WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will force a first-ever vote on the "Buffett Rule" when the Senate comes back from its two-week recess on April 16, according to a Senate leadership aide.
Reid plans to file cloture -- the procedural motion required to begin debate on a bill -- on Buffett Rule legislation on his way out the door on Thursday, which means the Senate will vote first thing when it gets back from break on whether to move forward with the bill, the aide said. Not coincidentally, the vote is timed to take place a day before the deadline for filing taxes.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have long been pushing for passage of the Buffett Rule, which would require people who make more than $1 million to pay at least a 30 percent tax rate on their income. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) filed legislation in January to make the Buffett Rule the law; the Senate will be voting to begin debate on that bill, the aide said. This will be the first time the Senate is voting on the matter.
The bill is not expected to pass since there aren't any Republicans to date who have signaled any support for it. But the vote gives Democrats the ability to hammer in their election-year message that Republicans are on the side of the rich, while Democrats are fighting for the middle class.
UPDATE: 6:35 p.m. -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later weighed in on Reid's planned vote.
"In the next few weeks, Members of Congress will get a chance to vote on the Buffett Rule, and show the American people whether they are willing to make sure the middle class gets a fair shake," Carney said in a statement. "We urge Members to vote for this common sense approach."