Democratic Leadership Fails American Public On Buffett Rule

Once again the Senate Democrats, in particular the leadership, let the American people down by allowing the Republicans to threaten a filibuster of the Buffett Rule. Media reports tell a story of the bill’s failure with a final vote of 51-45. On top of that, the AP says:

By a near party-line 51-45 tally, senators voted to keep the bill alive but fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to continue debating the measure.

Really, the Senate voted on cloture — a vote to end debate, not continue it. Continuing debate without a timeframe on it is a filibuster and cloture requires 60 votes to end the filibuster. Moving on.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed this vote to happen for an election talking point this fall. Democrats can run on trying to restore some equity in the tax code with the Buffett Rule while Republicans can bash Democrats for trying to raise taxes. A win, win for both political parties. A big time loss for the people who do not take home a million dollars a year.

Filibusters once required a Senator, or a few working in tandem, to speak continuously on the floor. Bernie Sanders did this in December of 2010 to stall the tax cut deal. Sanders even caucuses with Democrats, yet Majority Leader Reid made him speak for more than eight and a half hours.

Republicans merely threaten to filibuster a bill they disagree with and Reid give them the cloture vote that he knows will come up short of 60 votes. This is a missed opportunity to force Republicans to speak to the American public on why they want to protect the rich. Forcing the party to stall the work of the Senate with an actual filibuster would give Americans an honest view of a party that does not have the best interest of the working people at heart.

Imagine 40 GOP Senators taking to the floor and talking on CSPAN about the importance of keeping taxes low for millionaires and billionaires. If they did not want to talk about it, then they might start reading Ayn Rand’s gibberish or Paul Ryan’s terrible idea of a budget plan.

Sanders, who cosponsored the legislation, said the following after the Republicans successfully blocked the bill:

“It is absurd that at a time when our country has a $15.6 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs, the wealthiest people in this country have an effective tax rate that is lower than many middle-class people. It makes no sense that the richest people in America pay an effective tax rate lower than small businessmen, nurses, teachers, police officers and others,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

By not forcing their hand the Democratic leadership in the Senate allowed the bully on the playground to walk away with our lunch money. They didn’t make the bully even throw a punch, instead they said okay just take it and we won’t even make other people see you do it!

Related Stories:

BREAKING: GOP Derails ‘Buffett Rule’ Taxes on Wealthy

10 Facts About the Obama Budget

The Other Buffett Rule


Nancy L.
Nancy L7 years ago

I'm not a Republican or a Democrat.

People who draw a SALARY of over a million pay way more taxes than we do, up to 45%. Why don't they say the millionaires they're talking about are people in this Buffet Rule, even NON-millionaires, who earn their money through CAPITAL GAINS. They are taxed at 15%, hence Romney pays 15%. So even you when you make money on your $200 Home Depot stock, you pay 15%. It's just that wealthier people tend to draw ALL of their income from capital gains. I wonder where they will invest their money if those taxes go up to 30%? Hmmm, if it were me I'd move my money overseas. It's a low 15% to ENCOURAGE people to reinvest their earnings.

Dems want people to think they're for the little people - "Let's show those terrible succesdful people who's boss - we're raising their taxes. That'll show 'em. Ya, show 'em how to take their investment money OUT of the U.S. Not only that, but the money the govt would collect in that higher tax is not even a hundredth of a drop in the bucket of the massive debt this country is in.

Doug D.
Douglas D7 years ago

We need to vote those Senators who voted against the Buffet Rule OUT of the Senate! I don't care if they're Democrat or Republican! OUT! OUT! OUT!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago


Marg Wood
Marg W7 years ago

Jeffrey is toying with us??? I don't think so!!! That's what he says when he knows his argument is bogus! LMAO ! His brain is frozen in time, to when he dropped out of school!

Philip Amos
.7 years ago

A curious point that James Stewart, famous for the filibuster episode in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, was in life a right-wing Republican. The filibuster denies the populace the right to have its government conduct full debates on issues -- it should be removed from the system. Not so very difficult, for the thing to do is remove the time limit.

joe M.
joe MARTINEZ7 years ago

Charles: This is an inherited charactertic of European tradition, The Lord land owner controls all sourrounding.The term "he whose the gold controls". Nothing has changed from the empire days. Yes it took years to transform this nation into servant status and we have arrived. The fact they even managed to change the Supreme Court into their court has left the little man powerless to regain equality. By that I don't mean everybody to be in par with Steve Forbe's, but live a comfortable unstressful life. not dependent on trickle down economic as many are inclined to embrace as the solution to unquality.

Charles S.
Charles S7 years ago

It does not matter who creates wealth, whatever thatis ,if it is only one to ten percent of Americans benefitting by it . It is not working. Too many people don't have jobs ,or jobs that provide a decent standard of living , good healthcare ,schools and all the other services and infrastructure for our country. Wealth, is not the only reason for living and working. It should be to have a decent fulfilling life for all citizens, who are mostly the ones who do all the real work to create this so called wealth for too many people who actually do nothing .

john hall
john hall7 years ago

Robert. Quit making excuses for your do nothing party your own democrats turned it down in other words they voted no because even they don't want to pay more taxes . Tell Obama to lead by example by not taking all those deductions to bring his tax rate down to 20% and tell buffet to stop fighting the IRS on a tax bill he owes .

Tony C.
Tony C7 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to. PLEASE CHECK the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW, so that you can have the right ID when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example, no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now 7 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE REMEMBER, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

seth c.
seth c.7 years ago

Jeffrey W - whether you like it or not, the government helps create wealth. First of all your "bakery" probably received some sort of government grant, loan, or government backed loan in order to start up. Who built the roads you and all the other customers will travel to get to the bakery ? And don't say it's our tax payer money ; once our taxes get to the IRS, it is now the governments money. And probably half of your bakery's customers are employed by the government, or employed because of the government, i.e. construction worker building roads, teachers, etc. The government doesn't create wealth - it helps people create their wealth.