Senate Republicans derailed a "Buffett rule" bill today, using the day before Americans' taxes are due to defy President Barack Obama on one of his signature election-year issues. By a near party-line 51-45 tally, senators voted to keep the bill alive but fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to continue debating the measure. The bill would force the nation's top earners to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes,
The anti-climactic outcome was no surprise to anyone in a vote that was designed more to win over voters and embarrass senators in close races than to push legislation into law. In fact, Democrats purposely timed the vote for the day before peoples' taxes are due at the Internal Revenue Service. They believe the issue shows that Democrats are fighting for equity for the middle class. Republicans used the battle to accuse Democrats of pushing a political gimmick that would hurt the economy and create no jobs.