House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday sought to seize on her party’s Senate victory on the Bush tax cuts by calling on House Republicans to take up a bill to avert a rate hike on incomes below $250,000.
“Yesterday was a great day. The United States Senate voted to give 100 percent of Americans — everyone in this country — a tax cut. We all agree that’s a good idea. The only thing standing in the way of a middle income tax cut is the House Republicans,” she told reporters. “We call upon our Republican colleagues to bring this bill to the floor today.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) vowed to pass legislation next week to extend all the Bush-era tax rates. He indicated that the House won’t bring up the Senate Democrats’ bill on constitutional grounds, but he left the door open to permitting a similar measure as an amendment.
“We’ll give the Democrats an opportunity to vote for the president’s small business tax hike, and if they do, I think the American people will hold them accountable,” Boehner said Thursday.
That sets up a showdown between the two parties that’s unlikely to be resolved until the election, raising the stakes for the presidential race. With President Obama and Mitt Romney holding their parties’ mantle on taxes, the winner gains a compelling reason to demand that their position carry the day.
But the Senate’s 51-48 vote Wednesday, which also shot down the GOP’s plan to extend all the Bush-era rates, handed Democrats a critical and unexpected bit of leverage to press their argument. Boehner will not be able to argue, as he often does, that the GOP-led House has acted while the Democratic-led Senate has remained idle.
This article has been updated.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.