ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
As the end of the Lame Duck session quickly approaches, Speaker-designate John Boehner this morning reiterated his support to pass the clean Senate tax cuts bill that GOP Congressional leadership negotiated with President Obama and pressed House Democratic leadership to move forward with a vote.
After he emerged from the House Republican Conference this morning and was asked whether House Democrats should have the opportunity to vote on various proposals, Boehner conceded that “the Majority makes all those decisions” but pushed for the Democratic leadership to enable members to vote on the clean Senate bill.
“I’m for the package. That much I can tell you,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “If I get a chance to vote on it, I’ll vote for it.”
Last night, after House Democrats met to caucus for nearly three hours behind closed doors, Rep. Louise Slaughter, the chair of the Rules Committee, told reporters that while no decisions are finalized yet, it is possible that there will be a number of floor votes on various rules containing various changes to the Senate bill.
“We’re not happy people,” Slaughter told reporters as she left the caucus.
Even if the alterations do not pass and are not implemented in final passage, this would effectively give House Democrats the opportunity to go on the record for an assortment of changes to the Senate bill, including a different estate tax rate, a longer unemployment insurance extension, and possibly a vote whether to include the upper-level income tax cut extension.
None of the possible changes to the Senate bill are expected to have enough support to pass, according to House sources, but multiple House Democrats told reporters last night that they hoped they would have an opportunity to make changes and send a corrected bill back to the Senate.
A senior Republican leadership aide said that as the Senate vote passes the bill, House Democrats should be mindful that the President negotiated the deal and is behind it, and they should get behind it too and pass the bill.
“House Democrats should stop playing games and bucking the will of their President unless they want their legacy vote to be a take hike on American families and small businesses,” the aide said. “It’s as if Speaker Pelosi and her gang still don't get it – although that's hardly a surprise.”
A vote on the package in the Senate is expected today at 1:00 P.M. If the Senate passes the bill by early this afternoon, the House could act on the tax package as soon as this evening.