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Tax Day on the Hill

Just as Tax Day reminds millions of Americans how much they dislike paying taxes, members of Congress are engaged in their annual ritual of self-flagellation for spending all that tax payer money.

Of course, without taxes members of Congress wouldn't exist, nor would they be able to pay themselves $169,300 per year or build a $621 million Capitol Visitor Center. But those are issues for another day. On April 15, Democrats and Republicans traditionally blame each other for the federal debt, current tax rates, and a complicated, unwieldy tax code.

House Democrats have scheduled for today a vote on the pleasant-sounding "Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act," which won't assist or simplify much of anything before the post office closes tonight, but would -- if ever signed into law -- tinker with a few provisions of the tax code and prevent the IRS from enlisting private companies to collect unpaid taxes.

House Republicans, for their part, will use the debate on that bill to push a vote against what they have dubbed -- sing along with Capitol Briefing -- "the largest tax increase in American history," which would allegedly happen if President Bush's unextended tax cuts are allowed to expire in 2010. And the conservative Republican Study Committee used this morning to unveil a constitutional amendment that would prevent federal spending from growing any faster than the economy grows.

Over in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the floor to decry "America's Anti-Holiday," while Senate Democrats remind us that the GOP supports "tax breaks for multi-millionaires and big oil companies."

After today, Congress should revert to normal -- spending tax payer money on the Iraq war and a Farm Bill, among other things.

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Purse Strings  
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