Breaking: Senate reaches cloture on tax cuts bill

The vote hasn’t been gaveled yet — Reid’s holding it open for several more hours to give stragglers a chance to get back to the Capitol after leaving for the weekend — but they’re already at 60 and switchers are unlikely. No surprises there: The Journal predicted yesterday that they’d end up with 65-70 votes, notwithstanding the growing tea-party backlash to the subsidies jammed in the bill. As of this writing, it’s actually 69-10, with nine of the 10 no’s coming from Democrats. (Fun fact: Kirsten Gillibrand, who attended the launch of the new centrist “No Labels” group today in NYC, is one of the no’s on this otherwise very centrist-y compromise.) Why are there more yeses than expected, with a shot at breaking 80? Because of this, presumably:

A slender 11 percent of those polled back all four of the deal’s primary tax provisions: an across-the-board extension of Bush-era tax cuts, additional jobless benefits, a payroll tax holiday and a $5 million threshold for inheritance taxes. Just 38 percent support even two of the components.

But put all four items together, and 69 percent of all Americans support the package. Large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike favor the agreement, which has drawn stiff opposition from some Democrats in the House. In the poll, 69 percent of liberal Democrats support the agreement, which Obama has called a framework for legislation.

Even when primary objections to the pact are mentioned – that it would add about $900 billion to the federal budget deficit and that it extends tax breaks to the wealthy – 62 percent of all those polled support the package.

That’s not the only poll showing heavy support among liberals; in Pew’s new one, lefty backing stands at 65 percent. That’s a double whammy of good news for The One, not just because it means he’s beating House Democrats in the court of public opinion even among the base but because the combo of the polls and the lopsided vote in the Senate will make it hard for Pelosi to push changes to the bill. Or, actually, does it make it easier? If the Senate vote was 60-40, she and the House leadership might be afraid to tinker with it lest the Senate coalition collapse. If she’s got a 15-vote cushion to play with, though, she can be more ambitious. It’ll be fun (and reminiscent of the first TARP vote in 2008) if she brings the Senate bill to the floor and it fails, thereby sparking a Wall Street panic, which in turn will spark a panic on the Hill, which in turn will lead to the House passing the bill on its second try. The presidential presser after the first vote would be riveting too. Imagine how angry Clinton will be!

Here’s video of Maverick passionately arguing that the new porkier version of the bill is a total betrayal of last month’s election. And that he’ll be voting for it anyway. Click the image to watch.