Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Republicans will allow a Senate vote on extending the Bush tax cuts to go forward, reversing earlier threats to block the measure.
“Republicans will allow a simple majority vote on the two proposals,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “The only way to force people to take a stand is to make sure that today’s votes truly count.”
The decision will allow Democrats to go forward with a vote on a plan to extend the Bush tax cuts on income of less than $250,000 a year. Under the Democratic plan, tax cuts on taxable income over $250,000 a year would be allowed to expire.
Republicans favor extending all the Bush tax cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has signaled that he has enough votes to pass the legislation.
McConnell said that the GOP would allow the vote because the bill “doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law.” Under the Constitution, bills relating to revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. However, procedural rules exist that could allow the Senate to amend the House legislation preemptively.
While the chances of the legislation passing the House are slim, Senate Democrats have wanted to force the issue to demonstrate that Republicans are willing to let all tax cuts expire if they are unable to get an extension for the richest Americans.
Additionally, the vote would give Democrats leverage going into negotiations to extend the tax cuts. All of the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and a divided Congress and president will have to find a compromise, or allow all of them to expire. President Barack Obama has said he will not agree to any further extension of the tax cuts on income above $250,000, and Republicans have said they will not agree to an extension that does not include them.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore