Blunt, McCaskill Spar as Senate Fails to Extend Tax Cuts

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate failed Wednesday to extend a tax cut worth about $1,000 for individuals. Both Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for not passing the bill.

Senator Claire McCaskill tweeted her frustration with Senate Republicans.

"@clairecmc: Only in Washington.Republicans in Senate are blocking our ability to vote on the Republican bill from House.Makes no sense."

But Missouri's Republican senator, Roy Blunt, tweeted later that the Democrats were to blame.

"@RoyBlunt: Disappointed the Dem majority blocked the #BBA (Balanced Budget Amendment). Will keep working w/my colleagues to help get our economy on track."

If lawmakers don't act before Dec. 31, families earning around $100,000 will have to pay about $1,000 more each year in taxes to the federal government. Most of the money will go to pay for Social Security.

Part of the stimulus from last year gave American's a two percent break from the tax, lowering the tax to 4.2 percent. That break will end in 17 days. If the tax goes back up, it will affect 160 million Americans.

McCaskill tweeted later, "@clairecmc: To be clear,the D leader asked consent to vote on the House R bill. The leader of the Rs objected. Please. Let's vote. Need to move forward."

Blunt tweeted his support of the Keystone XL Oil pipeline that Democrats object. "@RoyBlunt: On my way to the Senate floor to discuss the need for more American energy & my support for the #KXL Project. Tune in:"

The pipline is part of the tax cut legislation passed by the House yesterday.

The inability to agree stopped both parties from making progress on bills they want passed.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid tried to bring the tax-cut legislation to the Senate floor Wednesday, but was blocked by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wants the chamber to act first on a spending measure that would keep the government operating beyond Dec. 16.

The most significant division between Democrats and Republicans is how the tax cut should be paid for, either by spending cuts - supported by the Republicans, or a one percent tax increase on those earning more than $1 million a year- supported by Democrats.