Tax bill passes Senate


In a near legislative miracle, a tax bill extending the Bush tax cuts on the first quarter million dollars or so of income, without including another trillion dollar giveaway to the Koch cartels already taking advantage of every tax dodge and offshore loophole in the book.

Boston.com– Senators approved the Democratic bill by a near party-line 51-48 vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding over the chamber in case his vote was needed to break a tie. Minutes earlier, lawmakers voted 54-45 to kill a rival Republican package that would have included the best-off in the tax reductions.

The $250 billion Democratic measure would extend tax cuts in 2013 for millions of Americans that otherwise would expire in January. But it would deny those reductions to the earnings of individuals exceeding $200,000 yearly and of couples surpassing $250,000.

The bill might pass the House if it were given the “up or down vote”. The vote once so, so highly prized by the GOP. Back before a Teaparty afflicted mob gained majority and threw away the last remnants of rational analysis in favor of the rancid festering swamp of willful ignorance now occupied by the hardcore right.

It’s not like the uber rich didn’t get their massive bailout years ago. Almost a trillion dollars in the fall of 2008, trillions more in subsidies and loans, plus the tax cuts on income to the stratosphere for three years. The stock market stabilized and doubled, the bond market settled down and kept churning out paper, credit continued to flow, even the real estate market hit a floor in most places, and all of that benefited very rich people in the sense that, for many of them it kept them very rich. These surging corporate profits, carried interest, and executive stock plans already came with an effective tax rate much lower than what most working class stiffs pay on their first 50 grand a year, if they’re lucky enough to make that much. Their giant rich cup runneth over after being generously filled from our little itty-bitty middle class cups years ago.

The super rich are still in business cleaning the fuck up, in fact business is booming for them. The rest of us are still stuck in a brutal recession being paid way less than we used to earn and, for millions like me, literally barely enough to get by from paycheck to paycheck every month. If I lose a hundred dollars in taxes it would mean I’d have to choose between things like basic/no cable vs no smart phone. Not exactly a tragedy, but it’s that tight.

Comments

  1. Randomfactor says

    But the House will say that Harry Reid didn’t say “Speaker may I” and therefore it doesn’t count.

  2. Sean Boyd says

    The bill might pass the House if it were given the “up or down vote”.

    It wouldn’t matter whether or not the bill passed the House of Representatives. Legislation involving taxation must originate in the House of Representatives (Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution.) Mitch McConnell said as much, indicating that as the reason that the Republicans in the Senate didn’t bother filibustering the thing to death: if it had passed the House, and been signed into law, it would definitely be found unconstitutional by every court that heard an appeal on the matter. Harry Reid, who sponsored the bill, must surely know that.

    For that matter, so must Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who sponsored a Republican tax bill which both originated in, and was defeated, in the Senate today (right before Reid’s bill, I think.) Hatch’s bill aimed to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including the $250,000+ bracket. Both bills were played purely for political reasons: to allow senators running for re-election to tell their constituency what they want to hear, and to make the other party look bad. I’d be a bit pissed at Harry Reid for grandstanding, if the Republicans hadn’t made an art form of it, especially in the House, over the past few years.

  3. Ben P says

    It wouldn’t matter whether or not the bill passed the House of Representatives. Legislation involving taxation must originate in the House of Representatives (Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution.) Mitch McConnell said as much, indicating that as the reason that the Republicans in the Senate didn’t bother filibustering the thing to death: if it had passed the House, and been signed into law, it would definitely be found unconstitutional by every court that heard an appeal on the matter. Harry Reid, who sponsored the bill, must surely know that.

    I virtually gurantee you that this is not going to be true in practice. While what you say is accurate, you’re missing a detailed understanding of the parliamentary shenanigans that occur in the house and senate.

    Here’s how the process is imagined.

    Bill begins in the house, is debated, amended, then passes the house. It goes to the senate, where it is debated and amended, then passes the senate.

    Because the senate made changes, the bill has to go back to the house for a final approval. For certain bills this doesn’t mean going all the way back to the floor, a select committee will review the amendments, then a motion will deem the bill accepted as passed by the senate. This is reconciliation.

    Now, in reality?

    What almost certainly happened here is that the house passed some random bill. It may well have been renaming a post office for all I know.

    That bill went to the senate, where a democratic senator submitted an “amendment” that effectively read “Strike all text after the date and replace in whole with text as follows: (whatever bill the senate democrats want to pass.”

    But because this is technically still just an amendment, it goes back to the house for the house’s approval.

    This is the same thing that happened with the healthcare bill. The senate version of the healthcare bill was one that had been created out of some random gutted house bill.

  4. Ben P says

    For that matter, so must Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who sponsored a Republican tax bill which both originated in, and was defeated, in the Senate today (right before Reid’s bill, I think.) Hatch’s bill aimed to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including the $250,000+ bracket. Both bills were played purely for political reasons: to allow senators running for re-election to tell their constituency what they want to hear, and to make the other party look bad. I’d be a bit pissed at Harry Reid for grandstanding, if the Republicans hadn’t made an art form of it, especially in the House, over the past few years.

    Sorry for the double post.

    Grandstanding yes, but also good strategy in this case. Its a game of hot potato. The senate already killed the house bill extending all the house cuts.

    By passing a bill with the limited tax cuts, they now shift the burden onto house republicans to either accept the Democrats version of the bill or risk being tarred with the charge that they are playing hardball with the incomes of middle class america as hostages to benefit the wealthy.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    I agree with Ben P here. Even if we consider this bill mere grandstanding, it still sends in important message to the public and shapes the nature of political discussions in this important election year. And it’s also a strong signal to The House about what kinds of bills they find acceptable.

  6. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    What I’d like to know, is why didn’t they find the balls to do this years ago? Has something really changed in the 3.5 years since Obama took office that has allowed this to change?

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