House Democrats To Push To Equalize Tax Cuts For Wealthy And Unemployment Extension [UPDATE: Resolution Not Brought To A Vote]
WASHINGTON -- House Democrats will consider a resolution Tuesday night calling for the tax deal struck between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans to be amended so that the tax cuts for the wealthy are extended for the same period of time as unemployment insurance.
[UPDATE - 8:15 p.m.: Democrats leaving the meeting told HuffPost that a decision was made not to vote on the resolution, a setback for advocates of amending the tax cut deal. Negotiations, however, were ongoing, they said.
"I think that's unsettled at this point," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said.]
Under the current bill, the unemployed would get a 13-month extension, while the wealthy would get two years worth of tax cuts. Extending unemployment insurance beyond the 13 months will be difficult with the GOP in control of the House next year.
The resolution will be put forward by Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), according to a notice of the resolution obtained by HuffPost. "Resolved: The Democratic Caucus shall vote to consider a bill in the House where the extension date of all Bush tax cuts is equal to the extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefit," reads the start of the resolution.
The political calculation is that Republicans would be unwilling to blow up the entire package in order to assure that the unemployed get less help than the wealthiest two percent.
The resolution continues:
The Democratic Caucus shall vote to consider a bill in the House where the extension date of all Bush tax cuts is equal to the extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefit;
The House shall vote only on legislation that extends unemployment benefits for at least as long as it extends tax cuts for the wealthy; and
The Democratic Caucus opposes legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans for longer than it extends much-needed unemployment benefits for middle-class families.
The disparity between the length of the unemployment and tax cut extensions has been a source of concern for progressive House Democrats.
The full resolution appears below: