On Thursday, Democrats pulled a sly political maneuver meant to derail Republican efforts to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts. The move drew the ire of Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner (R-OH), who called it "chicken crap," and also angered over 30 House Democrats who defected and voted against the maneuver.
The move will only allow debate on extending tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year, effectively shutting down debate on the most controversial part of the cuts: extending them for high-end earners -- a group Republicans contend contains droves of small business owners.
Yesterday, Democrats scheduled a vote on the tax cuts for Thursday but only for those under the $250,000 mark. The move today now ensures that lawmakers will only be allowed to debate and vote on extending cuts below that threshold.
Shortly after the move was announced, Boehner expressed his extreme displeasure, accusing Democrats of playing "political games" and calling it "chicken crap":
"Voting for this rule is, in effect, a vote to raise taxes and destroy jobs, and yet another sign that Washington Democrats just don’t get it," Boehner spokesman Micheal Steel wrote in an e-mail to reporters.
Apparently Boehner and Steel aren't the only ones who think so. A total of 33 Democrats broke rank to vote against the tactic. According to The Hill, the list of defectors contains mostly "centrist Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom were defeated on Election Day":
Despite the tactic, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that any bill that did not extend tax cuts to all would be dead on arrival in the Senate.
"Forty-two Republican senators, which is all of us, and an indeterminate number, significant number of Democrats, don't think we ought to raise taxes on anybody," McConnell said Wednesday night. "So regardless of what the majority forces House Republicans to do, it's not going to go anywhere. We're going to extend the current tax rates, we're not going to raise taxes on anybody. The only thing we're discussing right now is how long that extension will be."