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McConnell "Calls Reid’s Bluff" On Tax Plans | Missouri Political News Service

McConnell “Calls Reid’s Bluff” On Tax Plans

July 25th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Human Events writes today, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has an idea for cutting through all the parliamentary maneuvers and political kabuki theater: hold votes on Wednesday, in succession, on all three of the current proposals for avoiding Taxmageddon this January.  Senate Democrats have been notably reticent to actually vote on any of the legislative props they’ve been waving around, particularly President Obama’s idea for taxing the hell out of small business owners, which his own Party regards with all the enthusiasm of a dead spider floating at the bottom of a coffee mug. . . . Republicans want to stave off Taxmageddon for all Americans, while the Democrats want to exclude certain politically disfavored groups. . . . Virtually everyone, pointedly including an earlier version of Barack Obama, knows that raising taxes in a recessionary economy is a horrible idea.

So Leader McConnell went to the floor this morning asking for votes on all three plans. The Hill notes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans would allow a simple majority vote on the two tax proposals. ‘Republicans will allow a simple majority vote on the two proposals,’ McConnell said on the floor Wednesday. ‘We’ll have a simple majority vote on the Democrats’ plan and Republican plan and I would also recommend we take a simple majority vote on President Obama’s plan.’ . . . McConnell said he believes lawmakers’ positions should be on the record. ‘The only way to force people to take a stand is to make sure that today’s votes truly count,’ McConnell said. ‘By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here.’”

Reporters were quick to recognize the implications of Leader McConnell’s move to have simple majority votes on the various tax plans. In a piece titled, “Senate GOP Call Reid’s Bluff On Bush Tax Cuts,” liberal news site TPM writes, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid to show his cards. For days, Reid’s been signaling that he has at least 50 votes to pass legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts up to income of $250,000 — a close facsimile of the tax plan at the heart of President Obama’s re-election campaign.”

Roll Call points out, “The move to a simple-majority vote would ensure that the Democrats lose at least one vote on their plan. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has already announced that he would support a procedural vote to call up the Reid measure but oppose its actual passage without changes. Lieberman, who is not running for re-election in November, says that further tax code changes should take place this year.”

Other Capitol Hill reporters tweeted that the move puts significant pressure on a number of Democrats. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell observed, “Chess game in Senate. Mitch McConnell says Rs will allow simple majority vote, not 60, on Dems’ tax cuts bill. Pushes D’s in tough races.” And Carl Hulse of the New York Times tweeted, “Senate tax debate just got interesting with GOP decision to not block votes. Folks now recalculating, esp. those in tough 2012 races.”

And Roll Call points out another important factor, “McConnell admitted that under most circumstances, he would muster the votes to kill the Reid measure using Senate procedural rules. In this case, he says, it really does not matter because the House is sure to reject the bill that wouldn’t extend all of the Bush tax cuts. Not only will the GOP-controlled House oppose the measure on the merits, the bill runs afoul of Constitutional provisions that require revenue bills to originate in that chamber. ‘The only reason we won’t block it today is that we know it doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law. If the Democrats were serious, they’d proceed to a House-originated revenue bill as the Constitution requires,’ McConnell said.”

Of course, on the merits, the Democrats’ tax plan is bad all around. Jobs groups oppose it, warning it would “impose a massive tax hike on American businesses,” “result in higher taxes for the vast majority of manufacturers,” and “do very great harm to the middle class it purports to help.” Further, the American Farm Bureau Federation sounds the alarm that the Senate Democrats’ bill raises the death tax again, saying it “fails to provide any estate tax relief which would allow a $1 million per person exemption and 55 percent top rate to be reinstated on Jan. 1, 2013. A $1 million exemption is not high enough to protect a typical farm or ranch able to support a family from estate taxes…”

As Leader McConnell said, “That’s what today’s votes are all about: about showing the people who sent us here where we stand. We owe it to the American people to let them know whether we actually think it’s a good idea to double down on the failed economic policies of the past few years, or whether we support a new approach; whether we think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on nearly a million business owners at a moment when millions of Americans are struggling to find work; or to do no harm and commit to future reform.”


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