Senate Democrats huddled behind closed doors Thursday to try to figure out what to do about the expiring Bush tax cuts, and it seems clear the issue will wait until after the election.
Sen Tom Harkin, D-IA, said emphatically that the vote will come after Nov. 2 in a lame duck session.
Sen Byron Dorgan, D-ND, echoed that sentiment, saying Democrats are already poised to return for "most of the month of December."
Dorgan, who supports extending tax cuts only for the middle class and below, told Fox's Jenna Lee earlier that even those should not be made permanent, further revealing the deep fissures within the Democratic caucus on this contentious issue.
Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont, told Fox earlier this week that the bill he is crafting will contain permanency for the cuts. Baucus is leading today's meeting to update his colleagues on the status of his efforts.
Several senators said the issue should absolutely wait until after the midterms, including Sen Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
"You have to remove the politics from this. I think both parties like the politics of it. My view is, this should not be a political issue. This does have implications for our economy, for our recovery. We don't need to play politics with this," Pryor said.
The moderate Democrat said he is more concerned about what any extension does to the ballooning deficit, adding that he could envision lowering the threshold for the cuts below what the president has suggested.
"I have to see what lowering the $250,000 number does to the deficit projections. But anything we do should only be for a couple of years, after which we need to seriously look at tax reform," Pryor said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, was adamant that the middle class tax cuts should be extended, but she also said she could support a temporary extension of the top rates for two years.
Sen Patty Murray, D-Wash, who is in a tough re-election fight back home, blew by reporters saying only, "I want (tax cuts) done by the end of the year."
That point also seems a near certainty. Members will get something done on tax cuts by the end of the year.
Dorgan told Fox, "We're going to get something done by the end of the year, it's just a question of what."