The U.S. Senate today voted 51-48 to end the Bush tax cuts for the nation’s richest 2% and maintain the cuts for middle-class families. Also, by a 45-54 margin, lawmakers defeated a Republican bill that continued the tax breaks for the wealthy.
However, today’s action was largely symbolic as the Republican-controlled House will not take up the Senate bill that ends the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy. But it's certainly further evidence about whose side congressional Republicans are on.
Republicans dropped their threatened filibuster against the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (S. 3412) to give themselves political cover this fall from charges they blocked middle-class tax cuts. Along with preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy, the Republican measure also maintained the middle-class tax cuts.
But their proposal to include the wealthy would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade and mean about $160,000 extra a year for the average millionaire.
But there was a group of wealthy Americans who told lawmakers the right move would be to end the tax breaks. In a letter to the Senate yesterday, a group of 87 wealthy Americans wrote:
Congress faces a choice. It can ask the wealthiest 2 percent to limit ourselves to the tax cuts other Americans get—those on the portions of our incomes under $250,000—so that it can shrink the deficit while continuing to invest in education, infrastructure, clean energy, health care and rebuilding a strong middle class. Or it can slash investments vital to our nation’s future in order to be even more generous to those of us who need it the least. That shouldn’t be a hard choice
Apparently it is.