Pelosi will try to force House vote to extend middle-class tax rates

Chris Moody

WASHINGTON—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will try to force a vote on the House floor to extend current tax rates for the middle class next week if Republicans do not act, the California Democrat announced on Friday.

During a press conference on Capitol Hill, Pelosi called on House Republicans, who control the chamber, to hold another floor vote on whether to extend current tax rates for individuals who earn $200,000 or less and families making $250,000 or less. If they don't, Pelosi vowed to file a "discharge petition" that would force a vote if 218 House members sign it, which is unlikely.

The bill Pelosi wants to see put to a vote is identical to a measure passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate in July that extends the rates for middle-income earners for one year. House Republicans responded by rejecting the bill and passing their own measure that extends current tax rates for all income brackets.

"We're calling upon the Republican leadership in the House to bring this legislation to the floor next week. We believe that not doing that would be holding middle-income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich. Tax cuts for the rich, which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, keeping mountains of debt for generations," Pelosi said. "To that end ... if it is not scheduled, then on Tuesday we will introduce a discharge petition."

Discharge petitions, which allow individual members of Congress to put a bill to a vote without committee or leadership approval, are rarely successful. In this case, Pelosi would need Republican support. But when asked if any Republicans had signaled that they would sign a discharge petition to force a vote, Pelosi responded, "No."

Pelosi said she wanted the bill passed so Congress will have more time to negotiate broader tax reform in 2013.