Senate passes massive tax cut which raised taxes over $600 billion in middle of night without reading the bill
There are too many metaphors here applicable to the Senate’s 89-8 passage of a “fiscal cliff” bill in the middle of the night (around 2 a.m. this morning).
The bill raised taxes by over $600 billion, in addition to Obamacare taxes already coming on line, yet the Senators can claim it was a massive tax cut because the vote took place after midnight, so technically the Bush tax cuts already had expired.
Senate leaders had been waiting to schedule the vote until they had received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office, which provides estimates for the budgetary impact of legislation.
But even though that score was released before the measure was voted upon, it’s unlikely that many senators had the chance to read the entire 157-page bill before casting their votes early Tuesday morning.
Support for — as well as opposition to — the compromise spanned the ideological spectrum. The eight senators voting “no” were Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Tom Carper (Del.), Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and potential 2016 White House hopeful Marco Rubio (Fla.).
The Republican Senators voting against the bill were Rubio, Paul, Grassley, Lee, Shelby, and the Democrats were Harkin, Bennet and Carper. Not voting were DeMint, Lautenberg, and Kirk.
For historical analogy, CBS News points out:
The measure is the first significant bipartisan tax increase since 1990, when former President George H.W. Bush violated his “read my lips” promise on taxes. It would raise an additional $620 billion over the coming decade when compared with revenues after tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003, during the Bush administration. But because those policies expired at midnight Monday, the measure is officially scored as a whopping $3.9 trillion tax cut over the next decade.
Now it goes over to the House.
The most intereting part of the bill that we know of so far is that the automatic sequester cuts are delayed for two months, so there will be another big fight combining the sequester cuts and debt ceiling. This delay is one of the selling points the Republican leadership is using to sell the bill.
The theory is that the spending cuts and entitlement reforms have not been surrendered, they will be fought over soon in a context in which the “rich” already have seen their taxes go up so spending and entitlements, not taxes, will be the only things on the table.
Obama already signalled in his offensive press appearance yesterday that he was not buying into that narrative, and that more “revenue” would be on the table again.
Updates: Via Twitchy –
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement after voting against the so-called deal to avert the fiscal cliff by imposing job-killing taxes and failing to solve America’s long term debt problem:
“I appreciate all the hard word that went into avoiding the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’. I especially commend Senator McConnell’s efforts to make the best out of a bad situation. Nevertheless, I cannot support the arrangement they have arrived at. Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing. But rapid economic growth and job creation will be made more difficult under the deal reached here in Washington.
“Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax and, chances are, they’ll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make. And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.
“Of course, many Americans will be relieved in the short term that their taxes won’t go up. However in the long run, they will be hurt when employers pass on to them one of the largest tax hikes in decades. Furthermore, this deal just postpones the inevitable, the need to solve our growing debt crisis and help the 23 million Americans who can’t find the work they need.”
And, my latest post, Time for House to call a Time Out — pass Plan C.