What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : H. Res. 161, providing for consideration of small-business tax bill under suspension of the rules/On agreeing to the resolution
 Who: All Members

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H. Res. 161, providing for consideration of small-business tax bill under suspension of the rules/On agreeing to the resolution
house Roll Call 101     Feb 16, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:

This vote determined whether a small-business tax relief bill would be taken up under suspension of the normal rules in the House. Suspension of the rules is saved for relatively noncontroversial legislation that is all but assured of passage. Suspending the rules means that the measure can't be amended and debate is limited to forty minutes on each side. Bills taken up under suspension of the normal House rules require a two-thirds majority for passage.

Republicans criticized Democrats for using the expedited procedure to move the bill quickly through the House, as doing so prevented Republicans from being able to offer so much as a procedural motion. Republicans were upset at the limited scope of the tax breaks and wanted a change to offer more expansive tax relief for small businesses.

Republicans were opposed to bringing up the measure under suspension of the rules, which permits expeditious passage, because of their underlying opposition to the minimum wage hike, which they said would hurt small businesses.

The small-business tax break package was actually part of an elaborate dance between the House, the Senate and the White House over a bill to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over the next two years. The House passed a minimum wage bill in January that fell short of the 60 votes necessary to end debate and pass Senate. Republicans in the Senate wanted to include amendments giving tax breaks to small businesses, which Republicans insist will be hard-hit by an increase in the minimum wage.

Since all bills dealing with revenue (which includes tax measures) are constitutionally required to originate in the House, the legislative process had to begin anew in that chamber. This small-business tax relief bill was understood in both chambers as the likely vehicle for a Senate-passed version of the legislation that would eventually include both a minimum wage hike and tax breaks for small businesses. Differences in the House and Senate's respective versions then would be worked out in conference committee.

By a strict party-line vote of 220-184 the House passed the rules package for the small business tax relief bill and thus made way for the legislation to be taken up expeditiously under suspension of the rules.

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