The Senate early Saturday morning officially began its symbolic debate on Democrats’ proposal to only extend those Bush-era tax cuts that apply to the middle class.
In an opening statement setting up the debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) hammered Republicans for their refusal to pass not only the middle class tax package, but virtually every other piece of legislation on his ambitious agenda.
For instance, Reid attacked Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) opposition to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, pointing to comments by McCain that the economy was a factor in his decision. “I have no idea what he’s talking about and no one else does either,” Reid said.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who has criticized Reid’s decision to have votes Saturday as nothing more than political showmanship, did not make opening remarks.
Votes are expected to begin at 10:30, and there is virtually no chance either Democrats’ proposal to extend tax cuts for those making up to $250,000 or an expanded $1 million cap proposal will pass. The entire GOP conference is opposed to both bills, and even some Democrats have expressed reservations with them.
However, Democratic aides have said they hope having the votes will be cathartic for lawmakers, particularly progressives who have resisted cutting a deal with Republicans and the White House. Although President Barack Obama publicly supports the $250,000 bill, privately he has made clear he is ready to accept a deal that includes a two year extension of all the tax cuts.