House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she would try to use a procedure known as a discharge petition to bring a Senate-passed bill for extending the middle-class tax cuts to the floor of the House.
A discharge petition would require 218 signatures to bring it to the floor of the House. Republicans, who hold a majority in the House, have so far resisted allowing a vote on a bill passed earlier this year by the Senate, which would extend the tax cuts for only those earning less than $250,000 a year.
"The message from the American people is loud and clear: we need solutions not stalemates,” Pelosi said in a statement Sunday. "We continue to call on Speaker Boehner to immediately schedule a vote on the Senate-passed bill to extend tax cuts for the middle class, which the President has said he will sign immediately. Congressional Republicans must heed the call of middle-class families during this holiday season, end the uncertainty and stop holding middle income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich. If Speaker Boehner refuses to schedule this widely-supported bill for a vote, Democrats will introduce a discharge petition to automatically bring to the floor the Senate-passed middle class tax cuts. We must find a bold, balanced and fair agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. The clock is ticking and stalemates are a luxury we cannot afford.”
Pelosi held a press conference last Friday in which she said she planned to introduce the discharge petition this coming Tuesday. However, she admitted that Democrats will need some Republicans to join them in signing the discharge petition. Democrats currently hold 192 seats in the House, but the discharge petition would need 218 signatures to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
“The clock is ticking, the year is ending,” Pelosi said Friday. “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 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.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Fox News Sunday that President Obama’s latest proposal , presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to avert the fiscal cliff was a “non-serious proposal.”
"The President was asking for $1.6 trillion worth of new revenue over 10 years, twice as much as he's been asking for in public,” said Boehner. “He has stimulus spending in here that exceeded the amount of new cuts that he was willing to consider. It was not a serious offer. I looked at [Secretary Geithner] and I said, 'you can't be serious?' ... You know, we've got several weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense."
Geithner, however, said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he believes a compromise on the fiscal cliff talks can be reached. “I think we’re going to get there,” he said. However, he insisted that Republicans need to come up with a counter-offer. “We need to know what they’re prepared to do on [tax] rates and revenues, and we need to know what they’re prepared to do on the spending side,” he said.