House floor vote on Obama-GOP tax package not expected until Thursday

House Democrats are not expected to bring the Obama administration’s contentious tax-cut package to the floor until Thursday, according to leadership aides. 

Democrats had agreed to a rule last week that allows the House to move legislation swiftly from the Rules Committee to the floor, which makes it possible for the House to hold a floor vote on a tax package Wednesday, the same day the Senate is expected to approve it. 

Assuming the Senate passes the bill early Wednesday afternoon, House leaders could fast-track the proposal through the Rules Committee later in the day, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the discussion. 

That would ready the bill for floor action and final passage late Wednesday afternoon or early Wednesday evening, the aide said.

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Democrats approved a rule last week that allows the House to consider any legislation approved by the Rules Committee the same day it is approved by Rules on the House floor through Dec. 18. Republicans refer to this as the “martial law” rule.

But leadership aides on Wednesday said they do not expect the House to vote on the package until Thursday. 

Liberal House Democrats have revolted against the tax package, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts on all incomes and allow family estates up to $10 million to be passed down tax-free. Many members of the caucus are calling on Democratic leaders to fight for changes to the bill, particularly to the estate tax provision.

After a two-hour caucus meeting Tuesday night, leadership emerged without a strategy moving forward, but indicated some form of the bill will hit the floor this week. 

“We're taking feedback from the caucus, and then we'll make our recommendations,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), assistant to the Speaker, said Tuesday night.

This story was updated at 1:18 p.m.

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