Republican senators also stated that they would not budge on anything the Democrats brought before Congress during the last few weeks of the lame duck Congress. The lame duck Congress occurs when it has to meet during the months after an election but before the new representatives and senators are sworn in.
Senators are optimistic
Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, stated that he was “optimistic” that a deal could be struck that would allow the tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthy, to pass. The deal would also extend the unemployment benefits that have been so contentious over the past few weeks.
The unemployment benefits are set to expire sometime before the end of the year for many of the nation’s unemployed. Several attempts have been made to extend them, but the Republicans in Congress have filibustered, preventing votes from being taken to extend them. Republicans have repeatedly said that they would not budge on these issues until the tax cuts were extended.
Just a few days ago an vote was taken that would have extended tax cuts for middle-class Americans. However, the measure was defeated. Again, Republicans indicated that they wanted the cuts to extend to all Americans.
Both sides have been talking back and forth for days now. Republican senators said that they would not move forward with any legislation that would repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevents gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Also at risk is ratification of an arms treaty between the United States and Russia. Both of these issues were reportedly supposed to be debated and voted upon during the lame duck session.
Right now the compromise seems to indicate that there would be a temporary extension of tax cuts that were first enacted in 2001 and then again in 2003. The extension would likely be for a year or perhaps two.