WHEELING - Rep. David B. McKinley maintains that the House can't act on a Senate tax bill because the Constitution requires revenue-producing measures to originate in the House.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blamed Republicans - especially House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio - Thursday for failing to take up the Senate's bill regarding the tax cuts. It would extend the cuts for families and small businesses with incomes lower than $250,000 a year and eliminate the break for those who earn more. All the cuts are set to expire this year if no action is taken.
But Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution states: "All Bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." McKinley interprets this passage to mean that tax-related measures like SB 3412 cannot have roots in the Senate.
"I am distressed with Harry Reid for insisting the Senate has passed a bill, and that the House should act, when there is none," McKinley said. "The Senate clerk has not released it because they can't. It's just political posturing from Harry Reid because it can't be released - it's unconstitutional. ... The House can't act on it."
And the Senate hasn't acted on tax cut-related legislation passed by the House, McKinley said. The most recent of these bills - "Plan B" proposed by Boehner - would have retained the tax breaks for those earning less than $1 million annually.
The Obama administration had opposed "Plan B," saying it would not have generated enough revenue.
"The bill originating in the Senate does not meet these constitutional criteria, and it has not left the Senate chamber," McKinley said. "Surely the Senate leadership is aware that this bill is being held in the Senate because it is unconstitutional.
"The bill was merely a futile act of political posturing and obstructionism," he said.