Brian Darling

Now, next week, members of Congress are going to have a chance to vote on what we call the Buffett Rule. And it’s simple: If you make more money -- more than $1 million a year, not if you have $1 million, but if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. If on the other hand, you make less than $250,000 a year -- like 98 percent of American families do -- your taxes shouldn’t go up.

One would think a former constitutional law professor would understand that this vote is pure political grandstanding. But perhaps the president thinks the American people aren’t smart enough to figure that out.

So, what happens if the Senate does pass the Whitehouse bill, as is? The House would be expected to Blue Slip it under the authority of Article 1, Section 7. A Blue Slip is the term used for the House objecting to a Senate bill for being a revenue measure. The House has Blue-Slipped numerous Senate-passed bills in the past. It doesn’t even require a vote.

Now, there are ways to get around this constitutional bar to tax measures originating in the Senate. One commonly used method is to take up a House passed tax bill, any House passed tax bill, and then use the Senate bill as a complete substitute. But Sen. Reid (D-NV) does not appear to be interested in making a serious run at getting this turkey passed.

What’s important to the liberals is the political theater, not the policy. They’re not really serious about passing the Buffet rule. They are only interested in using a Senate vote to create a talking point for the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign team.


Brian Darling

Brian Darling is a Senior Fellow in Government Studies at the Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHDarling