Senate Majority Leader Reid said this afternoon that he plans to hold votes on dueling proposals to extend the 2001 and 2003 Bush income tax cuts “as soon as we get back from Thanksgiving.” Reid's clear intention was is to create a public contrast between the Democrat and Republican position on extending the cuts.
“We want the opportunity to vote, once, twice whatever it takes, to show the American people that we support the middle class,” Reid said.
Reid said he would force a vote to extend tax cuts for those who earn less than $250,000, as Democrats propose, and also give Republicans a chance to vote to extend all of the of the tax cuts permanently, as proposed by Minority Leader McConnell. Reid would likely move a Democratic proposal which Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus has prepared. The two votes would pit Democrats what call their desire to protect middle class tax cuts while avoiding excessive debt against GOP hopes to extend all the cuts regardless of the cost.
Reid’s announcement follows a lengthy Democratic Caucus meeting on the topic today and meeting between House and Senate Democratic leaders and President Obama.
Reid said Obama supports the middle-class only proposal.
If the votes are cast along party lines, as so many others have recently, both proposals may fail forcing lawmakers back to the bargaining table in hopes of a deal before Christmas.
Kelsey Snell contributed to this article.