House Extends Current Tax Rates
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives rejected an Obama backed proposal that would have allowed the high wage earners tax cuts to expire. The House instead passed alternative legislation preserving the existing tax cuts for another year. It is another act in the play known as political theater that sets up yet another contentious fight for the post-election Congress.
The House, which is controlled by the Republicans, approved the new legislation 256 to 171 to preserve the rates on taxes as they are now. The current rates were enacted first by President George Bush back in 2001 and then extended again in 2010 for an additional two years due to support from President Barack Obama.
In another vote, the House rejected a bill from the Democrats 170 to 256 to extend the current rates past 2012 only for households that earn less than $250,000 annually and for individuals who earn less than $200,000 each year. That plan had President Obama’s support and was approved by the Senate last week. The GOP voted unanimously against the bill and was joined by 19 Democrats who opposed it.
With the vote, it is almost a certainty that the tax cuts that are due to expire will not be decided until after the November election.
The House will break for its summer recess after any votes on Thursday, which leaves very few days on the legislative calendar before the November election.
Obama spent much of Wednesday speaking against the Republican legislation, while his opponent Mitt Romney said he supported the extension of the tax cuts made by Bush.