Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Extending tax cuts

There's only one thing worse for a party in control of the White House and both houses of Congress than being unable to enact a popular middle class tax cut one month before an election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had hinted last week that Democrats might vote on extending tax cuts for both the middle class and the wealthiest Americans before the election.

But three top Dems disagreed Sunday on whether a quick tax-break vote was likely.

"We are absolutely gonna get this done before the end of the year," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told NBC. "We may well take it up before the midterms."

Yet Democratic vote counters in the House and Senate said it's unlikely to happen before November.

"I doubt that we will" vote before the election, House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on "Fox News Sunday."

President Obama's political adviser David Axelrod has accused GOP senators of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to extend tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000 a year.

"One way or the other, we're going to get it done," Axelrod told ABC's "This Week."

The GOP will "have to explain to their constituents why they're holding up tax cuts for the middle class," Axelrod said.

Senate Democrats said they don't have the votes.

"What it gets down to is we can count. And we know we don't have 60 votes for our tax position," Assistant Senate Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We want to basically say after the election . . . by the end of the year, we'll take up all of these tax issues."

That would be presiding over the expiration of a time limited tax cut, and allowing a middle class tax increase, one month before an election.

A political party that can't figure out how to use its power and authority gives the voters no reason to extend its power and authority.

At some point, you can't blame people if they decide, "Well, the Republicans will extend tax cuts for millionaires, but at least they'll figure out how to extend middle class tax cuts, too."

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