President Obama’s $858 billion tax deal has moved from the Senate tonight to the House, thanks to a huge bipartisan majority vote:
In a 83-15 vote, the Senate quashed a filibuster by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Va.).
Fifteen lawmakers voted against it, including five Republicans: Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Ensign (Nev.) and George Voinovich (Ohio).
Nine Democrats and one independent voted against the bill: Sens. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Pat Leahy (Vt.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Sanders.
Senator John Kerry had announced today that he would be voting “yes” on today’s vote to debate the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 which will provide tax breaks for every American. In a statement Kerry said:
“I oppose extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and have voted against them since day one, every time in between, and opposed them when I ran for president. They never created jobs as promised and dug an enormous hole in the deficit that was dumped on President Obama. But the unavoidable reality remains that week after week, vote after vote, Senate Republicans marched in lockstep to hold middle class tax cuts and unemployment insurance hostage to bonus tax cuts only for the wealthiest Americans. Above all, the 52,000 unemployed workers in Massachusetts and countless middle class families in need of critical benefits and tax relief this holiday season can wait no longer. If the Senate doesn’t act, they will be hurt in a way they can’t afford. I’m not going to stand by and see laid-off workers cut off from their lifeline or see working people take home less and less in their paychecks come January. This isn’t the choice we should have to make, but it is the choice we do have to make, and governing is always about choices.
“The compromise President Obama has negotiated will provide unemployment benefits for seven million workers and create 600,000 jobs in 2011 alone. Is it the deal I wanted? No. But the reality is we don’t have 60 Senators who oppose the Bush tax policies the way I do, and the way Barack Obama and Joe Biden do, and this compromise provides many critical benefits for middle class folks that we’ve been fighting for and haven’t been able to win any other way. I will support today’s measure, and look forward to the debate ahead about the work that must be done to create fairness in the tax code, grow our economy, and deal with the problem of deficits and debt that must be wrestled with in a serious way.”
Greg Sargent predicts on The Plum Line that “it seems more and more likely that the deal will pass in roughly its current form,” in the House. After that it will be off to the president’s desk.
I agree with Senator Kerry’s pragmatic reasoning that “this compromise provides many critical benefits for middle class folks that we’ve been fighting for and haven’t been able to win any other way.” It’s not ideal and it’s fine to be pissed off about the tax cuts for billionaires, but let’s be real, we can’t face leaving the unemployed with out benefits. We just can’t…