It's official. We taxpayers will wait another month, or more, to find out what our income tax rates and other tax breaks will look like in 2011.
The Senate surrendered first. Last week, the Senate Finance Committee chairman announced that body would not hold a vote on the expiring Bush tax cuts because most of his colleagues wanted to get the heck out of town.
The House, however, looked like it might be able to muster enough courage to take a tax-cut vote before the Nov. 2 midterm elections. Apparently, that was just crazy talk.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a group of freshmen lawmakers this morning that she wouldn't call for a vote on the Bush tax cuts before adjourning this week.
Then came the icing on the political cake.
When the House voted this afternoon to adjourn, 39 Democrats went along with Republicans in opposing the move.
It's not that the lawmakers don't want to leave Capitol Hill and hit the campaign trail. It's that they wanted one more good piece of tax ammunition to take with them as they go courting voters.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) opposed the adjournment motion, arguing that it would be irresponsible for Congress to leave without providing certainty on the tax issue.
Republicans obviously will use the non-vote as a sign that Democrats don't want to keep tax rates at their current low levels.
Democrats do support keeping the Bush tax cuts in place for individuals making less than $200,000 or households bringing in $250,000 a year. But the party has had trouble getting all its members to go along with that plan.
Democrats in tough races are supporting the extension of all the Bush tax cuts, even for wealthier taxpayers. It was that group that sided with Boehner and forced Pelosi to break the tie vote -- the final tally was 210 to 209 -- so that later this week the House can close up shop for a while.
Now we wait for what the November's balloting will bring. Depending on which party wins a majority in the House, Senate or both, and by how much, we'll fight over tax cuts again in a lame-duck session.
- Tax cut timing could be costly
- Democrats who support Bush tax cuts
- Representing the rich ... or not
- Some quick tax cut calculations
- OMG! What will happen to my tax bill if the Bush tax cuts expire!?!
- Tax cuts smackdown!
- 2010's expiring tax cuts likely to be dealt with by a lameduck Congress
- Debunking 5 Bush tax cut myths
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