Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night warned House Democrats against making any changes to the Senate’s tax cut bill, saying it would torpedo the package.
The Kentucky Republican’s comments came in a statement shortly after the Senate agreed to move toward final passage of the tax measure, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years and unemployment benefits for 13 months. McConnell struck the deal with the White House last week.
“We now urge the House leadership to bring this bipartisan agreement to a vote without political games or partisan changes designed only to block this bill’s passage in the House. If the House Democratic Leadership decides to make partisan changes, they will ensure that every American taxpayer will see a job-killing tax hike on January 1st,” McConnell said in the statement.
But House Democrats seem intent on trying to change the bill.
“We find the Senate bill in its current form unacceptable, and there will be changes made, especially as they relate to the most egregious provisions, like the estate tax, which puts a $25 billion hole in the deficit — $25 billion over two years — to benefit the wealthiest 6,600 estates,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said earlier Monday. “At a time when we’re trying to reduce the deficit, it makes no sense to put us into that kind of debt to China for the wealthiest estates. It wasn’t a necessary part of the deal and shouldn’t be there.”
The Senate voted 83-15 Monday night to move toward final passage of the measure. Senators are expected to approve the bill Tuesday and send it to the House for consideration.
As expected, most Senate Republicans voted to invoke cloture — or end a filibuster of the bill. Also voting yes were a handful Democrats who had vowed to fight the deal, including Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Benjamin Cardin (Md.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Al Franken (Minn.).
A handful of conservatives broke ranks and supported Sanders’ filibuster, including Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Jim DeMint (S.C.) and George Voinovich (Ohio).