Daily Benefactor News – Senate Blocks Obama’s Punish-The-Rich Tax Plan

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Senate Blocks Obama’s Punish-The-Rich Tax Plan – Washington Times

The Senate blocked President Obama’s and Democratic leaders’ tax increase plans Saturday in a foreordained symbolic vote that now sends both sides back to the negotiating table to work out a viable deal.

A bipartisan filibuster, led by unified Republicans and joined by four Democrats and one independent, proved there isn’t enough support to back Mr. Obama’s preferred option to extend income tax cuts for couples making less than $250,000 and tax increases for those making more than that.

With that vote out of the way, attention turns back to the high-level working group Mr. Obama and congressional leaders set up this week to try to work out a solution. That group met three times already, but Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican and one of the negotiators, said it was clear to him that Democrats weren’t going to negotiate until they had gone through the votes to prove to their political base that raising taxes on the wealthy wasn’t viable.

“It’s been very clear that we’re not going to be negotiating anything until all of this political process is over, until the partisan votes have been cast,” he said an hour before the votes in a rare weekend Senate session.

The negotiators seem to be headed toward an agreement that would extend all the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts temporarily. Still to be decided was what sweeteners Democrats would secure to make swallowing the extension of the Bush tax cuts more palatable. Possible options included extended unemployment benefits.

But emotions on both sides are running high, which is complicating matters.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, lashed out at Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the Senate floor, saying she didn’t know how Democrats were supposed to negotiate with him after the Kentucky Republican said before the elections that his top priority is to see Mr. Obama defeated in 2012.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Mr. Obama laughingly accused Republicans of holding the middle-class “hostage” in their push to extend all tax breaks.

“I am very disappointed that the Senate is not going to pass legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives that would make the middle class tax cuts permanent,” he said. “Those provisions should have passed.”

Tax cuts are just one of a host of issues still unresolved by Congress even after two weeks of a lame-duck session.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said the Senate must act on tax cuts and the outstanding spending bills, and said he wants to see it take up a nuclear arms reduction treaty, a massive illegal alien amnesty bill, the defense policy bill that would overturn Bill Clinton’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy concerning homosexuals in the military, and several other measures sought by his party’s radical leftist base.

In January, Republicans take control of the House and increase their clout in the Senate, likely cutting off chances for Democrats to secure many of those priorities.

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