Hard to believe after 10 years of buildup, but the Democrats, shell-shocked by the 63-seat loss of the House earlier this month, still don’t know what they’re doing about the Bush tax cuts:
With the lame-duck Congress reconvening Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) may hold a vote mid-week on legislation that would extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts only for families with income less than $250,000, while allowing the upper brackets to expire.
But Senate Democrats are still divided over their party’s endgame strategy. Some Democrats are ready to accept a temporary extension of all tax cuts. But there is also growing interest among other Democrats in a compromise that would keep them in place only for families with income up to $1 million. Administration officials, for their part, have opposed making upper-income tax cuts permanent, but are widely viewed as being willing to accept an extension of a year or two. Republicans are unified in opposition to allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to lapse for any income group.
You’d think they’d have spent some time on this earlier.
So. Democrats have a flurry of competing positions, from taking the stand from all the way back in 2008 primary season to bargaining and conceding and the like, and Republicans are… right where they’ve always been. If you think the latter will probably win this battle, well, you’re right that stubbornness is rewarded in politics often.
The public doesn’t seem to particularly agree with Republicans on this front, but compared to the mish-mash on the other side, at least it’s a position. And we know that, if you’re willing to use the rules at your disposal, the minority can stand strong against virtually any majority in Congress.
The President meets with the leaders of both parties tomorrow to work on the tax issue. I’m sure that will be a productive session.
As Byron Dorgan said on CNN this weekend, the likely outcome is a short-term extension of everything. That may not happen until next year, but it’s very likely to happen.