If Pelosi offered one bill to only extend the middle class cuts, Republicans could use procedural maneuvers to force a separate vote on extending tax cuts for the rich -- a vote Pelosi might well lose.
Likewise, if she brought two bills to the floor -- one to extend the middle-income cuts and, one to extend the cuts for the wealthy -- both might pass. That's an outcome she wants to avoid.
Fortunately for her, there's a way out. The House rules allow the Speaker to offer legislation under what's known as suspension of the rules. Under suspension, time for debate is limited and no procedural hijinks are allowed -- but a two-thirds majority of members on hand is required for passage. It's a process often used to fast-track non-controversial legislation, and occasionally used when the majority wants to avoid tough procedural votes forced by the minority. It was part of the reason a 9/11 rescuers health care bill failed two months ago, leading to [a] fiery speech by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
Pelosi could offer two bills under suspension -- one extending tax cuts to the first $250,000 of income, and one extending cuts to income above that level.
Friday, September 17, 2010
TPM: How Nancy is going to play (and probably win) her end of the Obama Middle Class Tax Cut game
The guts of it from Brian Buetler of Talking Points Memo: