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Yesterday, Reuters and The Hill reported that Senate Democrats plan to hold a vote on extending tax cuts for the lower and middle class only.


But both Reuters and The Hill also report that it is unlikely that Democrats will have the "60 votes" required to pass the legislation.

From Reuters:

Democrats will need to win the support of at least one Republican to reach the 60 vote threshold needed to advance legislation in the 100-seat Senate. That appears unlikely at this point, Democrats have said.


Let's ignore the absurd fact that that when Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, it is taken as a given that 60 votes is automatically required to advance any legislation.

What we are talking about here is a partial extension of the Bush era tax cuts.  Neither the 2001 nor 2003 Bush tax cuts had 60 votes in the Senate.  Both pieces of legislation were passed via reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority.

So why on earth wouldn't Democrats use reconciliation to extend the tax cuts, minus the portion for the wealthy?  

Is it somehow not possible procedurally? I really would like to know the answer.  Can anyone this shed some light on this?

Originally posted to The Progressive Pen on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:18 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I could be wrong about this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, leftover, nervousnellie

    but I think you can only use Reconciliation once a year. We've already used it.

    Somebody correct me please, if necessary.

    Every successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.--Barbara Tuchman

    by Fonsia on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:25:47 PM PST

  •  Because Reconciliation has already been used. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    Reconciliation can only be used once.

    I wish it were not so.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

    by leftover on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:26:17 PM PST

  •  It's once per budget year, IIRC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Rejoinder

    So they could use it again for this.

  •  PP - I don't think we can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    There has been a fair amount of discussion on this issue because as you point this is exactly how the initial tax cut legislation was passed. I am certainly no expert in legislative procedure but it appears that we cannot use it this time. It is true that reconciliation can only be used once each fiscal year. The actual purpose of reconciliation is to pass sticky budget items in one catch-all bill, that cannot be filibustered, at the end of the budget cycle. As I understand it because we have not passed a F2011 federal budget we are at the beginning, rather than the end, of the cycle. The F2011 budget deadline was Sept 30, 2010 but Congress kicked it into next year. What I hope is that someone who actually knows about this will jump on this thread and give us the real facts.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:37:07 PM PST

  •  They need 2 Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Burris is out, Kirk is in.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:38:39 PM PST

    •  Screw it...bring it up for cloture every day (0+ / 0-)

      between now and the end of the session - keep the Senate going over Christmas and New Year's.  Make the Republicans vote over and over again against a middle-class tax cut.

      And when that fails and everyone's rates go up on January 1, blame the Republicans every chance you get.  And then, when the newly Republican House passes a new tax cut for everyone, modify it in the Senate to be only for income (for everyone) up to $250,000 per year, and send it back to Boehner to see what he does with it.  (And have Pelosi demand that any "new" tax cut should be deficit-neutral.)

      This is a no-lose proposition on some level...and I hope the Republicans fucking choke on it.

  •  Snow belt states are possibles because of (0+ / 0-)

    the great amount of work which cannot be done in them in winter, which is where we are right now, with the snow falling and falling, and the heat benes reduced.

  •  Because there is no reconciliation this (0+ / 0-)

    year. There was no official budget resolution for this fiscal year and thus no reconciliation instructions.

  •  I believe what could be done (0+ / 0-)

    and i can certainly be wrong about this...Is let it expire  while fighting tooth and nail and make the repubs vote against it or even fillibuster ( they will never) then come the new session of congress the VP Biden (tie breaker head of senate) can exectue a mandate in a new session of congress a simple ( not so simple) rule change of majority vote rather than 60. Someone please correct me as I know it is not that simple.

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