Senate GOP tries to spring trap on taxes

Senate Republicans voted unexpectedly Thursday to advance a resolution stating that millionaires should “make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit-reduction effort.”

Republicans joined Democrats in a 74-22 vote to advance a non-binding resolution that would express the "sense of the Senate" that Americans who earn $1 million or more per year ought to pay a greater share of taxes. The resolution required 60 votes to proceed.

Republicans said they voted for the Democratic resolution so they could debate the broader issue of raising taxes to reduce the $1.6 trillion national deficit. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellKey Senate Republican offers dim outlook for Trump budget Senate votes to confirm US ambassador to China Overnight Finance: What to expect from Trump budget | Plan calls for 0M in Medicaid cuts | Senate confirms ambassador to China | Roadblocks ahead for infrastructure plan MORE (Ky.) said Thursday that he opposes the resolution but relishes the opportunity to force vulnerable Democratic incumbents to take tough votes on raising taxes.

“I oppose the resolution, but I’ll vote to move to it so we can finally have a real debate about ... the economic crisis we face,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? Racial representation: A solution to inequality in the People’s House MORE (D-Nev.), however, warned that he would limit the Republican messaging amendments.

“If this means a free-for-all and offering amendments on abortion and war fighting and all this kind of stuff, we can’t do that,” Reid said. 

Reid introduced the "Sense of the Senate on Shared Sacrifice" bill last week. It contains no specific recommendations on how much taxes should be raised on high-income earners, and is simply a recommendation that those taxpayers pay more.

Pete Kasperowicz and Josiah Ryan contribued.