House GOP rejects Senate tax cut extension bill


House Republicans rejected Senate Democrats’ middle-class tax cut package and voted instead to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy. 

Read more: Senate Democrats pass middle-class tax cut 

H.R. 8 – “Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012” – passed the House by a 256 to 171 vote largely along partisan lines. The Senate Democrats’ version – which will extend the Bush tax cuts only for individuals and couples earning less than $200,000 and $250,000 a year, respectively – failed by a 181 to 246 vote.

The House Republicans’ move sets up a political deadlock as Congress adjourns for the August recess. This will likely mean the tax cut extensions won’t be resolved until after the November election.

Read more: CBO warns of approaching ‘fiscal cliff’

The House floor debate on Wednesday offered a preview of what the two sides are expected to rehash on the campaign trail as the election season heats up.

The Republicans will argue that extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy is necessary to:

  • sustain job growth;
  • prevent a tax increase on capital gains and dividends, which will discourage investments and hurt seniors who depend on investment incomes during their retirement;
  • defend the wealthy from being “punished” for achieving success.

“In many ways this debate today is about the very soul of who we are as Americans: Are we going to lift everyone up as one Nation, or are we going to push some down to bring everyone somewhere in the fuzzy middle in some misguided attempt to redefine fairness?” said Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on the House floor on Wednesday.

Read more: Romney’s tax controversy shines spotlight on tax code that favors wealth over wages

The Democrats will focus their message on:

  • helping middle-class families cope with the recession;
  • closing tax loopholes to hold the wealthy – particularly the top 2% income earners – responsible for paying their fair share of taxes;
  • preventing deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs that will hurt seniors, pushing many older Americans into poverty;
  • reducing the deficit.

“Instead of passing a commonsense tax cut, the majority is demanding that any tax cut for the middle class be accompanied by an additional tax cut for the richest 2 percent. Their proposal is based upon the disproved theory of trickle-down economics–a failed economic theory that has led to record inequality and a broken Tax Code that is riddled with loopholes and giveaways to the wealthy,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) on the House floor. “Doing so…would cost us nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years, it would force us to continue borrowing billions of dollars from China, and would force us to make cuts in vital programs like Medicare and student loans. To continue the failed status quo is a disservice to the American people that we represent. It is high time that we start making our Tax Code fair for those who work hard and play by the rules–not just the wealthy who lobby hard and rewrite the rules. We can do that by passing a simple and fair tax cut for the middle class today.”


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