Senate moves closer to tax rate vote

The next step will be a vote to proceed to the bill, S. 3412, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act.

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As usual, it will take 60 votes to proceed to the bill, providing another test of whether Senate Republicans will allow the bill to advance.

The procedural vote will likely take place Wednesday, but could come sooner if the two parties are able to agree on the rules for considering the bill — such as whether any GOP amendments will be allowed, and how many.

S. 3412 would extend current tax rates for people earning less than $250,000 for one-year, but allow rates to increase for the rest. It would also set a top rate of 20 percent for capital gains and dividends.

Republicans have their own plan, the Tax Hike Prevention Act introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), which would extend the Bush-era tax rates for all income levels.

Republican blocked numerous Democratic bills this month and whether that trend will end this week is unclear.

— This story was updated at 9:55 p.m.