Republicans Raise Taxes

From Holden:

Hoo-boy! Senate Republicans must be feeling the heat.

In just one day they voted to roll back President Lameduck’s tax cuts for the rich.

Facing a stalemate over one of President Bush’s top economic policy goals, the Senate Finance Committee yesterday gave up efforts to extend deep cuts to the tax rate on dividends and capital gains and approved a $60 billion tax measure largely devoted to hurricane relief and tax cuts with bipartisan appeal.

The measure, which could pass the Senate today, marks the latest in a string of legislative setbacks for Bush, who has repeatedly called on Congress to make his first-term tax cuts permanent and has taken particular pride in the 2003 dividends and capital gains tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2008.

Then they passed a windfall-profits tax on Big Oil.

In a sign of the political impact of soaring energy prices, the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee voted on Tuesday to impose a $5 billion tax next year on the nation’s biggest oil companies.

The measure amounts to a one-year windfall profits tax, a concept that most Republicans had until recently denounced as a discredited idea from the 1970s. It was added to a larger bill that would cut taxes by about $61 billion over the next five years.

Conservative Senate Republicans who support the oil industry bitterly protested the measure, noting that Congress had just approved billions in new tax breaks to encourage oil and gas exploration. But every Republican on the panel voted for the overall package, which passed the committee by 14-8 and which the full Senate is expected to take up today.