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The Tax Clock is Ticking

But the Democrats will probably not extend the tax cuts before the election.

1:20 PM, Sep 20, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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When is Congress going to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts? President Obama wants to extend those cuts only for households making less than $250,000. Republicans want to extend all of the tax cuts, at least temporarily, so that the country doesn't raise taxes in the middle of a terribly weak economic recovery. More than 30 House Democrats, and 5 Democratic senators, support the Republicans.

The Tax Clock is Ticking

Who will win? One sign the president is losing is that neither Pelosi nor Reid has introduced a bill with their preferred language. According to the New York Times, avoiding the coming tax increase is taking a back seat to other items on the congressional agenda, such as defense, small business loans, and "two additional measures aimed at promoting American manufacturing." All of which are important, I'm sure. But are they more important than avoiding the massive tax increase scheduled for January 1?

Congress is scheduled to adjourn for campaign season on October 8. There's a chance the leadership wants to adjourn earlier, perhaps on the first of the month. Not a lot of time to fix the tax mess. The word on the Hill, therefore, is that the Democrats may go back home without taking any action on taxes. We'll get to that later, the Democrats will tell their constituents. We'll figure it out during the coming lame duck session.

So, incumbent Democrats are likely to campaign this October on an unpopular health care bill and an impending tax increase they hope to fix in December. No wonder the White House is lashing out at the Tea Party. President Obama leads a party in disarray.

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