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Reid, McConnell Negotiate into the Evening; Lone Republican Spikes Tax Deal



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The latest from the Capitol: Earlier in the evening, Senate Republicans and Democrats appeared to be settling on a compromise that would bring four separate tax votes to the floor: two for each side. The Democratic votes would include one on the House passed bill, and one on Senator Schumer’s (D., N.Y.) bill that would extend current rates for all making up to $1 million a year.

But then Republican Leader McConnell phoned Majority Leader Reid to relay that a GOP objection has been raised to bringing up all four bills tomorrow. Without being able to get unanimous consent, Reid will file cloture tonight on just the two Democratic bills, likely setting up a Saturday vote. No word at this time which Republican member(s) objected.

When Reid found out about the Republican objection, he walked immediately to Senator McConnell’s office — but McConnell has already left the Capitol. Reid could be seen pacing McConnell’s sitting room, waiting, we assume, for McConnell to come back to his office.

More as it develops.

UPDATE: Harry Reid said he is “disappointed” in the GOP, but Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) hedged, saying that “in fairness to Senator McConnell, he was stopped by one member,” who objected to the Democrats’ plan to hold four separate votes.

“Era of good feelings?” Durbin asked rhetorically. “One Republican member didn’t get the telegram.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) was adamant that the Democrats won’t budge.

“We draw the line, it is $250,000 — that’s it,” Harkin said.

He adds that some Senate Democrats are fine with letting the tax cuts expire. “There’s that, too. Talks have been going on about that — to let them expire and come back in January.” In that scenario, he says, Democrats “can build our own” tax policy, instead of extending Bush-era rates.

“That’s a possibility that we could do. Maybe the pressure would be on [Republicans] a little more to really address the real problem: Who’s getting pinched on these taxes?”

But while Reid says the two Democratic votes will show where his caucus stands, he added that the White House-led bipartisan group is still holding negotiations and hoping for a deal.

Reid said that before tonight’s nascent deal was aborted, the Republicans were seeking a five-year extension of all current tax rates. 



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