WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats blocked a Senate vote Wednesday on President Barack Obama's plan to extend expiring tax cuts for a year for everyone but the highest-earning Americans as the two parties maneuvered to try embarrassing each other on one of the election year's foremost issues.
The move came just two days after Obama urged Congress to vote on his proposal. Democrats plan to take up the president's proposal before Congress' August recess.
Without action by lawmakers, wide-ranging tax cuts enacted a decade ago under President George W. Bush will expire on New Year's Day. That's an outcome that economists say would be a blow to the already weak economy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed votes on two amendments to a small business tax cut bill the chamber is debating. One was on Obama's plan, the other on a Republican alternative that would include top earners in the extended tax reductions.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blocked the votes on both for now, saying the Senate would return to them after it finishes the small business tax measure. Aides said Democrats want to focus now on the small business measure, which they view as a winning issue for them, and turn later this month to Obama's plan to extend the broader tax cuts, which they see as a draw for voters.
"We'll get to the tax issues," Reid said. "That way we'll be able to talk in more detail about Gov. Romney's taxes," a reference to Democratic demands that wealthy GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney release more of his income tax returns.
The White House voiced support for Reid's blocking action. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney called the GOP move "a gimmick."
The proposal floated by Republicans "was not the president's proposal, did not include the other middle-class tax cuts that were part of the president's proposal," Carney said. Carney said that Reid promised the Senate would have a chance to vote on Obama's most recent proposal and he would take him at his word.
Trying to take the offensive, Obama's re-election campaign released a television ad it will air in nine states where the election could be close, contrasting the middle-income tax breaks Obama has proposed with the tax cuts Romney's plan would provide for wealthy individuals and corporations. "Two plans, your choice," the announcer says.
Obama would exclude families earning over $250,000 a year from the renewed tax cuts, saying they should contribute to deficit reduction.
Republicans say by excluding those people, the plan would in effect raise taxes on many business people and stifle job creation. Republicans said Reid blocked the votes to protect vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election this fall from having to vote on Obama's plan.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Obama's proposal "is not just an economic disaster. It's a political loser and they know it."
Out of 119 million U.S. households, just 2.5 million — or 2 percent — reported making at least $250,000 in 2010, according to Census Bureau figures.
An estimated 940,000 taxpayers reporting business earnings will earn enough money to see their tax rates rise in 2013 unless lawmakers act, according to Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. That is just 3.5 percent of taxpayers reporting business earnings — a figure Democrats use to show how few businesses would pay higher tax rates under Obama's plan.
The committee also estimated that those 940,000 taxpayers will account for 53 percent of the $1.3 trillion in business earnings reported in 2013 — a number Republicans cite to argue that the higher rates will hurt the economy and job creation.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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