Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the bill that would give 100% of American taxpayers an extension of the tax rates presently in place, up to a limit of $250,000 in earnings. The House did not extend the ADDITIONAL tax break that those who earn more than $250,000 now get and have gotten for the last ten years - one of the big reasons for our current astronomical deficit.
Today, the Senate voted on the same measure and they voted 53-36 in favor of it! So...it passed, right? Right?
Honestly, only a fool would believe that, for in the U.S. Senate, the majority does not rule. The minority does. In order to get virtually anything passed, the bill has to get 60 "aye" votes, a 3/5 majority. Yes, only in the U.S. Senate and places like Myanmar is a majority not really a majority.
So, what happens now? No doubt, the Senate will come up with a "compromise" proposal, which in reality means that they will approve the Republicans demand to extend the additional tax cuts to their wealthy supporters. There will have to be a conference committee between the House and Senate to come up with the final version. Unless Nancy Pelosi can hold firm, the final bill will look exactly like the Rebpublicans want it to look. And to hold firm, Pelosi will have to fight the Republicans, many of the Senate Democrats and most likely her own President. The "Incredible Shrinking President" as Paul Krugman has called him. It seems very likely that Obama will cave in and accept the Republican plan on this as he has on so much else, including Health Care Reform. (It won't do him any good though. They still won't be his BFF.)
It should never have come to this, and with any kind of strong leadership from the White House, it wouldn't have. I'm disgusted.