On a busy Wednesday on the floor of Congress, the Senate Democrats and House Republicans engaged in a good ol’ fashion political pissing match, with only the 2013 tax bill of every American taxpayer at stake.
Firing the opening salvo in what is sure to be a long, fruitless battle to determine the fate of the Bush tax cuts, Senate Democrats passed legislation (Senate bill 3412) that would extend the Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000. Adding salt to the Republican wound, the Senate also voted against a Republican amendment to the plan that would have extended the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers into 2013.
In response, House Republicans quickly put an end to any Senate celebration by refusing to consider the Senate bill, opting instead to proceed with plans to pass a bill next week (H.R. 8, which we discussed earlier this week here) that would extend the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers into 2013, while also keeping the estate tax at its current parameters and increasing the AMT exemption for 2012 and 2013. Of course, if President Obama is re-elected in November — and assuming he doesn’t drastically shift his long-held refusal to extend the Bush tax cuts for America’s wealthiest taxpayers — he will surely veto any bill that comes out of the House.
Call me a cynic, but I’ve got to believe that being in Congress must be a lot like running in deep water: you’re spending a lot of energy, but you’re not actually getting anywhere.