Republicans, eager to put Senate Democrats on record on taxes, tried to force a vote Wednesday on President Obama’s proposal to extend middle-class tax cuts but raise taxes for the rich, but Majority Leader Harry Reid objected, essentially sidelining the president’s plan.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republicans’ leader, tried to set up competing votes — one on the GOP’s plan to extend all the tax cuts for one year, and another on Mr. Obama’s proposal to extend them only for households making $250,000 or less.
But Mr. Reid objected to the request, saying he didn’t want to have the vote on the GOP’s legislation.
“It’s the help Paris Hilton legislation,” he said. “It would give people like her a tax break for doing nothing — $46 billion of the American people’s money to help Paris Hilton and others.”
Mr. McConnell said he was just trying to get senators on record so voters could see which senators supported the president and which supported the broader tax cut.
“The Senate should make itself clear which policy it supports. This is our chance to do it,” he said.
The tax issue has become complicated for lawmakers. Some Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have mooted a higher threshold for extending the tax cuts — up to $1 million in income.
Meanwhile, some Republicans say they’re ready to embrace ending tax breaks in order to use the money to head off looming defense cuts, according to the Hill newspaper.