Tax Break Update -- What Is Happening Today

12/20/2011 11:53 am ET | Updated Feb 19, 2012

I want to help explain what is happening on the floor of the House of Representatives. We should be voting to extend middle class tax cuts, but through some legislative acrobatics, the Republican Majority has designed a vote that will guarantee that a tax break for the middle class will not be sent to the President's desk.

Here is how it works. Last night, the Majority announced that we would have an "up-or-down" vote on whether or not to extend a tax cut for 160 million Americans, and provide unemployment insurance for those without jobs.

But after a stormy 2-hour closed-door conference, they reversed course. With indications that some House Republicans may, in fact, vote for a tax break, the Majority changed our vote today.

Instead of an up-or-down vote on the Senate amendment itself, we are now voting on whether or not we disagree with the Senate agreement to extend tax cuts for the middle class. Regardless of the vote total, today's vote will not move the bill forward. Even if every single legislator votes to agree with the Senate amendment, the bill would not be headed to the President's desk- it would still be defeated and we would have to start all over again.

You read that correctly, because of the rigged vote today, the Senate agreement to lower taxes will NEVER go to the President, and it will NEVER become law.

Under this rigged process, those of us who support the bipartisan bill have no chance of winning today.

That's a pretty neat trick: no matter how the vote goes - the Tea Party Republicans in the House still win - and the American people lose!

We need a tax cut for the middle class. I'm disappointed that the Republican Majority has decided to prevent a tax cut extension instead of holding an up-or-down vote. The American people want a fair shot, not a rigged vote.