House passes Republican tax-cut plan
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Wed August 1, 2012
The House passed a Republican-backed tax-cut extension that is unlikely to become law before November.
- The House measure extends the Bush tax cuts for everyone
- House Republicans reject a Democratic version to extend most but not all tax cuts
- The Senate did the opposite last week, passing the Democratic plan
- No further action on possible tax reform is expected until after the November election
Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. House on Wednesday took the opposite action on tax cuts as the Senate, rejecting a Democratic proposal championed by President Barack Obama to extend lower tax rates for middle-income Americans, and then passing a Republican plan to maintain the lower rates for everyone for a year.
In separate votes that amounted to political posturing in an election year, House Republicans joined by more than a dozen Democrats passed the GOP measure by a 256-171 margin.
Minutes earlier, a similar tally defeated the Democratic alternative that would maintain the lower rates for income up to $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals for a year.
Wednesday's votes extended a congressional stalemate over the Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 that has come to symbolize legislative inaction in Washington.
Why House tax vote is really about drawing battle lines for the fall
Last week, the Senate passed the Democratic version in a sharply polarized 51-48 vote, while the Republican plan was defeated 45-54.
Normally, a congressional conference committee would negotiate a compromise between the measures passed by each chamber, but the volatile tax issue has little chance of receiving further consideration before the November election.
Rep. Van Hollen on the Bush-era tax cuts
Panelists on the Bush-era tax cuts
Hayworth: We're trying to help Americans
Cummings: GOP holding tax cuts hostage
Republicans seeking to shrink the size of government oppose any higher taxes and argue the Democratic plan of allowing rates to increase on higher-income Americans will stunt economic growth.
GOP leaders say anything short of renewing all the current tax rates amounts to a massive tax increase on small businesses whose owners report their income through personal rather than corporate returns.
Democrats contend Republicans are holding hostage tax breaks for the middle class -- including 97% of small business owners -- in order to keep lower tax rates for 2% of American taxpayers earning in excess of the $250,000 threshold.
Both sides agree on extending the lower rates for middle-income Americans, Democrats argue, but they say Republicans are preventing that from happening out of allegiance to a dogmatic opposition to any kind of tax increase on even the wealthiest Americans.
Opinion: Why are tax hikes politically radioactive?
Democrats also point to polling that shows a majority of Americans support their approach.
Wednesday's votes completed each party's opening bid in what is sure to be a frenzied legislative negotiating session after the November vote.
The economy is approaching a so-called "fiscal cliff" brought on by the looming expiration of several tax cuts as well as the approach of a series of mandatory spending cuts.
Senate votes on competing tax plans
CNN's Alan Silverleib, Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.