Rep. Chris Van Hollen may think a vote this week is still possible on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but the No. 2 Democrat in the House splashed icy cold water on the idea Sunday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Fox News Sunday that he does not think a vote will happen before members adjourn for the midterm elections, even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday it still was possible. Hoyer blamed the Senate for opting to punt the vote to a lame-duck session, telling host Chris Wallace that it would be “a specious act” to hold a vote just for political optics before heading home.
Wallace asked, “Will the House hold a vote this week before you adjourn for a month of campaigning, a vote this week on whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts?”
I doubt that we will, and let me tell you why. The Senate has refused to move forward on that issue. As you know, we have some 400 bills pending in the Senate, 75 percent of which have gotten 50 Republican votes or more, but they can’t move through the Senate, so it would be an specious act.
Hoyer said that even though the Senate won’t vote this week, Democrats pledge to extend the cuts for the first $250,000 in income before they expire on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s more from the show:
WALLACE: Why not pass the extension of the middle-class tax cuts before you go home to campaign for a month?
HOYER: I just told you. The Senate has decided they wouldn’t do it
because of the…
WALLACE: Well, that’s the Senate. You’re the House.
HOYER: The obstruction is in the Senate. Well, it would be a specious act for us.
But what we have — what is not a specious act, Chris, is we have absolutely guaranteed that there will be no increase in middle-income taxes. The president’s that. The speaker and I have said that. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have said that. There will be no increase…
WALLACE: All right.
Like the White House, Hoyer laid the responsibility for lack of action on the issue at the feet of Republicans. “The obstructionism in the Senate has not allowed us to move forward,” he said.
Shortly after Fox’s show aired in Washington, Van Hollen (D-MD) said Sunday on Meet the Press, “We may well take it up before the midterms.”