The midterms are over. Time for the lame duck.
Democrats still control the House and hold a big majority in the Senate when they come back to work in the middle of November to tackle one of the most jam-packed lame duck sessions in recent memory. Between tax cuts for the rich and jobless benefits for the poor, it has the makings of another round of R vs D class wars.
First on the docket is the Bush tax cuts. Emboldened Republicans will continue to press for a permanent extension of the full law, which will deprive the U.S. Treasury of around $3 trillion over ten years. Democrats will try to "decouple" the tax cuts by breaking them into two bills. One bill would extend rates for 98 percent of taxpayers, perhaps permanently. The other bill would deal with the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent.
Republicans see the trap, of course. Once the president has signed the middle class tax cuts, the Democrats' will have won the game already. See, Dems can delay a vote on the upper-income tax cuts until the end of the year and let those rates revert to their year-2000 levels. Blammo! The White House tax plan would be complete: same taxes for the middle class, higher taxes for the wealthy. Republicans are too canny to fall for that.