Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Senate passes massive tax cut which raised taxes over $600 billion in middle of night without reading the bill

Senate passes massive tax cut which raised taxes over $600 billion in middle of night without reading the bill

Posted by    Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 8:24am
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.
The basic details are in last night’s post.  The index to the bill is here, and the full bill here.
Via WaPo:
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.

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