Updated: 12:55 p.m.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that he expects a vote Thursday on a permanent extension of expiring tax cuts for the middle class.
“I am very hopeful that we will pass this,” he said. “Nobody wants working Americans to get any kind of an increase on Jan. 1.”
The Maryland Democrat, speaking at a pen-and-pad briefing, said he expects the bill to be brought up under a rule rather than under suspension — which would prohibit amendments — as had been widely expected. That will require Democrats to hang together against Republican efforts to force an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans as well.
Dozens of House Democrats have called for at least a temporary extension of all the tax cuts, which expire on Dec. 31. And several Democrats have complained that the House is once again going to take a vote on a bill that will go nowhere in the Senate.
Asked whether Republicans would be given the opportunity to offer a motion to recommit, which likely would result in a call for an across-the-board extension of the tax cuts, Hoyer said, “That’s being discussed with the Rules Committee.”
“We don’t want to muddle our message, and we think we won’t muddle our message,” Hoyer said, when pressed on how Democrats would muster the votes to defeat a GOP-proposed extension for all income brackets.
Hoyer said Democrats were moving ahead with the vote — despite the creation Tuesday of a bipartisan group to try to broker a compromise on the issue — because there was broad consensus that taxes should not increase on middle-income Americans, noting that many polls show broad support for extending the tax cuts for Americans earning $250,000 a year or less.
“It is a shame that what we have agreement on is being held hostage by that on which we do not have agreement, that is, of course, the taxes on the wealthiest Americans,” he said.
Hoyer said he believed the House vote should not and would not undermine the newly formed bipartisan group’s attempts to forge a deal but would “give every Member the opportunity to express their view” on the middle-class extension.
“It is an effort to show, as we said before the election, that we were going to make sure that the middle-income working men and women of America did not have the consequences of the Republican sunset,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said the proposal that would come to the floor would incorporate other middle-income tax breaks, including the marriage penalty, the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit.