Your Congress at work: raising taxes, dodging pork vote

Profiles in Courage, Capitol Hill edition: The Senate today voted to reject an attempt to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, while at the same time delaying a vote on a pork moratorium to attempt to hide the results. Harry Reid wants to ensure that the press has gone to sleep when the DeMint amendment comes to the floor:

Senate Republicans complained Thursday that a high-profile vote on a temporary earmark ban would be pushed back until late in the night, limiting press coverage and possibly preventing presidential candidates from voting on the measure.

According to the office of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Republicans asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule the vote earlier in the day so that their presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), could cast a vote before returning to the campaign trail. But Reid declined, saying the vote wouldn’t occur until around midnight Thursday, if not later, according to DeMint aides.

“The porkers are throwing the kitchen sink at the earmark ban, using every trick to stop it,” said Wesley Denton, a spokesman for DeMint. “The white-knuckled grip on their pork would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Americans won’t be fooled.”

DeMint is being absurd. Didn’t he listen to Harry Reid when the Senate Majority Leader explained that the Founding Fathers sacrificed their all so that legislators could rob the Treasury to protect their incumbencies? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson probably also deeply believed that government business should be done in the dark, out of the oppressive eyes of the citizenry, or at least that’s what Reid will argue next.

Reid had other ideas in mind for today, which was to ensure that Americans will get a hefty tax increase in 2010:

The Senate on Thursday gave a sweeping endorsement to some of President Bush’s tax cuts but rejected renewing others as all three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to cast key votes on the budget.

The chamber voted 52-47 to reject a move by Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., to extend Bush’s tax cuts for middle- and higher-income taxpayers, investors and people inheriting businesses and big estates. …

Obama and Clinton both promise to reverse Bush’s tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers, but the Democratic budget they’ll be voting for would allow income tax rates to go up on individuals making as little as $31,850 and couples earning $63,700 or more [emphasis mine].

Tax the wealthy — as defined by 1908 levels? Obama and Clinton want to raise taxes on the working class in order to fund their proposed expansions of annual federal spending, $287 billion and $212 billion respectively. The expiration of the Bush tax cuts will be felt all along the spectrum of earners, but the concern for the Democrats is finding all of the money it will take to fulfill their campaign spending promises.

Harry Reid wants people to ignore what will happen in the middle of the night and to protect his party’s presidential candidates from having to cast a vote on pork. I’d say they’ve done enough damage already today.