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Enjoy your rebate. It will be a long long time, if ever, before you see another.

Congress Endorses Post-Bush Tax Hikes
By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press
March 14, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats in both House and Senate pressed ahead with budget plans that would saddle millions of Americans with higher tax bills in three years by allowing some or all of President Bush's reductions to die after he leaves office.
All three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to cast votes on the budget plan, which is nonbinding but highlights the difficult choices on taxes and spending facing the next president and Congress. Binding votes on the expiring Bush tax cuts will be left to his successor and the Congress that's elected in November.
The candidates also wanted a chance to vote for a one-year ban on pork-barrel projects, though that late-night Senate effort seemed doomed to defeat. The practice of inserting ''earmarked'' spending into legislation is seen as a birthright by lawmakers in both parties -- and a right under the power of the purse awarded to Congress by the Founding Fathers.
As for the $3 trillion federal budget plans, the House version would provide generous increases to domestic programs but bring the government's ledger back into the black by letting all of Bush's tax cuts expire at the end of 2010 as scheduled. That five-year plan passed the House on a 212-207 vote, with Republicans unanimously opposing it over what they argued was $683 billion in tax increases.
In the Senate, John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, voted to extend the full roster of tax cuts, which he opposed seven years ago as being tilted in favor of the wealthy. Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois both voted against them.
Clinton and Obama did vote for $340 billion in tax cuts over five years for middle- and higher-income taxpayers, investors and people inheriting businesses and big estates.
But they joined with Democrats and a couple of maverick Republicans in rejecting, 52-47, an additional $376 billion in extensions of income tax rate cuts, more generous estate tax cuts and relief from the alternative minimum tax.
Republicans hope to use the votes as fodder for the heated presidential campaign and for congressional races. Lawmakers in both parties also were put on record for when the tax cuts actually expire in three years.
Said Republican Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana, ''Democrats are quietly but very assuredly paving the way for a massive, economy-choking, tax increase.''
Democrats said the plans would reverse years of deficits that have piled up during Bush's tenure. They said he squandered trillions of dollars in projected surpluses that were projected when he took office.
''The Democratic budget continues to move our nation in a new direction and to clean up the fiscal train wreck caused by failed Republican economic policies over the last seven years,'' said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Separately, the proposed moratorium on pet spending projects seemed headed for defeat despite the backing of all three of Bush's potential successors.
>> Continued -- Page 1 2
Earmarks have exploded in number and cost in recent years, accompanied by charges of abuse and public outrage over egregious examples like the proposed ''bridge to nowhere'' in Alaska, which would have cost more than $200 million to serve an island with a population of about 50.
''Too many senators have confused the founding fathers of the earmark favor factory with the Founding Fathers of the United States of America,'' said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
On the subject of tax cuts, Democrats in the House defeated a GOP plan that would have extended Bush's reductions -- and went further by eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which was originally designed years ago to make sure rich people pay at least some tax but now threatens more than 20 million additional taxpayers with increases averaging $2,000.
Some 38 mostly moderate Republicans voted against their party's plan, which would have made cuts in popular programs like Medicare, housing, community development and the Medicaid health care program.
Congress' annual budget debate involves a nonbinding resolution that sets the stage for later bills affecting taxes, benefit programs such as Medicare, and the annual appropriations bills. Unless such follow-up legislation is passed, however, the budget debate has little real effect and is mostly about making statements about party priorities.
This is such a year. Congress rarely tackles difficult budget issues as elections loom, and a standoff with Bush means that Democrats may even take a pass on advancing the 12 annual appropriations bills.
The first year of an administration is typically when heavy lifting on the budget is done, but all the candidates' campaign plans seem to promise more than they can deliver. McCain's tax cuts would require applying a meat cleaver to spending, while the Democrats promise spending that would enlarge the deficit or require too-large tax increases.
The White House forecasts the deficit for the current year at $410 billion, a near record.
Democrats trumpeted their plan for putting the budget back in balance while also making investments in infrastructure, education, community development, clean energy and other programs. It also would avoid $196 billion worth of Bush-proposed cuts to Medicare and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.
 

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For once, I think most of us can agree with McCains position.

John McCain, the GOP nominee-to-be, couldn't attract even a majority of Senate Republicans to vote with him Thursday night behind the earmark moratorium touted by party conservatives as a way to restore the GOP's credibility with voters.

It failed on a 71-29 vote. Only three Democrats joined with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama in voting for it.

McCain, who has battled with members of both parties over earmarks for years, blamed pork barrel spending for the Republicans losing control of Congress in the 2006 elections.

"This may be the last bastion in America where they don't get it," he told reporters after Thursday night's vote. "Americans are sick and tired of the way we do business in Washington.

The underlying House and Senate Democratic federal budget plans for 2009, though nonbinding, drew blasts from Republicans for allowing some or all of Bush's tax cuts to die in about three years.

The House passed its $3 trillion budget plan by a 212-207 vote. It would provide generous increases to domestic programs but seek to bring the government's ledger back into the black by letting all of Bush's tax cuts expire as scheduled at the end of 2010.

The Senate passed a companion plan by a 51-44 vote. It endorsed extending $340 billion of Bush's tax cuts but balked at continuing all of them. The competing versions head to talks in which the House is all but certain to accept the Senate's position endorsing tax cuts for the working poor, married couples, people with children and for those inheriting large estates.

All three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns for a Senate vote-o-rama that began before noon and included more than 40 roll calls.

McCain voted to extend the full roster of Bush's tax cuts. Clinton of New York and Obama of Illinois both voted to extend only some of Bush's tax cuts while allowing cuts in income tax rates and investments to expire.

Budget plans are nonbinding, but they highlight the difficult choices on taxes and spending facing the next president and Congress. Binding votes on the expiring Bush tax cuts will be left to his successor and the Congress that's elected in November.
 

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I supported McCains old position which was that the Bush tax cuts made no sense. I also support his curent position against earmarks. But mighty few of his compatriois on the left or right will go along with keeping their snouts out of the trough.

I do not see any of them telling us how they plan to get us out of the recession.
 

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Wham Bam said:
I supported McCains old position which was that the Bush tax cuts made no sense.
That may be mis-information that comes from the kool-aid dispenser.

McCains position was that the "Bush Tax Cuts" made good sense in that they would stimulate economic growth and thus increase tax revenue but he opposed them because he felt that they offered too much to the wealthy and too little to the poor and middle class in comparison. He also thought they should be coupled with spending cuts in order to be most effective.

I am curious what - if anything - leads anyone to the think we are experiencing a recession?

:?:
 
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