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Posted at 4:41 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Senate votes for tax cut deal. What's route through House?

By Greg Sargent

In a victory for the White House, the Senate just passed a cloture motion on Obama's tax cut deal, getting it past a key procedural hurdle and moving it one step closer to law. This isn't the final straight up or down vote. It's just the vote to move foward with debate. But this one required 60 votes, so winning this one was crucial.

But this was, relatively speaking, the easy part. Can Dem leaders get the current deal through the House?

By all indications, the anger and opposition to the deal among House Democrats shows no sign of abating. At the same time, however, House Dem leaders have sent very clear signs that despite their own unhappiness with the deal, they believe it would be irresponsible to sink the compromise and have no intention of thwarting the President's will. What to do?

Here's the challenge for House Dem leaders right now, as I understand it: Come up with a way for Dem members to vent their disapproval of the deal, so they don't feel too stiffarmed and marginalized by the process, without it resulting in changes significant enough to cause Republicans to walk away. The deal is expected to clear the House with a combination of strong GOP support and some backing among moderate Dems. Tweaking the bill in a way that drives away Republicans could imperil its survival.

The result could be a situation in which Dems hold a vote on amendments to the bill that are likely to fail. House Dems are particularly angry about the deal's estate tax provision; Dem leaders could hold a vote amending that provision, allowing Dem members to register disapproval. But the amendment would likely be opposed by almost all Republicans and some moderate Dems. So it would likely lose.

But rank and file Dems would have had a chance to make their voices heard before the final vote passing the deal through the House.

This is only one scenario under consideration. House Dem leaders may insist on real changes to the overall deal itself. But giving angry Dems a way of expressing themselves appears to be the general direction in which things are headed, and it seems more and more likely that the deal will pass in roughly its current form.

UPDATE, 4:52 p.m.: The No votes were almost all Dems: Bernie Sanders, Jeff Bingaman, Russ Feingold, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown and Tom Udall. Jeff Merkley was not present but was also a No, so his vote would not have stopped the measure from succeeding. I'll bring you the roll call when it's available.

By Greg Sargent  | December 13, 2010; 4:41 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

How many votes did the motion get?


And did Bernie vote for it?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Are you gonna make me do the Googles to find out the vote details? :)

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 13, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I really wish those angry Dems could have had the numbers to make this an issue about tax breaks for the Paris Hiltons of the world PRIOR to the election.

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Tweaking the bill in a way that drives away Republicans could imperil its survival."

That's the only hope. But will the GOP save the Democrats from themselves? I doubt it.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The democrats are the one triangulating


Sanders was joined by at least six other senators -- all Democrats. They were: Sens. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Mark Udall (Colo.).

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ensign also voted now.

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The House should amend it to restore what they voted for in the first place: the permanency of the tax cuts on income up to $200,000/$250,000. Don't touch the temporary extension of the high-end cuts. This would finally achieve decouplization. Then kick it back into the President's lap and see if he wants to fight against *that* core principle.

Posted by: andrewlong | December 13, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Mike, added a bit of info on the vote above...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

CT,

I'm right there with ya. They should have made this a HUGE issue in August during the break, and then scheduled a vote in September right after Boehner said he'd support a middle class extension only.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 13, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

One other comment re: "the split" between --please pardon the rough characterizations -- the Liberal Elite and Rank And File Dems. If this is structurally true, it may be in the White House's short-term political interest but it suggests the Democratic Party is indeed heading for a break with Liberalism. For the reasons I've already mentioned, I don't think the polling on the tax cuts signals such a split but it escapes me why this would be seen as good news by Democratic partisans.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased to see that Sherrod Brown voted against the deal. Whoever takes him on in 2012 now has a great campaign point to pound home.

I sincerely hope that Mr Brown loses his seat. His former congressional district is a shambles and his uber liberalism isn't going over well among the out of work voters in the state.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I really wish those angry Dems could have had the numbers to make this an issue about tax breaks for the Paris Hiltons of the world PRIOR to the election.

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I think we all agree on that. But so what?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Which side can borrow more? Right now the Ds are winning, but if the Rs get the White House back, well then they'll handle the levers of the borrowing apparatus, thank you very much.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 13, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Remind me again why there was no way Reid could have delayed the DADT vote until after this vote today.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 13, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama is so into bipartisanship he doesn't even know Senator McConnell's first name


Geeeshhhhhhh is there any other way Obama can VIOLATE HIS OWN CAMPAIGN PLEDGES ?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne: ??

What's that for? All opinions expressed must be brand spanking new, otherwise, don't express them? I wasn't here last week--so forgive me if I'm covering ground you obviously think has been covered.

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

skippy: "I am pleased to see that Sherrod Brown voted against the deal. "

It was a cloture vote. Not a vote on the bill.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 13, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

DADT repeal could have happened any time since the Ds took charge, so they had to carefully plan their window of opportunity; optics, its all about striking poses.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 13, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

What's that for? All opinions expressed must be brand spanking new, otherwise, don't express them? I wasn't here last week--so forgive me if I'm covering ground you obviously think has been covered.

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry if my comment came off snarky b/c I didn't mean it that way. We could debate the reasons the House didn't do anything before the election but what's the point? The question is what to do now?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod Brown will be toast in 2012. His shrill, empty-headed leftism has worn out its welcome. Here is a guy who literally has never done a thing since college besides hold public office and is totally out of touch with reality. Oh, and his neighbors despise him.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p and shrink:

"Remind me again why there was no way Reid could have delayed the DADT vote until after this vote today."

"DADT repeal could have happened any time since the Ds took charge, so they had to carefully plan their window of opportunity; optics, its all about striking poses."

I think many gay people are beginning to realize that the Democratic Party has been striking poses for some time now. It's amazing to me how many partisan Dems and progs on The Plum Line refuse to accept and condemn the awful truth staring them in the face.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 13, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne: what to do now?

Call your representatives if you feel this bill should be stopped by the House. Write to newspapers. You know this already--I know you do.

For next year? I have little confidence in Dems standing together on anything except giving the WH a collective FU about the prisoners from Guantanamo...Reinstate the payroll tax? Unlikely. What'd I like to see is a coordinated all-out campaign start in January, culminating in the November 2012 elections, that drums into people's minds that Republicans are protecting the very wealthy, and don't care about anyone else. Run on the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts lapse.

But Democrats aren't united on this, and the strong messaging I'd like to see is a pipe dream because I don't think some Dems want the cuts revoked...

Posted by: CTVoter | December 13, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"But Democrats aren't united on this, and the strong messaging I'd like to see is a pipe dream because I don't think some Dems want the cuts revoked..."

And here I was hoping that you were gonna cheer me up.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

More deep political analysis brought to you by nickelback.

His *neighbors*? Wow, that some pretty low-hanging fruit, even by your standards.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 13, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree SBJ. Harry Reid has done a terrible job at leading The Republican Senate Caucus, on repeal of DADT. He really blew it. Every Republican Senator was ready to vote for repeal of DADT, for several years now, but their Caucus Leader; Harry Reid kept blocking them.

Shame on Harry Reid. He should be driven out of The Republican Party.

You were very wise to send all those campaign contributions to Sharron Angle. Her homophobic rants were just a facade, and had she won, she would have led the fight to emancipate you.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, the Koch Brothers have put out a contract on Sen. Sherrod Brown. I hope they don't hire the DLC for the job.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Whatever, sbj. Send some more support to Sharron Angle, why don't you. Talk on the street is that she's starting a new PAC.

Funny how a Dem president gets the military backing, gets positive congressional testimony from the SecDef and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs...give them room to maneuver by allowing them the time to conduct the survey that they requested...and it's all about posing?


Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 13, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"...Dems and progs on The Plum Line refuse to accept and condemn the awful truth staring them in the face."

I've been out for a few days, does Greg understand what has occurred here? I promised him awhile ago it wouldn't happen, told him I'd give $200 to the charity of his choice if it did this session. Last I saw, Ds were performing the ritual circle of blame, as the "values voters" on the right celebrated another victory.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 13, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I was watching an NFL game yesterday. This commercial came on. It showed Mitch McConnell walking up to President Obama, and then Mitch said:

Hey Barack, do you want to be my boyfriend?

