- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2010

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Sunday he thinks the chamber will vote this week on the legislative package to extend Bush-era tax rates, but he was hesitant to say he has the votes.

Mr. Durbin said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has been talking all weekend with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and that they have a “good cross section of the Senate Democratic caucus” that is prepared to vote yes.

“But I don’t want to presume,” he said.

Mr. Durbin also had strong advice for House Democrats who have vowed to vote against the deal in which Republicans are willing to extend unemployment benefits in exchange for Democrats extending tax cuts for all Americans.

“We all sing from the same political hymnal,” he said. “But in three weeks Democrats will no longer be in power. Try to project what the president’s bargaining power will be then.”

House Democrats are opposed to a provision in the deal that limits the estate tax for the wealthiest Americans.