With Republicans balking at the prospect of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent of Americans, Democrats are losing patience. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said Friday that the House GOP will not hold a vote on a middle-class tax bill that excludes the top income brackets, even though the Senate has already approved one.
In response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Friday that Democrats plan to bring the legislation to a floor vote next week no matter what. The Democrats plan to use a discharge petition, which can force a bill to the floor if it has been stuck in committee for 30 legislative days. In a new statement, Pelosi dared her Republican colleagues to reject the plan to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the country:
The clock is ticking, the year is ending, it’s really important, with tax legislation, for it to happen now. We’re calling upon the Republican leadership in the House to bring this legislation to the floor next week. We believe that not doing that would be holding middle-income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich. Tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations.
And so, to that end, we are – we will be introducing, if the bill, if there is no announcement of scheduling of the middle income tax cut, which, by the way, has tremendous support in the Republican Caucus – I think we would get a 100 percent vote on it if it came to the floor. If it is not scheduled, then on Tuesday we will be introducing a discharge petition which you know with – if we get 218 signatures, would bring the bill automatically to the floor. That would mean that we need some Republicans who support middle income tax cuts, to sign on with us.
In order to make a discharge petition work, Pelosi needs 20 Republicans to sign on to the measure. Several Republican legislators, notably Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), have called for Republicans to accept President Obama’s deal on middle-class tax cuts.