By Jay Heflin - 09/23/10 06:28 PM EDT
The lawmakers met for lunch to discussion the issue, but by tabling the decision it appears unlikely a vote will occur before the election.
"Still working on it," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill) told reporters.
Senate Democrats appear to resist a vote on an extension before the election because no matter what the proposal contains they fear Republicans will use it against them.
They fear Republicans will bill a vote to extend only the middle-class tax cuts as a strike against small businesses that pay higher rates.
Meanwhile, a vote to extend all the tax cuts could be viewed as Democrats bending to the will of Republicans, who have been calling for an all-out extension for months.
With no clear plan for the tax cuts, it is uncertain if Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will introduce legislation on the matter.
Baucus was expected to present a bill that permanently extends the middle-class tax cuts. It was also likely to address outstanding issues pertaining to the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and taxes on investment.