This vote was on waiving the Senate’s rules that govern when amendments may be offered. The motion was made by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who wanted to offer an amendment to a bill that would provide billions of dollars to states for Medicaid and education. DeMint’s amendment sought to add language to the bill that would have permanently frozen small business tax income rates at 2010 levels.
DeMint’s amendment was the first of many Republican attempts to keep from expiring tax cuts that were enacted under the George W. Bush administration. Earlier during debate on this bill, DeMint sought to offer a similar amendment affecting individual tax rates, which was defeated (see vote 226).
“Madam President, we all know the economic engine in this country is small businesses. Most of our jobs come from small businesses. It makes no sense in the middle of a recession for us to take more money from small businesses and bring it here,” DeMint said. “This amendment simply keeps current tax rates the same for those who file individually as part of their small businesses. It is a simple idea. I think we all agree on it. It is important that we do it before the break and let small businesses know they can plan for next year. They can hire people. They can help grow our economy. I encourage my colleagues to support it.”
Max Baucus, D-Mont., said DeMint’s previous amendment on individual tax rates was “totally irresponsible” and “this one is in the same vein.”
“I do not know anybody who can responsibly vote for this amendment because we do not know what it is. What is the definition of “small business”? It could be anything. I think it is a thinly veiled attempt to address the top rates. We are only talking about the top rates in effect,” Baucus said. “Also, I think it is irresponsible because these are problems we must address seriously when we come back [in September], not take this lightly with message amendments but seriously address when we come back in September what we do with the tax cuts and what we do on the deficits.”
By a vote of 42-58, the Senate voted against allowing the amendment to be offered. All but one Republican present voted to allow the amendment. All but two Democrats present voted against allowing the amendment. The end result is that the motion was defeated, and DeMint was not allowed to offer his amendment to permanently freeze small business tax rates at 2010 levels.