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Hoyer: Tax-Cut Vote Could Wait Until After Elections

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Thursday he saw no reason for the House to hold a vote on extending Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class before the midterm elections unless the Senate acts on the measure first.

“If the Senate can’t do anything, our position is clear,” the Maryland Democrat said. “We don’t need to have a vote to let the American people know where we stand.”

House Democrats are deeply divided over whether and how to tackle the tax cuts, and the chances for action are looking dimmer by the day.

Democratic Congressional leaders and the White House want to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000 per year, but let the cuts expire at the end of the year for people in higher income brackets. Many Democratic moderates prefer to extend all of the tax cuts for a year or longer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not yet ruled out the possibility of bringing a tax-cut bill to the floor before the midterm elections even if the Senate does not act.

But Hoyer said Thursday that House leaders would have to discuss whether they “were even going to take that effort” if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can’t move a middle-class tax cut extension through his chamber by the end of next week.

But Hoyer stressed that “the overwhelming majority of Democrats believe and are committed to the fact that there will be no tax increase for middle-income Americans. Period.

“Whether we do it today or we do it six weeks from today, there will be no tax increase for middle class Americans,” he said.