Mitch McConnell went off his meds today – his vote blocking meds. He gambled on two significant tax votes today that pitted the Republican plan to extends tax cuts for the very wealthy against the Democratic plan that calls for letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire at the end of this year. McConnell bet that that the Democrats would fold, like they usually do, and come over to his side. Surprise! They didn’t. The Republican plan was voted down 45-54 and the Democratic plan passed 51-48. The Washington Post reports:
The votes capped a surprising day that began with McConnell announcing that he would waive procedural hurdles and permit the Senate to hold an up-or-down vote on the measure, in exchange for an agreement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to call a vote on the Republican bill, as well.
McConnell acknowledged the unusual nature of his decision — Democratic aides could not recall another occasion when McConnell permitted a simple majority vote on a contentious issue. McConnell said his goal was to force vulnerable Democrats to support a plan to raise taxes less than four months before the Nov. 6 ballot.
McConnell thought he could once again hold tax breaks for the middle class hostage in exchange for extending Bush’s lavish tax cuts for the rich. The Senate used this rare opportunity to express their will with a vote, and they sided with President Obama.
John Boehner is set to hold a House vote next week on a plan that extends the tax cuts for everyone, including the rich. He of course argues that no taxes should ever be raised. It doesn’t matter that raising taxes on the wealthy to pre-Bush levels will add $800 billion to $1 trillion to the treasury over the next decade, providing funds for infrastructure rebuilding and education. What matters is keeping in place a tax code that redistributes wealth from the middle class to the super rich.
If the House Republicans reject the proposal that raises taxes on the top 2% that was approved by both President Obama and the Senate, and the Democrats hold their ground in the House (I know… that’s a big if) then the public will clearly see that it was the Republican Party that was responsible for increasing taxes on all Americans, not just the richest 2% of them.
Will any Republicans in the House turn on Boehner and their de facto leader of Republican tax policy, Grover Norquist, and side with the president, the senate, and the majority of Americans?
Call me crazy, but my money is on the Democrats this time around.