Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called Democrats’ bluff on the 2013 tax cliff. Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell announced that Republicans will allow a 50-vote threshold on Democratic proposals for renewing the Bush tax rates. Democrats have repeatedly stated that they want to keep Bush’s tax rates in place. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says, “I support extending the current exemption so that we don’t hurt family farmers.” Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) says, “If we set the general estate tax exemption level at $3.5 million for an individual, $7 million for a couple, maybe even carve out a $5 million exemption for family farms and businesses, you could get savings just on that alone of $300 billion over 10 years.” And Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) says “With regard to the inheritance tax, I have always been in favor of eliminating this tax.”
Yet Democrats keep complaining that they can’t do anything about the Bush tax rates – and that Republicans are holding up the show – because they need 60 votes to stop a filibuster in the Senate.
Now Republicans have removed that excuse. Democrats can pass their tax proposals without fear – they do have a majority. This puts President Obama in a difficult position – he will either have to enshrine the Bush tax rates, or he will have to allow taxes to increase on his watch. Democrats have an easy choice now: help the economy, or please their leftist base. No doubt they’ll choose their leftist base – after all, they always have in the past.