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Reid Hopes for Payroll Tax Vote Tonight

Bill Clark/Roll Call

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At a press conference that followed a caucus meeting with White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger, Reid said the Democratic bill would put more money in the pockets of Americans.

While the current tax cut amounts to about $1,000 in savings for a family making $50,000 a year, the Democratic plan would save the same family $1,500, Democrats said.

Reid said the Republican plan would cut middle class jobs by reducing the federal work force.

Democrats also pounced on a perceived opening created by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has been advocating for a modification of the millionaires tax that would carve out small-business owners, a prime concern for the GOP.

Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) appeared warm to the idea today, at a minimum to put the pressure on the opposition to try to play ball.

“Yesterday I saw Susan Collins endorse a version of the millionaires tax cut. I’d be happy to sit down with her and hear her ideas and perhaps we can work out a bipartisan version,” Schumer said. “Other Republicans like Pat Roberts and Mike Johanns — both from the Republican heartland — joined Collins in saying they were open to a form of making millionaires pay their fair share.”

Most Republicans, however, have argued that many of the offsets in their bill are part of the proposals developed by the bipartisan deficit commission established by President Barack Obama last year and headed by former Clinton administration Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.).

“There’s no reason folks should suffer even more than they already are from the president’s failure to turn this jobs crisis around,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor today. “But there’s also no reason we should pay for that relief by raising taxes on the very employers we’re counting on to help jolt this economy back to life.

“We wouldn’t be helping anybody by making it less likely that small businesses actually start hiring people again,” McConnell said.

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