I need to interrupt our gleeful snarking about Mitt Romney and his money and point to something significant that has happened in the Senate:
Until last week Senate Democrats seemed to lack a majority of votes to extend the middle class tax cuts alone. That allowed Republicans to portray the battle as between President Obama and Congress. But that changed when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) challenged Republicans to permit separate up-or-down votes on middle-income and high-end tax cuts, signaling heâ€™s rounded up the votes to win. Republicans denied the offer.
Democrats hardened their position this week as partyâ€™s fourth-ranking Sen. Patty Murray (WA) vowed that Democrats wonâ€™t permit the lower rates for the rich to continue beyond their Dec. 31 expiration date, even if Republicans repeat their 2010 strategy and block tax cuts for the middle class if the wealthy donâ€™t also get a full break.
Democrats scoffed at the Republican attacks Tuesday and pressed their advantage.
In other words, they are calling Mitch McConnell’s bluff. They will allow ALL Bush tax cuts to expire rather than extend the tax cuts for the wealthy.
Senate Republicans are frantically claiming the Dems are playing Russian Roulette with the economy, or saying they are holding the economy hostage. Of course, Dems say the same thing about Republicans.
Polling on what the public thinks is all over the map, btw. A recent McClatchy-Marist poll says that 52 percent of Americans want all tax cuts extended, while a recent Pew poll said they favor ending tax cuts for the wealthy by 2 to 1. I suspect the way the question is framed makes a big difference.