Barack said: sure.

Then Mitch said good, since I am now your girlfriend, you must let me eat your lunch.

Then Barack muttered: I think this is going to work out great.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Does Greg understand what has occurred here?"

He does but he wants to apportion blame equally to Dems and Repubs.

You can see above by the responses of Liam and Sue that they just don't understand...

Posted by: sbj3 | December 13, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"...culminating in the November 2012 elections, that drums into people's minds that Republicans are protecting the very wealthy, and don't care about anyone else. Run on the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts lapse.

Wonderful idea - in theory.As long as we have a MSM that goes in for "well, on the one hand" sort of argument, the message that the GOP doesn't care about anyone else but their corporate backers is never going to catch hold. The Dems are pathetic on messaging, because they have this particular affliction - they think things through too much, and debate and fine tune things with each other. The Right, with it's hard wired authoritarian streak can get their message out in the media where all their little foot soldiers carry out those orders. It's not going to be any different in 2012. What we will hear is that the Dems want to increase your taxes and that Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism (psst, "he's not one of us."). It will be a multi-prongesd attack, carrying those two messages.We are in for a very ugly two years.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 13, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The democrats are going to have to get used to the idea they were elected on the premise that they promised the American People they would be bipartisan and compromise.


If the democrats do not want to do that, they will find themselves out of office as soon as the voters can send them.


The only things that will remain for the democrats will be small slices of gerrymandered districts that they shouldn't have in the first place.


The American People are sick of it all.


The democrats went with the biggest BAIT AND SWITCH OPERATION in American History - I personally am astonished that so many democrats and liberals have not spoken out about this - and instead PREFER TO ALLOW THE DECEPTION TO STAND.


The American people do not want this.


The democrats simply do not realize how bad a position they are in. At this point, the Senate is GONE - the few remaining Senators WILL BE VOTED OUT IN 2012.


The Republicans even have a path to 60 votes in 2012.


It is OVER - the democrats are still pressing their liberal agenda - like drug dealers - never stopping to realize the American People want NO PART OF THE LIBERAL AGENDA.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it strange how Republicans had no problem voting with Democrats, on cloture for their tax cuts. SBJ does not appear to have noticed that Harry Reid bringing it up for a cloture vote, did not deter The Republicans from voting for it.

Democrats should start spreading the word that Tax Cuts is a part of "The Gay Agenda" which SBJ once said he opposed,( but would never spell out, what it actually , meant), and then Republicans would block tax cuts, every time.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@liam: Do you *still* not understand the GOP promise to block debate on any bill brought before the tax bill?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 13, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/happy_hour_roundup_146.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 13, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

SBJ,

Republicans would never block any bill that would grant gay people, such as yourself, equal rights. Only Harry Reid would do something like that. Stop spreading such malicious lies about The Republican Senators, who have been leading the civil rights campaign for gay liberation, long before even gay people started to demand it.

The Republican Party would never put cutting taxes, ahead of passing equal rights for gay people. You know that, so stop saying that is why the repeal of DADT did not pass.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

CTVoter wrote,
"What'd I like to see is a coordinated all-out campaign start in January, culminating in the November 2012 elections, that drums into people's minds that Republicans are protecting the very wealthy, and don't care about anyone else."
------

LOL. Now there's a novel idea. I wonder why no one's ever thought of it before.

Posted by: Brigade | December 13, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the Dems are trying to hide that they will pass this? Every argument is so weakly stated.... so very flimsy leading the public to believe it is not so bad.... When they say, and they all do, that it is so unfair to put the rich man''s taxes in the deficit for our children to pay, they always stop there... That's the end of their argument or voice for the people... Don't get them to worked up now guys or they will not go for your comments later when you pass it RIGHT? Why not tell them.... and that is unconcienable when you remember, the 98% only has "combined" 4 to 6 PERCENT OF ALL U.S. Dollars and the rich have the rest.... FOLKS!!!!! How is that going to work? They are playing it down because they are going to pass it. We bail out the banks! The Fed secretly gave the banks an EVEN LARGER BAILOUT... and then they took our homes. THEY HAVE IT ALL, WHY ARE WE GOING TO GIVE THEM THE REST WITHOUT A FIGHT? Sure, it will be harder paying more tax... IF YOUR LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE WORKING AND PAYING TAX AT ALL... Try thinking about the unemployed... and remember, the rich have had this tax cut for over 8 years now.... Have they opened up any jobs, or have they blackballed America. MAKE THEM FIGHT FOR YOU!

