December 7, 2007 12:48 PM | | Bookmark and Share

On Thursday, December 6, Republicans in the Senate voted en masse against consideration of a bill (H.R. 3996) passed last month by the House of Representatives to provide relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and offset the cost by closing loopholes for extremely wealthy financial managers. Instead, Republican leaders demanded that the federal government borrow the $50 billion. They got their way later in the evening, when the chamber passed a bill simply extending AMT relief without paying for it.

This sets the stage for a standoff with the House, where Democratic leaders are adamant that no laws be enacted to increase the federal deficit, in keeping with the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules that were reinstated when the Democrats took control of Congress earlier this year. But in the Senate, because 60 votes are needed to pass most legislation, the Republicans were able to block the fiscally responsible approach even though it was supported by every member of the majority party.

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