The bill to extend the Bush tax cuts hit an unexpected hurdle in the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon, potentially delaying a vote on what has already been a long, contentious and heated debate.
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U.S. House Democratic leaders were forced to table a procedural motion that sets up the rules for debate on the $858 billion tax package after it appeared there weren’t enough votes on both sides of the aisle.
Passing “the rule”, as it’s called, sets up how the House will debate and bring a piece of legislation to the House floor. Without the rules, the bill cannot be voted on.
While House rules are typical Capitol Hill “insider baseball,” and the lack of support to pass the rules is an indication of how much resistance there is to some of the bill’s provisions from both the left and the right. The package agreed upon between Congressional Democrats and Republicans along with President Obama was passed by the Senate 81-19 on Wednesday.
Apparently the source of contention among Democrats is the estate tax provision in the bill, also known as the Pomeroy amendment. According to FOX News producers in Washington, some House Democrats want to be able to vote on an amendment to raise the currently-compromised estate tax provisions
Despite the procedural hiccup, the bill is still widely expected to pass. House leadership is apparently working with the House Rules Committee to structure the bill in such a way that will not require sending the bill back to the Senate.
“It appears there is enough support on the Democrats side and there’s support on the Republican side, so I think if you add both sides of the aisle I think we still in all likelihood will see passage of the bill,” said Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn, who is an opponent of the bill.
A vote could come tonight or tomorrow.