Senate Democrats got to make an election-year statement today: They passed a bill that would extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but let them expire for the richest Americans, reports the Hill. The prospects in the House, where Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for the top brackets as well? Both Politico and the Washington Post use the phrase "dead on arrival."
Today's vote passed 51-48, with Democrats surviving the defections of Jim Webb and independent Joe Lieberman. A sign of its political importance to the White House: Joe Biden presided over the count, just in case he needed to break a tie. A sample of the Senate floor debate, from AP:
- Democrat Barbara Boxer: "The question is, who are you fighting for. Are you fighting for the people who make a billion dollars a year? That's who the Republicans are fighting for, and they get so emotional about it. Or are you fighting for the middle class, the heart and soul of America."
- GOP leader Mitch McConnell: "Thank goodness it's not going anywhere because it would be bad for the economy, the single worst thing we could do to the country."