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Hoyer Won’t Completely Rule Out Tax Cut Vote

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggested Tuesday that Democratic leaders could still try to bring up bill this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class.

“It is certainly under consideration,” the Maryland Democrat said when pressed on whether leaders — who are under competing pressures within the Caucus — will add a bill extending the middle-class tax cuts to this week’s suspension calendar.

Members of the Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions have been pressing leadership to delay a vote on the tax cuts until after the midterm elections. But liberals are calling for a vote this week, saying lawmakers should have to go on the record on whether they support an extension for individuals making less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000.

More than 40 liberal Democrats sent a letter Friday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling for a vote before the House adjourns this week. Moderates have also written a separate letter to Pelosi to ask her to move to pass a short-term extension for all income brackets. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year.

Hoyer said late last week that he saw no point in the House holding a vote before the midterms if the Senate is unable to act. But he stopped short Tuesday of completely ruling out a House vote this week, even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that chamber will not take the issue up until after the elections.

“If we thought we could get it through the Senate, absolutely we would act, and we may well act anyway,” Hoyer said.

Meanwhile, Members are looking at an early exit from Washington this week, depending on how quickly both chambers act on a continuing resolution to keep the government operating beyond Friday. The House could clear that measure as soon as Wednesday, Hoyer said Tuesday.

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