Suspense-filled (not!) Senate vote on Bush tax cuts

The Senate’s Saturday showdown over renewing the Bush-era tax cuts unfolded with no surprises, except perhaps that the chamber actually held such a rare weekend session.

Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to end the debate on their two tax cut proposals-one to renew only the tax cuts for those making under $250,000 and a second to renew breaks for those making under $1 million.

Connecticut’s two Senators split on the issue; retiring Sen. Chris Dodd, a Democrat, voted with his party in favor of both, while Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, voted against each proposal, as did most Republicans.

Earlier in the week, Connecticut’s five Democratic House members all voted in favor of that chamber’s tax cut bill, which would let the breaks for those making over $250,000 expire at the end of the year, while renewing the middle and lower tier ones.

The “yes” tally included Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, who had he said favored renewing the top-tier breaks as well as the lower tier ones. Himes asked Democratic leaders to bring up the broader GOP-favored bill (a futile request), but said he voted for the more limited Democratic version because some tax cuts are better than none.

“Some members said I want all or nothing,” he told Fox News. “I wasn’t in that camp.”

In the end, as soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner, D-Ohio, so aptly noted earlier this week, none of these votes mattered since Democrats knew going into these votes that they didn’t have the support needed to send their proposals to the president. In the meantime, the real action continues to be closed-door negotiations between White House officials and congressional leaders over a temporary extension of all breaks, with some possible bones thrown to Democrats.