Could Democrats Still Get Republicans to Bite on Decoupling?

A Democratic insider says the House is close to splitting, or "decoupling" the Bush tax cuts, and they "definitely" will hold a vote on extending only the middle class rates.

Steny Hoyer, the number two in the House Dem leadership, told Democrats at a caucus meeting this morning that they would get to vote this year on just extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, a senior Dem aide tells me, signaling support for a confrontational move towards the GOP that liberals have been pushing.

Asked if Democrats would definitely get a chance to hold this vote, the senior aide responded: "Definitely."

Hoyer's declaration comes as Democrats have been debating the way forward on the Bush tax cuts, and another aide tells me that "more than half" of the Dem caucus supports this course of action.

Read on at Plumline. Decoupling the Bush tax cuts is another way of simply letting taxes rise on the richest two percent. Here's why. Let's say the House and Senate vote to extend the middle class tax cuts alone. That's it! They've got what the White House and progressive Dems want. They won't have to pick up the second bill dealing with rates for the rich, because those will automatically revert to their 1999-rates on January 1, 2011, just as Democrats prefer.

Republicans know this and will be united against a plan to split the bill. And that is why House Democrats will need more than "more than half" of the caucus to get behind this motion.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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