Outgoing Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, got to be tax cut queen for the day by passing renewal of the Bush tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income. It passed by a vote of 234 to 188. Who voted No on the tax cuts? House Republicans led by incoming Speaker John Boehner.
Republicans voted No on the tax cuts because they say they want to extend the tax cuts for income about $250,000 too. And how does voting against the tax cuts for lower and middle class Americans get you tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers?
Republicans also say they want to reduce the federal deficits. We might need some tax revenues to do that. It's fair to ask why these Bush tax cuts are going to expire at the end of the year. When they were first passed during the Bush administration, there wasn't enough money in the budget for Republicans to make them permanent. Then federal tax revenues plummeted while federal spending soared as the country entered the worst recession since the Great Depression. Were budget busting tax cuts over the long term a reason for the recession?
Boehner will probably win this one, since come January he can pass the tax cuts when his new Republican majority from the November election takes office. But in the meantime he's gotten his House Republican members on record voting against tax cuts. Senate Republicans now face being accused of holding tax cuts for working and middle class Americans hostage in order to give the rich a tax cut.
The questions is, what will Boehner trade to get his tax cuts for income above $250,000? Probably sustaining current federal spending levels with borrowed money. Borrow and spend has been Republican policy for 30 years. That's what the tea party voters who turned out the Democrats want the Republicans to get away from. If Boehner isn't careful, he'll have completely blown his electoral mandate before he even takes up his Speakership.
Boehner referred to the tax cut vote as "chicken crap." That brought to mind his description of the fall 2008 bank bailout as a shit sandwich. Boehner voted for the bank bailout too. Some advice to Boehner: If it tastes like crap or smells like shit, just don't make that vote.