Tax Cut Extension Deal Passes First Senate Test
Yesterday, the Senate easily passed the first hurdle on the road toward extending the Bush tax cuts:
Republicans and Democrats joined forces in the Senate on Monday to deliver the most significant bipartisan vote since President Obama took office, advancing a plan to extend tax cuts for virtually every American and to boost the economic recovery.
The procedural vote could be followed by final Senate passage as early as Tuesday evening. If the bill sails through the Senate, as expected, the last hurdle would be the House, where liberal Democrats remain strongly opposed to continuing President George W. Bush’s tax breaks for upper-income households as well as the generous terms of a revived estate tax.
In brief remarks Monday, Obama acknowledged the dismay of these lawmakers but urged them to consider the consequences of legislative inaction.
“I recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and I understand those concerns. I share some of them,” Obama said. “But that’s the nature of compromise – sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us.”
The 83-to-15 vote Monday represents a significant milestone for the Senate as a highly contentious legislative session comes to a close. Congress has passed a trove of significant measures over the past two years, but most were approved on party-line votes that infuriated Republicans and alienated independent voters.
The bill will easily pass the Senate on a final vote, of course, but still faces an uncertain future in the House where, even if it does pass, it’s likely to get more Republican “yea” votes than Democratic ones.