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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 12:50

US Schumer: 'Hope We Can Come To An Agreement' By End Of Year

--Key Democratic Senator Taunts GOP To Allow Direct Tax Cut Votes
--Sen. Schumer: GOP Tax Plan Is A 'Dagger At The Heart' of Middle Class

WASHINGTON (MNI) - Senetor Chuck Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, Tuesday scorched Republicans for advocating a tax cut plan that he said is both unfair and fiscally irresponsible.

At a briefing with two other Senate Democrats, Schumer said the GOP tax plan is a "dagger at the heart of the middle class."

He said the Senate GOP plan would extend Bush era tax cuts but would not extend three other middle class tax cuts that are set to expire: a college tuition tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and a child care tax credit.

Schumer said he hopes that a bipartisan fiscal accord can be reached by the end of the year but indicated that he hopes the agreement is one that embraces Democratic proposals.

"We hope we can come to an agrement on that," Schumer said, adding that he hopes "we can come together" at the end of the year on fiscal matters.

Schumer acknowledged that tackling America's fiscal challenges will require additional steps beyond passing middle class tax cuts.

"Of course more needs to be done," Schumer said.

Schumer challenged Senate Republican leaders to allow for up or down votes on the Democratic and Republican tax plans this week with a simple majority vote being allowed to prevail and not 60 votes.

"This should be a majority vote proposal," Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday the Senate will hold a procedural vote Wednesday related to Democratic and Republican tax cut plans.

Reid said the vote Wednesday will be on a motion to formally consider a Democratic plan to renew those Bush era tax cuts for a year for those families making $250,000 or less.

Reid also said he would like "up or down majority votes" on both the Democratic and Republican tax cut plans. The GOP plan is to extend all Bush era tax cuts for a year.

House Speaker John Boehner has said the House will vote next week to extend the Bush era tax cuts for a year.

The debate on tax cuts is a critical aspect of the battle over the coming fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff refers to the convergence of three fiscal events later this year or early next year: the expiration of Bush era tax cuts, across-the-board government spending cuts, and increasing the statutory debt ceiling.

** MNI Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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