Republicans in the U.S. Senate Thursday blocked a bill sponsored by Democrats to provide additional tax breaks to small businesses that hire new workers, amid a procedural debate over how and when the Senate should vote on a broader proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.
GOP senators objected to a move by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to prevent votes on amendments to the measure. Reid acted as the two parties could not agree exactly how to go about using the bill to vote on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Republicans favor extending the tax cuts, first enacted in 2001, for all income levels. President Obama has proposed extending them only for income less than $250,000, and using the higher tax revenue collected from higher incomes to help close the deficit.
The small business tax cut bill died on 53 to 44 vote--it needed 60 votes to move ahead--amid bickering between the parties over which was more anxious to hold an immediate vote on the Bush tax cut issue.