President Obama Signs Extension of Bush-era Tax Cuts

On Thursday, December 16th, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly (277-148) approved the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010.  The New York Times notes that 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for another two years. Conversely, 112 Democrats and 38 Republicans voted against the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010.  Interestingly, nine representatives—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—abstained from voting on this landmark piece of legislation.

The Wisconsin House delegation was split along party lines, with the three Republicans (Paul Ryan, Tom Petri, and Jim Sensenbrenner) voting in the affirmative and the five Democrats (Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind, Gwendolyn Moore, Dave Obey, and Steven Kagen) voting against final passage.  Representative Petri, justifying his support for the legislation, explained, “This is not a perfect bill but without it we would have a job-killing $3.1 trillion tax increase with the new year and uncertainty as to what would happen next.”  But Representative Kagen, one of the more liberal members of the Wisconsin delegation, issued a vitriolic press release on Friday, condemning the passage of the legislation.  In this press release, Representative Kagen said, “Our working class is suffering while those who hold the bulk of our nation’s wealth continue to get richer, and I cannot in good conscience assure that it continues…This legislation that was passed in Congress tonight is not only irresponsible; its un-American.”  Despite Representative Kagen’s qualms, the U.S. House voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for every American. 

On Friday, December 17th, just one day after the landmark vote, President Barack Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 into law.  President Obama’s signature ensured that most of the Bush-era tax cuts will be extended for another two years.  President Obama said of the legislation, “The legislation I am about to sign is a substantial victory for middle-class families across the country.” The new law will help to create jobs, restore consumer confidence, provide much-needed tax relief for all Americans, and most importantly, rejuvenate the economy.

This National Political News Update was authored by PAI’s Deputy Policy Director.

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