President Barack Obama said Saturday he was "very disappointed" by the Senate's failure to advance bills aimed at extending Bush-era middle-class tax cuts, but vowed to redouble his efforts to strike a bipartisan deal in the coming days.
"We are going to continue to work on this issue through the weekend, into early next week," Obama said during remarks at the White House. "I'm going to be rolling up my sleeves, with the leaders of both parties in Congress. We need to get this resolved and I'm confident we can do it."
Earlier Saturday, Senate Democrats failed to overcome procedural hurdles to vote on two bills that would permanently extend soon-to-expire tax cuts targeting the middle-class. By a vote of 53 to 36, the Senate defeated an effort to end debate on legislation that would extend tax cuts for taxpayers who earn less than $250,000. By a vote of 53 to 37, the Senate also defeated a proposal that set the income cap at $1 million. Both measures needed 60 votes to advance.
"Those provisions should have passed," said Obama, adding that it makes "no sense" for Republicans to oppose passing middle-class tax cuts unless all of the Bush-era cuts are extended, including those for the wealthy. He said he has spoken to Democratic leaders since the failed votes and plans to talk to GOP leaders next.
"My message to them is going to be the same: We need to redouble our efforts to resolve this impasse, in the next few days, to give the American people the peace of mind that their taxes will not go up on January 1st," said the president.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.