U.S. Senate May Pass Obama’s Tax-Cut Extension Proposal

The U.S. Senate will vote today on competing Democratic and Republican tax plans, spelling out their positions in a way that won’t resolve the impasse on fiscal policy.

The Democratic bill, endorsed by President Barack Obama, would extend expiring income-tax cuts for a year for all but the highest earners. Individuals with income exceeding $200,000 a year and married couples with more than $250,000 would face higher tax rates in 2013.

Democrats control 53 votes in the 100-seat Senate and may be able to win passage at the vote scheduled for 4 p.m. Vice President Joe Biden, who can vote in the Senate to break a tie, probably will travel to Capitol Hill to be available for the vote, said a Senate Democratic aide who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Two members of the Democratic caucus, Virginia’s Jim Webb and Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman, have said they will vote against the plan. Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania said they were undecided.

“We’ll see,” Casey said yesterday in an interview. “I’m taking a hard look at it.”

The bill isn’t expected to advance in the Republican-led House of Representatives. Republicans want to extend the expiring income tax cuts for all income levels for a year. Senate Republicans’ plan will be voted on today as a proposed amendment to the Democrats’ bill.

Republican Leader

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said today he wouldn’t use procedural moves to require a 60-vote threshold.

“The only way to force people to take a stand is to make sure that today’s votes truly count,” he said. “Nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote.”

The Constitution requires tax bills to originate in the House. That means today’s Senate bill can’t go to Obama’s desk.

Any legislation would have to pass the Senate again, which would let Republicans use procedures to block it.

The Senate Democrats’ bill is S. 3412.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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