Bluffing? Republicans say they have the votes to extend all Bush tax cuts, Democrats say no way

Chris Moody Contributor

House Republican leaders renewed their call for Democrats to hold a vote on whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts before Congress adjourns for the midterm elections, and claimed that there were enough votes in both chambers to pass a complete extension for all income brackets.

“Congress must not adjourn until we vote up or down to extend all current tax relief to every American,” Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence said Wednesday. Pence serves as the chairman of the House Republican Conference, and called the absence of a vote “unbelievable and “unconscionable.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner added that there were enough votes in both the House and Senate to extend all the tax cuts, a claim Democratic leadership aides have denied.

“I believe there’s a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate who want to extend all of the current tax rates,” Boehner said.

He could be right, at least for the House. In a letter sent to Nancy Pelosi this week, 47 House Democrats split with the White House and called on Democratic leadership to agree to extend the tax cuts for dividends and capital gains.

An extension of tax cuts for all Americans would increase the federal deficit by $700 billion over the next ten years if current spending levels remain unchanged, officials estimate. Democrats said that given the apprehension to increase the federal deficit among fiscally moderate Party members, there is no way Boehner’s claim is correct.

“I don’t think they’ll have the votes until they can find $700 billion to pay for it,” a Democratic leadership aide told The Daily Caller.

At this time, there is no official plan to vote on a tax cut extension of any kind before Congress adjourns. Last week, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced they would punt the vote until after the elections. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said yesterday that although a vote in the House is “doubtful,” it is still “certainly under consideration.”

Congress is expected to adjourn by the end of this week.

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