This afternoon, House Democrats will hold an up or down vote on vote
on President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to income below $250,000,
and they've figured out a way to prevent the Republicans from pulling
procedural tricks that might sink it -- a straight vote on whether or
not wealthy people deserve an additional tax break. Today, at his weekly
press conference, House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the move
"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver
going on today as chickencrap, alright?' Boehner said. "But this is
Brace yourself for some procedural jargon: Dems once believed they
were faced with two mixed options for holding this vote. The first was
to hold an up-or-down vote under the normal rules. But that would give
Republicans the opportunity to introduce what's known as a motion to
recommit -- a procedural right of the minority that would have allowed
them to tack an extension of tax cuts for high-income earners on to the
The second option -- suspending the rules -- would have foreclosed on
that right, but would have required a two-thirds majority of the House
for passage: 290 votes, an impossible hurdle.
But Democrats figured out a way to avoid this. They're attaching
their tax cut plan as an amendment to a separate bill [the Airport and
Airway Extension Act, to wit]. That legislation already passed the
House, and has just been returned from the Senate. The rules say it
can't be recommitted. So the GOP's hands are tied.
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"The election was month ago," Boehner said. "We're 23 months from the
next election and the political games have already started trying to
set up the next election."
"To roll this vote out really is just -- it's what you think I was going to say anyway." In other words, "chickencrap."
Now, Dems did make an end run around the normal rules -- because
there was no other way they could get their preferred tax cut plan
passed. But this really is the purest way to address the question of who
in Congress would say no to tax cuts for everybody unless rich people
get an extra cherry on top.
Should be interesting.