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House approves extension of middle-class tax cuts in symbolic vote

Here's today's not news flash. The House this afternoon wasted dwindling legislative time voted 234 to 188 for legislation to extend some of the expiring Bush tax cuts.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it will die.

The vote, engineered by Democrats in the waning days of their control of the House, OKs only middle-class tax cuts. The tax rates for families earning more than $250,000 annually and individuals making more than $200,000 a year will go up on Jan. 1.

The Senate, however, won't be able to duplicate the House's approval.

In the upper legislative body, Republicans, who want all tax cuts extended permanently, have made it clear they will filibuster any similar limited tax cut effort.

Meanwhile, the presidentially-appointed tax task force is working behind the scenes to craft a compromise on the expiring tax cuts. Word out of D.C. is that the most likely outcome is continuation of all the tax cuts for two more years.

Wasted posturing, wasted time: I spent nearly 20 years in the D.C. area, working on Capitol Hill (inlcuding as a Ways and Means staffer) and in the private sector dealing with legislation from the other side, but I am still amazed at how much time lawmakers spend on futile displays like today's House vote.

Democrats, we know that you -- or most of you anyway; 20 Dems voted against this latest tax cut bill -- want to let the income tax rates rise for wealthier taxpayers.

And Republicans, we get it. You -- or most of you anyway; three GOP representatives voted with the Democrats today -- want your last president's tax cut legacy to go on forever.

We are all too familiar with the hard lines you've established. We don't need all the worthless votes and over-the-top blustering and empty posturing on both sides.

You men and women are running out of time; literally in some cases, as many in town for the lame duck session lost their seats on Nov. 2.

You've been at this extra Capitol Hill get together since Nov. 15 and yet we have no final word on taxes that have already expired or those that end in just over four weeks.

Quit messing around. There is no imminent election that usually sparks such showboating.

Just do your jobs so we taxpayers will know, for better or worse, where we stand tax wise.

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