WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans blocked legislation Saturday to let upper-income tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, a showdown scripted by Democrats eager to showcase GOP lawmakers as defenders of millionaires.
“Do we want to extend those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires at a time of huge deficits. I would argue vociferously we shouldn’t,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., shortly before the votes.
Republicans countered that no taxes should be raised at a time the economy is recovering from a recession. “It is the most astounding theory I have ever seen, raise taxes to create jobs,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
Both measures would have extended expiring cuts for the middle class.
Ironically, the votes were widely seen as a prelude to a possible agreement next week between the White House and congressional leaders on legislation that would avert tax increases at all income levels, as Republicans want.