Pelosi will attempt to force tax cut vote later this month

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will file a petition Tuesday to attempt to force a vote later this month on extending tax cuts on income less than $250,000.

Pelosi said Friday that she will file a "discharge petition" to attempt to force the House to vote on the measure, which passed the Senate over the summer and would allow tax cuts to expire for those making more than $250,000 a year. Reid indicated in a floor speech opening the Senate's business Tuesday that the petition will be filed today, and it was confirmed by Pelosi's office.

The petition is used by the minority to force a floor vote when the House Speaker refuses to bring a bill forward. The mechanism is rarely used successfully -- it takes 218 signatures to bring a bill forward. Even if all 192 Democrats sign on -- and Reid indicated Tuesday that they will -- a significant number of Republican defections would be needed.

Reid signaled Tuesday that Democrats will pressure Republicans to break ranks and support the effort.

"Twenty-five Republicans is all it would take," he said.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he was encouraging all House Democrats to sign the discharge petition and that the House should pass the Democratic proposal. "Not so we can give them (middle class taxpayers) a Christmas gift, but so that we can give them confidence."

If the discharge petition gets enough signatures, a vote on the cuts would happen later this month.


Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.



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