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Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Senate vote on tax-cut extensions may come by the weekend

By Felicia Sonmez

The Senate may vote on an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts by this weekend, according to top Senate Democrats and Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the Senate will be able to hold a cloture vote on the economic package "fairly quickly," possibly within "the next day or two."

The exact timing of the vote, however, is up in the air due to the Senate's consideration of the defense authorization bill that includes the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law. If enough moderate Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), agree to move forward on debate on the defense bill, then that could bump a vote on the tax-cut extension at least a few days down the line.

Reid made the comments following a meeting in which Senate Democrats continued to work toward a resolution on the tax-cut issue. Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew and Treasury Department counsel Gene Sperling also attended the meeting.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) also told reporters that the Senate could take up the tax-cuts bill "as early as tomorrow," adding that senators are considering the legislative language this afternoon.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that a vote could come Thursday, although "this conversation with representatives of the administration made some suggestions for things that people would like to see changed."

"I think the Democratic Senate caucus firmly feels that some changes need to be made, and we're working those out now with the administration," he added.

There were signs after Senate Democrats' meeting that some, but not all, members were warming to the tax-cut deal.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) called the tone of Wednesday's meeting "a little less emotional" than Tuesday's but cautioned that there's "still a lot of concern" among Senate Democrats, particularly on the issue of the renewable energy tax credit.

Still, Lieberman was optimistic about the chances that a bill will pass.

"I repeat, the votes are there; enough votes are there to pass this," he said, adding that the package will come up for a vote "maybe by the weekend."

Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who has stated that he is opposed to the package, remained skeptical about the deal.

"I don't think any of these economists really know what's going on," Harkin said. "In that kind of a situation, the best thing to do, the best advice, the best guidance is: do what's fair, do what's just, and do what kind of keeps our society in balance. ... I think that there's still a lot of concern among Democrats about, a) the process and b) the final result."

Asked about the possibility of a weekend vote, Durbin replied: "I would rather be in this weekend than the next one or the one after that."

The Senate was also in session last Saturday for two test votes on the tax-cut extensions.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 8, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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The Republicants are able to gain concessions by stating a position and standing by it. Certainly not rocket science but the Democrats submit every time. I believe there are a lot of closet Republicans in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: fasm7700 | December 9, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Keep standing on principles and party loyalty.That will bring the US down and we can start over. That`s what it appears to be, anyway.

Posted by: nanonano1 | December 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Keep standing on principles and party loyalty.That will bring the US down and we can start over. That`s what it appears to be, anyway.

Posted by: nanonano1 | December 8, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

So I did the rough calculations: The top 2% get 163 billion in income and estate tax cuts - works out to $41,000 per year for each average top 2% household. The bottom 98% get 600 billion in income tax cuts, social security tax cuts, and unemployment insurance - works out to $2600 per year for each average bottom 98% household

Excellent deal ... for the top 2% ... who already hold 50% of the nation's wealth. Right now Warren Buffett, a billionaire, pays a total tax rate (combined federal, state, local; including corporate taxes) of 11% of his income and investment gains. A typical single person earning a minimum wage pays taxes amounting to 30% of her wages, almost triple Mr. Buffett’s, rate.

The current tax deal would ensure that not even a tiny step is made in having the wealthy pay their fair share. It also continues market-distorting, favored tax treatment for investments and for the very wealthy, which causes investment bubbles, which in turn trigger recessions. The endless string of recessions caused by the concession to the GOP for the top 2% will overwhelm any economy-stimulating effect of giving the bottom 98% what works out to an average extra $19 per person per week. It will also drive government into deeper debt as tax revenues plummet further. Governments will become unable to fund economic infrastructure projects (e.g. high schools) and this country will spiral downward into the "dustbin of history." So sorry.

For a fair, economy-saving, catastrophe-averting tax system proposal, see There you can also see insanity in government has trickled down to my own personal insanity. As if proposing a fair tax system was not a sufficiently quixotic pursuit, I'm drafting a new US Constitution. Suggestions welcome - Use the "contact me" page!

Posted by: PeteG2 | December 8, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Is it me but does Obama look a LOT smaller today?"

Are you saying that in accepting Republican demands to serve the rich he has diminished himself to their level?

Posted by: FoundingMother | December 8, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

They need to pass this quickly and then go on to other items such as START.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 8, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

he's not any smaller-looking.....
you're just saying that because he compromised......
So what....that's politics.

Senate better vote by this weekend !!!!
and the House better follow suit and not try to massacre the bill.....

VP Biden is working his patootie off for the last couple days--that's for sure.
He's taking the heat...but I bet he is doing a good job. He's good at laying it on the line.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 8, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Is it me but does Obama look a LOT smaller today?

Posted by: lpeter59 | December 8, 2010 6:42 PM |


Obama has always been a small and pathetic man. You're just noticing that now?

Posted by: liberalsareblind | December 8, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Is it me but does Obama look a LOT smaller today?

Posted by: lpeter59 | December 8, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Is it me but does Obama look a LOT smaller today?

Posted by: lpeter59 | December 8, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse


I have written all my Congressman and received thank you emails already.

I want to be able to put Xmas dinner on the table. Unemployment must be extended !!!!!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, the Democrats won't pass the tax extension for the "rich", and when the economy goes from dropping to a total crash, the Democrats will own it..and more important, get the fact that these same "rich" people provide the jobs in this country as well as the fact they already pay almost 75% of the total taxes in this "democracy."

Posted by: Indi1 | December 8, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Our Congress takes a year to bicker over the provisions of the health insurance bill, and it mostly won't take effect until 2014 - yet when Wall Street needs a bailout, or the tax cuts for the big donors gets agreed on - hey, this can be voted on, passed and signed in less than a week!

Shows who our government really represents!

Posted by: shadowmagician | December 8, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

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