Well folks, here we are again.  The Republicans have got us over a barrel, when it comes to the middle class tax cuts.  They can filibuster to prevent middle class tax cuts from being de-coupled from tax cuts for the rich.  That leaves us with competing diaries on the rec page on whether Obama is a sell-out on this issue.

Or, maybe not.  Maybe there is a way.  Why not use reconciliation to pass tax cuts for everyone but the rich, leaving the Republicans with the prospect of passing tax cuts for the rich on their own watch?

I know, can't be done.  No way to get tax cuts through reconciliation.  Except that it's been done before.  Three times.  By the GOP.

First example:

Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconcilation Act of 2001:   Passed 58-33 in the Senate, 240-154 in the House.

Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconcilation Act of 2003:
Passed 50-50 in the Senate (Cheney tie-breaker), 231-200 in the House.

Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005:  Passed 54-44 in the Senate, 244-185 in the House.

It goes without saying that Republicans provided the vast majority of the votes for each of these bills.

So, what's the upside?  Well, Democrats get to claim credit for tax cuts for the middle class.  Of course you will need a sunset provision to get this passed.  Big deal.  Let the GOP complain about how we're hurting the poor rich folks by cutting them out of the pie.  Place them in a position to explain how adding $400 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, just so rich folks can get their extra pound of flesh, makes sense.

Look, whatever the White House is or isn't saying about the tax cuts, I don't think President Obama will refuse to sign a tax cut bill for the middle class, if it happens to show up on his desk.

Our best chance to change the current narrative is to be aggressive.  The best time to be aggressive is when we have the most votes to be aggressive with.  That time is now.

Updated:  checked on the claims of a commenter, and, indeed, reconcilation can only be used once every fiscal year.  So, can't do it during the Lame Duck Session.  That doesn't mean that the Senate can't put a bill forward after the session.  What's the worst that can happen?  It still switches up the narrative in our favor.  And we need to start fighting.  Along those lines, Reid may be more willing to be bellicose, now that he's secure for another six years.

Originally posted to aravir on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 06:08 AM PST.

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