On Thursday, the House passed the much-debated extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle-class. The measure passed by 234 votes to 188 with just three Republicans (Ron Paul, Walter Jones and John Duncan) voting in favor. Most Republicans voted against the measure because it did not extend to families earning $250,000 or more. The New York Times says the bill has "no chance of passage in the Senate." So what's the point? Here's the reaction from the left and right:
- Bravo, House Democrats, writes liberal blogger Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly:
It's heartening to see the House do the right thing, even if everyone seems to fully realize that this proposal won't pass the Senate. If the upper chamber still operated on majority rule -- the way it used to work; the way it was designed to work -- the debate would be incredibly easy. But since the Dems' popular and reasonable tax-plan compromise can't overcome a Republican filibuster, the tactical maneuvering will continue.
- I Don't Think the GOP Will Filibuster, writes Steven Taylor at the libertarian site Outside the Beltway:
It would then seem that it is a foregone conclusion that those cuts will be extended, as I cannot see the GOP filibustering such a bill just because it does not extend all the cuts. Such is my snap judgment at the moment.
- Dems Are Making a Bad Move, writes conservative blogger Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard: "While it's true that the Democrats voted to maintain current tax rates for some," he says, "it's not smart economics to raise taxes in the middle of a recession."
- This Was Pure Politics, fumes conservative blogger Philip Klein at The American Spectator:
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it faces certain defeat. The only reason they had the vote at all was so Democrats would be able to portray Republicans as being against middle class tax cuts, and to give Democrats a tax cut bill they could vote for, given that many of them will vote against any future bill to extend all of the tax cuts.
- Base Democrats Don't Want Any Tax Cut Extensions, points out liberal blogger David Dayen at FireDogLake:
Make no mistake, letting the tax cuts on the wealthy expire was the biggest applause line of the campaign. Not just the 2008 campaign, but going all the way back to the 2006 campaign. It was the animating principle of the Democratic Party, the position most commonly attributed to them, at least in domestic policy. If you knew nothing else about Democrats, you knew from their speeches that they wanted to let the Bush tax cuts expire and put the money to better use. That’s why base Democrats are so angry about this.
- Don't Blame the White House for This, writes liberal blogger Greg Sargent at The Washington Post:
It isn't Obama's fault that Congressional Democrats punted on holding a vote on just the middle class tax cuts before the election. Indeed, the White House appears to have wanted just the opposite. As many commentators have noted already, the failure to do that vote left Dems with precious little leverage in the current lame-duck showdown over the tax cuts. As David Leonhardt argues today, Dems "had their chance to win on this issue." Before the election, forcing Republicans to vote on just the middle class tax cuts would have thrown them on the defensive. Now they can basically run out the clock. It's important to remember that the White House is not to blame for this.