Washington — Capitol Hill is bustling this morning as the Senate prepares to vote on tax cuts. Democrats plan on bringing two bills to the floor: One would extend the Bush-era tax rates on household income up to $250,000; the other would raise the threshold to $1 million. The Obama White House, currently negotiating with Republicans on a separate tax deal, is opposed to the latter measure.
Some aides (and, we hear, senators) are grumbling about Senate Majority Leader Reid’s decision to call the upper chamber into session on a Saturday for what essentially amount to “show votes,” in the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Neither measure is expected to pass.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) says he doesn’t mind the weekend work. “We see this as a necessary procedure,” he tells us. “It’ll show the White House and Democrats, particularly in the House of Representatives, that they don’t have the votes to increase taxes on some people.”
After Democrats eye the vote totals today, he predicts, they may be more willing to strike a deal.”This gets us around to a point where we’ll be able to get a compromise,” Grassley says. “Then you would have the incentive to extend, for two or three years, existing tax law — not increasing taxes on anybody.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) is less enthused. “Sorry you all have to be here on a Saturday,” he tells reporters outside the Senate chamber. Hatch tells NRO that today’s votes are “jam votes,” designed as political posturing.
“After four years of doing nothing, the Democrats at the last minute are trying to have a field day explaining why they’re for the little people when in fact they want to hammer small business,” he says. “You can say this is just a charade and a show and it’s really pretty pathetic.”
NRO will have more as things develop…