This vote was on preserving an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would have deleted the entire text of the economic stimulus bill and replace it with language to codify a laundry list of tax relief-related provisions Republicans have sought for years. The amendment was offered to a massive economic stimulus bill intended to spur job creation and economic growth.
Max Baucus, D-Mont., sought to defeat DeMint’s amendment with a procedural maneuver for violating the Senate’s rules against legislation that increases deficit spending. DeMint then made a motion to waive that rule in this case, which is what this vote was on.
Specifically, DeMint’s amendment would make permanent a number of tax cuts currently set to expire in 2011, including the 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains, the $1,000 per-child tax credit and the so-called marriage penalty relief. It also would repeal the estate tax for estates under $5 million and reduce the business tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
DeMint said his amendment, which he calls the “American Option,” will help to “develop a free market American economy by leaving money in the hands of people and businesses rather than taking it and then having the Government direct where the money goes.”
“Proponents argue that we are facing a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis and only an immediate and overwhelming stimulus bill can ignite the economy, create jobs, and spur growth. That may very well be true, but the spending bill before us today is just that: a spending bill, not an economic stimulus bill. The Democratic bill takes money—it actually borrows money—and decides where it should go. It does virtually nothing to stimulate the economy while it wastes billions of taxpayer dollars,” DeMint said.
Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the Joint Committee on Tax has calculated that DeMint’s amendment would increase the national debt by $2.5 trillion in foregone tax revenues.
“It replaces the underlying bill, which means no aid to States, no energy provisions, no infrastructure provisions, nothing that is in the bill, replaced by a tax cut which takes effect in 2011,” Baucus said.
By a vote of 36-61, the motion was rejected. Of Republicans present, 36 voted for the motion and four voted against it. Every Democrat present voted against the motion. The end result is that the motion to waive the rules was rejected, DeMint’s amendment was killed with a procedural maneuver, and the bill went forward without language that would have replaced the text of the economic stimulus bill with a myriad of tax cuts, including some big-ticket ones that Republicans have sought for their key constituencies for years.