Republicans Protest Power Struggle in Senate by Blocking Tax Cut Bill

By Ferrechio, Susan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 15, 2015 | Go to article overview

Republicans Protest Power Struggle in Senate by Blocking Tax Cut Bill


Ferrechio, Susan, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Senate Republicans are officially furious at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The GOP on Thursday blocked a popular and bipartisan tax cut bill in protest over a longstanding Democratic policy of denying GOP amendments.

A package of more than 50 tax breaks needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle, but Republicans refused to back the legislation, even though the bill was written by both parties and enjoyed wide bipartisan backing. The measure fell short by seven votes.

"I think a message was sent today," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said after lawmakers blocked the bill. "We don't like the way the Senate is being run today. We don't think it's fair, we don't think it's right. It had nothing to do with policy. It had to do with how we proceed."

Reid for months has blocked GOP amendments to legislation, saying that the GOP wants to tack on provisions that have nothing to do with the legislation or are meant to put Democrats in a difficult position.

Reid further infuriated the GOP by changing the Senate rules so that only a simple majority, not the traditional 60 votes, are needed to confirm all executive and judicial branch nominations.

Republican anger has been simmering for months over their shrinking power in the chamber, but it reached a boiling point Thursday.

In this instance, the GOP was hoping to amend the tax legislation with a provision to repeal the unpopular medical device tax that is included in the new health care law. Some GOP lawmakers also wanted amendments that would make some of the tax cuts permanent, rather than extending them for only two years.

But Reid used a procedural move to block all their amendments.

"The American people need to know what's happening to their Senate," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. …

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