What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : This vote was on a Democratic motion to waive Senate budget rules preventing the Senate from voting on a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95) that would have required a 60-vote supermajority of the Senate to sign off on any legislation that increases the number of taxpayers affected by the alternative minimum tax. (2004 senate Roll Call 49)
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This vote was on a Democratic motion to waive Senate budget rules preventing the Senate from voting on a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95) that would have required a 60-vote supermajority of the Senate to sign off on any legislation that increases the number of taxpayers affected by the alternative minimum tax.
senate Roll Call 49     Mar 11, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was cast to determine whether an amendment, offered by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95) could be eligible to be voted upon. The Republican leadership claimed that under the Budget Act, Bingaman's amendment was simply not allowed to be considered. Bingaman sought to have that procedural bar "waived" (done away with) and a super majority of senators (at least 60) would have to agree. However, the 43-53 vote on Bingaman's motion to waive the Republican "point of order," or procedural objection, against his amendment fell far short. Bingaman's amendment would have required a 60-vote supermajority of the Senate to sign off on any legislation that increases the number of taxpayers affected by the alternative minimum tax. The alternative minimum tax was put in place with the idea that very wealthy individuals should not be able to avoid all taxes, so that if they calculate their taxes and they figure out some way to determine they do not owe anything, then they have to also calculate on the basis of the alternative minimum tax and at least pay that amount. However, progressives argued, recent changes made in the tax law and with the changes in the economy and the tax structure, ever more people are affected by the alternative minimum tax. They noted that if Congress does what the President has urged -- that is, make all these tax cuts permanent -- then the number of people who are adversely affected by having to calculate their tax pursuant to the alternative minimum tax would go up very dramatically. Bingaman said, "My amendment says, let's do first things first. Let's figure out how to resolve this problem of the alternative minimum tax, and let's not be bringing bills to the floor and passing legislation unless we have 60 votes in the Senate in favor of it. Let's not be passing legislation to worsen the situation and to require more and more Americans to fall under these provisions of the alternative minimum tax. To me, it is a straightforward, commonsense thing to do." Conservatives did not engage progressives on the substance of the amendment, but insisted it was procedurally unsound, given the dictates of the Budget Act. Lacking a three-fifths majority vote of the total Senate, however, the Republican point of order stood, and the Bingaman amendment fell, meaning his proposal to resolve the alternative minimum tax issue was killed.

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