Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nancy Pelosi Forces First Vote on Tax Cuts for the 98%

     Ok, technically it's a discharge petition rather than a normal vote. However, if she can get enough signatures it would have the same effect of a vote. It's just another way to force a vote on the Senate bill.

     While Mitch McConnell has led a Senate minority that has achieved the dubious distinction of filibustering a record 386 times, the one bill he didn't filibuster was when the Senate Dems extended the Bush tax cuts for just the bottom 98%.

     By not doing this, McConnell has actually forced the House GOP's hand. If it weren't even passed in the Senate, the heavy lifting would be much greater. However, in this case all we actually need is for the Senate bill to be brought up for a vote.

    In previous posts in looking at what might happen, I've concluded that it's just a question of when the Republicans cave on tax rates. It's not an if. The most likely scenario, it seems to me, is that Bohner will eventually allow the vote.

    With Nancy Peolosi and the House Dems' discharge petition we may get the first vote very soon.

     "House Democrats filed their discharge petition today seeking to force a vote on legislation that would extend middle income tax cuts and let the top marginal rates return to Clinton-era levels.
Filed by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), the petition requires 218 signatories to succeed -- in other words, a significant number of Republicans."

      "Our economy and our families cannot wait any longer for action and cannot afford a Republican tax increase on the middle class," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "There’s no time to waste. The Senate has already passed this legislation; House Democrats are prepared to support it; President Obama is ready to sign it into law."

       "At his weekly briefing, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called on all Democrats and sympathetic Republicans like Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to sign the petition."

     It does need a sizable number of Republicans, however, no more than 40. My guess is that there are enough to pass the bill-eventually. Again, my theory is that Boehner knows he has to pass the bill but may wait as long as possible before the fiscal cliff.

     Will this succeed? Who knows. It may be that the Republicans that will eventually pass this are going to try to work with Boehner at least some and give him and not cave so soon. Again, this is all about optics. Boehner needs to give a performance that they're really trying to avoid a rise in the top rates. In reality he's probably ready to do this today-certainly many Republicans are; indeed, many Republicans even admit privately that having these rates go up won't cause a recession all by themselves; -however, he can't yet, he has to milk it.

     So maybe enough Republicans will stay with party discipline and not crossover yet. Maybe none will yet, so as not to give Nancy Pelosi a victory... It will be interesting to see. My prediction again, is late in the end of this session. If any Republicans sign Pelosi's petition that's a major achievement.

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