Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), whom Democrats had been aggressively courting as a key vote to get the tax extenders passed, just said she'd vote no on the bill. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has just called for a vote on the bill at 5:14 p.m.
"It didn't have to be this way," Snowe said on the Senate floor. "I certainly laid out a blueprint ... to passing a responsible (package).
"A lot of these provisions were just dumped in there," she said, adding that new taxes in the bill are too high for the small business community to support. Small businesses want the tax extenders passed but "they don't want this bill at any cost."
Instead of the "jobs, jobs, jobs" Democrats have promised, she said Congress was focused on "taxes, taxes, taxes" and "spending, spending, spending." Snowe expressed her frustration she'd had a small business tax relief package since March and has been repeatedly promised action was forthcoming.
And she said the Medicare payroll tax in the healthcare reform law should have been used to give physicians a payment update for 10 years or more.