House to Vote Next Week on Dueling Bush Tax Cut Extension Bills

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he would allow a vote next week on legislation that House Democrats plan to introduce to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for middle-class taxpayers, while Republicans also plan a vote on their own proposal to extend tax cuts for taxpayers at all income levels.

The Senate voted Wednesday by 51 to 48 to approve the Democratic proposal, which would only extend the tax cuts for adjusted gross income under $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for singles, in line with President Obama’s proposal (see Senate Approves Tax Cuts Extension for Middle Class). House Republicans have also drawn up their own legislation, which would extend the Bush-era tax rates for another year for all income levels (see House Republicans Introduce Bush Tax Cuts Extension Bill).

“Next week, the House will vote to stop the small business tax hike,” Boehner said Thursday. “We’ll also vote to start pro-growth tax reform that will help employers keep jobs in America, and bring some jobs back to America that have gone overseas.

Now lastly, we’ll give the Democrats an opportunity to vote for the President’s small business tax hike, and if they do, I think the American people will hold them accountable.”

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee also intend to introduce legislation Monday to reinstate the 2009 estate tax provisions, with a top rate of 45 percent and a $3.5 million exemption, to ensure that 99.7 percent of decedents will face no estate tax liability. 

The Republican bill would provide a complete exemption from the estate tax for 3,600 additional decedents, but would cost approximately $9 billion more, according to Democrats.
However, the sides are likely to continue battling over the tax cut extension past election season.

“The Senate’s action this week shows that the middle-class tax cut extension could be sent to the President immediately were House Republicans willing to put middle-class families first and pass the measure,” said Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., in a statement Thursday. “Republicans have a choice: join with Democrats in passing middle-class tax cuts now or hold up an extension of middle class tax cuts simply to benefit the very wealthy. There will be no one to blame but House Republicans if they leave here next week with the outcome still unclear for middle class families.”

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