Posted by: Tab3 | December 13, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent,

How about some "investigational reporting" with hard numbers? It would take all of 10 minutes.

Where's the evidence tax cuts create jobs?

Where's the evidence tax cuts grow the economy and produce greater tax revenue than they cost?

Where's the evidence tax cuts to top incomes create jobs and produce greater tax revenue than they cost?

Where's the evidence that estate tax cuts will increase economic growth?

If I were reporting this I'd merely pull data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dept of Treasury and perhaps Census Bureau. But I can do math and I'm not paid to be a reporter. I would not call AEI or Heritage for their disinformation, but it might be interesting to compare what they say to the facts.

Posted by: boscobobb | December 14, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

1. Future lies in Education & Energy.
 
I guess the economic boom in the Clinton-Gore administration was linked to the third wave of IT industry, rather than the triangulation he pulled off.
( And he didn't sell out his core value regarding tax, and so on. )
 
The forth wave of ET industry, likewise, lies ahead, CA starts to reap the benefits. Regrettably, the reps stand in the way of it.
 
2. Guess who will have to foot the bill eventually for paying off the rich ?
 
The rest of folks.
Wait until the new Congress comes back in 2011 and start looking for ways to cut spending to pay for all this $900 billion. They won't target things that affect corporations or the rich, the entire tab will cost the middle class and the elderly. Social security, Medicare, social services, education, will all be impacted.
 
3. A one-year reduction in the payroll tax from 6.2 to 4.2 percent will give the reps chance to fight its restoration, endangering Social Security, which the conservative movement has long sought to eradicate.

 
4. Currently, American businesses are sitting on approximately $2.3 trillion in reserves, which, of course, could be used to create jobs.
 
For instance, hospitals have serious problems with understaffing, not because of the financial squeeze, but because of the cost reduction.
( And the understaffing could spark prohibitive ER visits. )
In an attempt to defend the prodigious windfall, they resort to using the term of socialism or socialists for reformers.
 
5. Let me repeat :
 
Extreme Capitalism failed entirely in 2008.
From my perspective, Communism & Extreme Capitalism have several characteristics in common :
(a). Power First, Corruption at the cost of ordinary people !
(b). They hate competition, accordingly there is no progress.
 
6. Presently, another Bush-era is threatening health care law.

Posted by: hsr06011 | December 14, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

filmnoia wrote
"We are in for a very ugly two years."

I hate to be pessimistic, but we are in for a very ugly two DECADES or more, assuming you're going to live longer. We are so **cked that few Americans can conceive of it.

The tax cuts are creating a permanent oligarchy with no incentive to invest. I pitch investors several times a week for our startup. They're taking fewer risks in creating new industries that actually make things, but you can get funding for energy drinks with alcohol, social networking apps, even energy bracelets with amazing ability to help you stay balanced as seen on TV with real celebrities!

We're accelerating our debt burden, further hollowing our public institutions such as schools and universities due to starvation of tax revenue, and thanks to the "payroll tax holiday" within 15 years we'll have seniors eating pet food like they did 50 years ago due to a lack of funding for Social Security.

But our wealthy won't have their estates taxed and our marginal rates will be lower.

Meanwhile, I talk with folks in Europe and Asia, having worked in both regions, and I see what they're doing.

Did anyone notice the Shanghai school test score story? DId Greg Sargent or anyone at the WaPo get someone from the GOP to explain why the Chinese are funding education with real science while we're vilifying teachers and promoting creationism in the classroom?

Yeah, we're exceptional, all right. Just like the American kids who took the same test and thought they aced it, only to score 24th in the world.

Posted by: boscobobb | December 14, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

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