The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives steamrolled over Republican objections Thursday to pass a permanent extension of the Bush era middle-class tax cuts for taxpayers making up to $250,000.
The move is purely symbolic since it stands little to no chance of getting Senate approval. Senate Republicans have insisted that the tax cuts also be extended for those with income above $250,000.
But House Democrats and President Obama have so far rejected a permanent extension for the higher income taxpayers, saying it would cost about $700 billion over ten years. The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of December.
With a smile, Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the bill's passage by a 234-188 vote.
Earlier in the day, the next speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the Democratic maneuver "chicken crap." Actually, what he told reporters was:
I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver that is going on today as chicken crap, all right. This is nonsense, all right? The election was one month ago. We are 23 months until the next election, and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.
The move will allow House Democrats to boast that they kept their vow to extend the tax cuts to the middle class and deny them to wealthier taxpayers who, they argue, have received an unfair amount of the nation's income during the last decade.
The vote also comes against a backdrop of White House negotiations with congressional Republicans over extending the tax cuts, discussions which have reportedly gone nowhere fast.