The Corner

Hoyer: House Will Only Vote on Middle-Class Tax Cuts

Greg Sargent reports that House Democratic Majority (and soon to be Minority) Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) has confirmed his party will push a vote on the middle-class tax cuts — and only the middle-class tax cuts — during the lame duck. Moreover, he’s convinced he’ll get one:

Steny Hoyer, the number two in the House Dem leadership, told Democrats at a caucus meeting this morning that they would get to vote this year on just extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, a senior Dem aide tells me, signaling support for a confrontational move towards the GOP that liberals have been pushing.

Asked if Democrats would definitely get a chance to hold this vote, the senior aide responded: “Definitely.”

Hoyer’s declaration comes as Democrats have been debating the way forward on the Bush tax cuts, and another aide tells me that “more than half” of the Dem caucus supports this course of action.

The move indicates that House Dems are growing more resolved to draw a hard line on the Bush tax cuts, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama’s tax plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class. However, the way forward still remains murky. Even if such a measure were to pass in the House, it’s unclear whether the Senate will agree to such a vote, and the White House has not endorsed the approach.

What’s more, the vote could conceivably go down, or alternatively, Republicans might successfully mount a procedural response, known as a “motion to recommit,” that could also force a House vote on the high end cuts. I have not been able to determine how House Dems might respond to such a move.

Whether Republicans can win a motion to recommit will depend on how charitable the lame Blue Dogs are feeling toward the leadership of the more progressive remnant.

UPDATE: Votes in the House and Senate won’t happen until after Thanksgiving.

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