It turns out when its members agree to play straight and give up filibustering, the Senate can get even controversial legislation passed, as it demonstrated Wednesday by approving the Bush-era tax cuts for all but the highest earners. It was a close vote, with the bill passing by just 51 to 48, but it achieved something the Senate couldn't do even in 2009 or 2010, when they had a larger majority, Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler pointed out. "Republicans aided Democrats in the effort, by agreeing to drop their filibuster and allow the legislation to pass or fail on a simple majority basis." What a novelty! Democrat Jim Webb and independent Joe Lieberman (who usually votes with Democrats) voted against the bill, NBC News reports, but hey, that's what sometimes happens in a voting situation. Of course, the bill is not expected to make it through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. There, NBC reports, Republicans "plan to take up their own bill next week that would extend the Bush tax rates for all Americans for one year while taking up comprehensive tax reform." A Senate bill to extend the tax cuts for everyone was defeated Wednesday, 45 to 54.
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