Senate Republicans voted on Wednesday to block Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) millionaire tax resolution from further floor proceedings.
That 51-49 vote likely spells the end for the measure, which does not carry the force of law and calls for higher taxes on people earning $1 million or more in a year. The measure required 60 votes to proceed.
Since Reid offered the resolution, it has become a favorite punching bag for Republicans who have derided it as a waste of the Senate's time.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) roasted Democratic leadership over the resolution last Wednesday, claiming it was a cheap stunt.
“The leadership in the Senate offered a nonbinding resolution designed solely to score some cheap political points that will jazz up the activist left to demagogic class warfare against individuals with high incomes,” Hatch warned. “I guarantee you, if we raise taxes, my friends on the other side will spend every dime of it.”
Republicans did, however, vote twice to advance the resolution, but some played along in the hopes of hijacking the opinion of the Senate with extraneous amendments.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) called the resolution a "sham" and a publicity piece and said he did not support it, but indicated last week he was looking forward to the amendment process.
"When it passes tonight we will have permission to add amendments to the sense of the Senate resolution, maybe,” he said. “In other words we can amend the opinion of the Senate that cannot be law. How long will we amend and debate an opinion?”
Reid quickly stamped out any opportunities for offering non-germane amendments by deploying a procedural tactic know as "filling-the-tree," which prevented Republicans from tacking amendments onto the resolution without his permission.
Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) were the only two Democrats to join Republicans in opposing the measure on Wednesday.