What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution). Sessions of Alabama amendment relating to protecting tax cuts/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 85)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution). Sessions of Alabama amendment relating to protecting tax cuts/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 85     Mar 21, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote occurred on an amendment by Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, that would have allowed President Bush's recent tax cuts to be extended beyond 2010 free from any procedural challenges related to congressional budget rules. The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Cutting federal income taxes -- and in this case, retaining cuts that have already been enacted -- is a fundamental priority for the Republican Party, particularly now that these tax cuts are somewhat in jeopardy. This is because many Democrats, now in control of Congress, have targeted these tax cuts as inappropriate as the country struggles to fund its domestic needs as well as the ballooning cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The amendment would have allowed recent Republican tax cuts -- including those related to children, marriage, adoption, capital gains and estate taxes -- to be extended beyond their 2010 expiration date without having to comply with congressional budget rules known as PAYGO (which requires any bill that creates new spending or reduces revenues be offset by a reduction in spending, or creation of new revenue). Normally, any bill that violates these PAYGO rules can be killed with a procedural motion. Sessions' amendment would have made it so procedural motions can't be used to kill any legislation extending these taxes, even if it did not comply with PAYGO.

"I urge my colleagues, let's not put a burden on our economy and on our constituents by allowing these current tax rates that are low now to surge upward when they expire at the end of 2010," Sessions said on the Senate floor as he argued for his amendment.

Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, said the amendment would "gut" PAYGO.

"This amendment would completely overturn the PAYGO discipline. The PAYGO discipline, as all members know, says: If you are going to have new mandatory spending, you have got to pay for it. If you want more tax cuts, you are going to have to offset them," Conrad said. "This would be a return to deficits and debt as far as the eye can see at the worst possible time, just before the baby boomers retire."

Democrats were united in defeating the amendment on a vote of 46-52, with the help of three Republican defectors, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and George Voinovich of Ohio. Thus, the budget resolution went forward without language the amendment sought to add. The amendment would have exempted any bills that extended President Bush's tax cuts from being defeated on procedural motions.

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