seen in debates.

    July 24, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. Frank Britt

    In a recovery like this one (if it IS a "recovery" at all) it makes very little sense to raise taxes on ANYONE. It is past time to put the class warfare crap away and for the Senate to do what is right for the economy and extend the so-called "Bush Tax Cuts" for a single year and let the new administration get real, serious, tax reform on the table in a very serious way in 2013.

    July 24, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  13. 1Joyce

    When most economists agree that you should not raise taxes in a recession, and Obama agreed with them the last time the Bush tax cuts were extended, why would they want to eliminate the tax cuts now? It's a no-brainer to me – either raise everyone's taxes in January, or keep the current tax cuts in place. And instead of always trying to sock it to the taxpayers, how about the powers that be in Washington do some serious reduction in spending.

    July 25, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  14. fandancy

    I'm sure the Tea Party Republicans will vote in lock step to extend the tax cuts even though that means we will need to borrow more money and increase the national debt. Interesting because they promised to not increase the national debt. In other words, it's politics as usual.

    July 25, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  15. J.V.Hodgson

    Just read the last paragraph and McConnel and Kyle clearly did not know exactly what they were either opposing or proposing.The Senate bill clearly will support Democratic previous legislation and policy ideas i.e the below $200k or 250K tax cuts stay along with the 2009 tax credits as part of stimulus, and the rich cuts expire.
    Republicans as usual say no ( out of hand no need to read) unless we have a vote on the our way or the highway we'll filibuster yours. Now my fellow Americans how long has that been going on?... Only problem is we'd better fix it and do some compromises before Oct 31 as otherwise the much lauded uncertainty Republicans tout will kick in and employers of government projects will start out of necessity to cut back on employees as they cannot be sure of the funds to continue work beyond January they have to give 90 days notice to employees.
    PS there are not many ways to cut 700bn from budget deficits and debt with minimum economic damage to employment than the rich tax cut abolition.

    July 25, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  16. Geoff

    Republicans know who butters their bread and it's not the middle class and it's not the working poor. It's the wealthiest 1-percent who made their money when Daddy died or on the backs of minimum wage labor. Republicans don't give a damn about America as long as their sugar daddies are sending in the dough.

    July 25, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  17. pogojo

    Let them all expire, its time for all to pay their fare share

    July 25, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  18. david

    All this is crazy the wealthy and the rich dont need tax breaks or cuts middle to low class do it should be the more money you make the more taxes you gotta pay but not nothing too crazy bcuz they dont need to be punished for being rich just make them pay a lil more than the rest of us bcuz they can afford it while most of us cant and besides most wealthy or rich dont pay taxes they go overseas to avoid tax laws but idk its crazy

    July 25, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  19. AgeofInsanity

    Sneaky Republicans always trying to game the system.

    July 25, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  20. calvin

    fix the problem flat tax all the income for legal american should be tax to keep the goverment running. next stop waste this would be the best way to pay off the debt. and last stop all wellfare write a new law 3 years for people who will learn a trade or a degree and no more life time hand outs.

    July 25, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  21. usagoblue

    Tax breaks for the 98% and 97% small businesses and everyone on the 1st $250,000 should be passed. Also chid tax credits, earned income and educational tax credits should be extended. Period!

    July 25, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  22. wirius

    A compromise would be to extend the tax cuts on those making under 250,000 or 95% of the population, while leaving only the top 5% of earners taxed. Of course, the Republicans will not compromise, and want things their way or the highway. Getting a tax cut on 95% of the US population isn't a good enough victory for them.

    July 25, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  23. rosethornne

    Wait, wait, I'm having a vision.... I see.... pompous men in suits, one is crying, one is very jowly, the rest are super smug..... they're saying something.... something about job creators and fiscal responsibility... oh wait! now all their pants have burst into flames! Their pants are on fire! Their pants are on fire! The pants have consumed them! Oh the humanity..... No, wait, those were GOPs, never mind, no real loss.

    July 25, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  24. Paul Acosta

    Republicons don't want to pay their fare share because all the care about is money, they are nothing but fake Christians who misuse the word of God!!!

    July 25, 2012 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  25. Rick

    Cmon Americans, it's obvious where the Republicans interest lie, how can they continue to support the rich with a straight face and get away with it?

    July 25, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
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