The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee stepped up its efforts to take back the House over the weekend, with the release of a series of web videos demonizing 23 House Republicans for a planned vote this week to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
Although the Senate last week approved a Democratic-sponsored bill that would extend those tax rates only to families with incomes below $250,000 a year, the legislation is expected to stall in the Republican-controlled House. In fact, the House GOP will introduce an alternative measure this week that would extend those tax cuts to all Americans through 2013, a move that is expected to cost about $80 billion more than the Democratic plan, according to an estimate from Citizens for Tax Justice.
The DCCC videos mock the idea of extending those tax breaks to the nation's most affluent citizens at a time when the Republican Party is constantly calling for less government spending.
"So Republicans want to give you, the millionaire, another tax break -- all while charging seniors $6,000 more for Medicare," the Web ads say, as images of private jets and mansions flash across the screen, followed by pictures of middle-class Americans hard at work. "This guy? Her? They don't need it. They'll just buy groceries and pay the mortgage."
With the passage of the so-called Bush tax cuts, implemented through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, the United States' marginal tax rates were significantly lowered and divided into six brackets: 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 35 percent. Prior to 2001, the marginal tax rates were 15 percent, 28 percent, 31 percent, 36 percent and 39.6 percent.
Some vulnerable House Democrats have indicated they will cross the aisle this week to cast a vote for the Republican proposal. Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana told The Hill last week that they will vote to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, while a third, Henry Cuellar of Texas, also said he was leaning toward the GOP bill.
The Hill reports a handful of other Democrats facing a tough reelection, including Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Ron Barber of Arizona, may also vote for the Republican plan.