Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lost a pair tax votes on Saturday, with all Republicans and a handful of Democrats voting against proposals to extend current tax rates on lower incomes while raising them on higher incomes. The votes were a largely symbolic effort to portray Republicans as holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage on behalf of the rich.
The first vote on Sen. Max Baucus’s proposal to extend current tax rates for those earning under $250,000 failed 53 to 36. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s plan to maintain current rates for those earning under $1 million, the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” failed 53 to 37. The Senate requires 60 votes to invoke cloture and cut off debate.
The Democrats voting against the under $250,000 extension were: Sens. Russ Feingold, Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Jim Webb, and “independent” Joe Lieberman. The Democrats voting against the under $1 million extension were: Sens. Dick Durbin, Jay Rockefeller, Tom Harkin, Feingold, and Lieberman.
Clearly, the Democratic opposition to the first vote came from moderates, where the liberals were the ones who defected on the second vote.