It’s back to plan A.
A tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic Senate leaders to hold four tax cut votes today fell through late last night, over the objections of a GOP member.
As reported here, the arrangement was always fragile, requiring unanimous assent of the entire Senate, and subject to the disapproval of any restive Republican. As a result of the objection, Majority Leader Harry Reid will revert to an earlier plan to force votes on only two Dem-sponsored bills: One, the House-passed plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000, and another to extend those cuts for income under $1,000,000.
Neither of these two packages, nor the two scuttled, Republican-authored plans, was expected to pass: Both were merely symbolic gestures, meant to put Republicans on notice that their tax cut mania will become a political issue during this election cycle, and to signal displeasure to the White House over its brewing tax cut compromise with Republicans. Those negotiations are centered on a temporarily exchange all of the Bush tax cuts in exchange for an extension of unemployment insurance, and, potentially, the tax cuts in the stimulus bill.
As a result of the scuttled agreement, Reid will now likely — again, likely — have to force votes, keeping the Senate in session on Saturday.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.