At 4 pm on Wednesday, the Senate will vote on dueling plans to address the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. The Democrats' plan would extend most of the tax cuts, excepting cuts that apply to people's income above $250,000. The GOP plan would extend all the Bush tax cuts. Their objection to the Democrats' plan suggests they'll only extend tax cuts for middle income if high earners also get an extension on tax cuts that benefit them alone.
Both votes will be held at a simple-majority threshold.
If the Democrats' bill passes -- as Senate leadership is projecting it will -- it faces a technical objection in the House. The constitution holds that revenue bills must originate in the House, and the Democrats' bill did not. In a bid to protect the party from charges of hostage taking, and to preserve the top-bracket tax cuts, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to a request from Senate Majority Leadery Harry Reid to rectify this problem.