Senate Republicans have blocked two Democratic proposals that would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans except for the wealthiest earners.
According to media reports, Senators voted on two bills related to to tax cut extensions, which are set to expire on Dec. 31. The first was for individuals with an income less than $200,000 per year and married couples making less than $250,000. The second was for all tax filers with incomes of $1 million or less. Both failed 53-36, falling seven short of the votes needed to pass.
The Senate's vote came on Dec. 4, two days after the House of Representatives voted 234 to 188 to extend the cuts for families earning less than $250,000.
President Barack Obama responded to the Senate's decision by saying that a compromise between Democrats and Republicans is needed before the lame-duck session ends on Dec. 17. According to The Washington Times, Obama said that "no ordinary American" would pay more taxes in 2011.
FOX News reports that Obama, while still opposing tax breaks for top income earners, may be willing to make a deal if Republicans agree to extend unemployment benefits for another year. The GOP is hoping that negotiations with the President will lead to an extension for all Americans.
"I hope now that [the vote] is all over with, that there will be some resolution of this," Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the news provider. "Because the last thing we need to do is raise taxes during a fragile economic recovery."