Tax Cut Thursday: Dems From Both Chambers Facing Big Decisions

September 22, 2010 2:32 p.m.

Things are looking up for House Democrats who want to see a vote on the Bush era tax cuts before they adjourn to campaign in the final weeks of the election.

A top House Democratic leadership aide told TPM that an early caucus meeting on Thursday is being viewed as one of the last chances for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other advocates of holding a vote before the elections to make their case. We’ve covered the wrangling all week, and the Democratic aide said yesterday it had seemed like people who don’t want a vote were winning. The leadership aide told TPM the conversations today are trending toward holding a vote before they adjourn next week.Leadership is attempting to be considerate of members who are afraid of getting hit with negative attack ads that they are “raising” taxes if they vote against extending cuts for the wealthy, which are set to expire at the end of the year. For the last few weeks the complication has been with Democrats who want to extend all of the tax cuts, but reports out last night and this morning suggested that Democrats who wanted to head home were winning the battle.

“It’s a much smaller percentage of people who don’t want a vote at all, but if it’s more than 39, it’s a persuasive percentage,” the aide said.

It hasn’t been decided for certain, and at the caucus meeting Pelosi and others will argue a vote will help with political messaging even if the Senate doesn’t pass the cuts.

The aide said leadership is leaning toward placing the issue on the suspension calendar, making it far easier to pass and avoiding any Republican shenanigans. Read this for a really good explainer as to why using the suspension calendar makes it easier to pass the tax cuts.

Democrats would either present one vote, two votes or no votes, the aide said. The details are still being worked out, but it would likely be one vote on extending the middle class cuts only and a second vote on extending the tax cuts for the upper income brackets either temporarily or permanently.

The aide said a really important distinction still isn’t clear to voters — everyone would get a tax cut up to the first $250,000 in income. Rich people just wouldn’t get it on income over that amount.

Senate Democrats, who also can’t seem to agree on when and if there will be a vote, also are holding a caucus meeting tomorrow. We hear they want to settle on a tax cuts game plan for their chamber.

Many Democrats will be spending this evening in New York at a joint DSCC/DCCC fundraiser with President Obama, who is likely to try and rally them in hopes of getting a vote.

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