Compromise Tax Cut Deal Sails Through Senate 81-19

December 15, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)—As expected, the bipartisan tax cut deal forged between President Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) easily passed through the Senate today with a vote of 81-to-19. The $855 billion tax relief and middle class stimulus package now must be approved by the House members. Democratic House members revolted against the tax deal last week, threatening to scuttle it, but with high public approval of the deal and overwhelming bipartisan passage in the Senate, it’s expected to pass.

Voting against the tax bill, were Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT, Jim DeMint (R-SC), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). All told, 13 Democrats and five Republicans voted against the bill.

The entire roll call can be found here.

Before the final vote, Sens. DeMint and Sanders sought to amend the bill, without success.

“The compromise united in opposition two odd bedfellows on opposite sides of the political spectrum: Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, and Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a Tea Party conservative from South Carolina. Each tried unsuccessfully to amend the package today, though with contradictory goals. Sanders wanted to strip temporary tax breaks from the wealthy from the deal, while DeMint wanted to make all the tax cuts permanent. Both proposals were knocked down, as proponents of the deal understood that any major changes probably would scuttle it. Both senators voted against the final deal.”

Democratic House members have narrowed their anger over the tax deal on the estate tax provision, which would tax estates over $5 million at 35 percent, calling the deal a giveaway to the rich. There was a zero estate tax this past year. If no action is taken, the estate tax automatically reverts to 55 percent with a threshold of $1 million.

House Democrats are pushing for a return to the 2009 rates of 45 percent on estates above $3.5 million.

It’s expected that House Democrats will propose a series of amendments to the tax deal that have no chance of passing, but would allow liberal members to express their opposition to the deal on the record.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is certain the measure will get the needed votes to pass through the House.

“I think, frankly, that ultimately we will pass legislation,” said Hoyer. “The vote in the Senate indicates an urgency that is felt by a broad spectrum that the middle income taxes not be increased come Jan. 1. In order to affect that, you’ve got to pass the bill.”

The House could take up the tax cut vote as early as today. The bill also includes a much-needed 13-month extension of expired unemployment benefits for millions of unemployed Americans.


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