WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will force votes on tax cuts, which observers say is meant to contrast Democrats and Republicans on tax policy.
Reid, D-Nev., indicated he would bring up for a vote a bill that would extend tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 and individuals less than $200,000 and would allow tax cuts on the wealthy to expire, as well as giving senators the option of voting on GOP-sponsored legislation that would extend permanently all of the cuts enacted during George W. Bush's presidency, The Hill reported Thursday.
The bill sponsored by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would permanently extend current tax rates for all Americans and eliminate the estate tax.
Observers said Reid's strategy is meant to draw a distinction between Democrats and Republicans on tax policy -- portraying Democrats as protecting the middle class and Republicans as protecting the wealthy.
The timetable for the votes hasn't been revealed. Also, Reid hasn't indicated whether he would offer a vote on temporarily extending all of the tax cuts, viewed by many observers as the measure most likely to pass.
"We want to give Republicans an opportunity to vote on McConnell's legislation and we want opportunity and maybe plural to vote once, twice, whatever it takes to show the American people we support the middle class," Reid said Thursday.
Republicans have dug in, saying they won't support any compromise that would raise any taxes, arguing that tax increases on the wealthy would harm small businesses and slow economic growth.
"The most important thing we can do to create jobs between now and Jan. 1 is to send a message to job creators that we're not going to raise their taxes," McConnell, of Kentucky, said on the floor Thursday.