Senate rejects GOP tax cuts in showdown with Dems

ALAN FRAM
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In this July 24, 2012, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a political strategy session, as from back left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., listen. The Senate is bracing for a tax-cut showdown that is all about Democrats and Republicans showing voters their differences over taxing the well-off while accusing each other of threatening to shove the government over a fiscal cliff. Senators planned to vote Wednesday, July 25 on a $250 billion Democratic bill that would extend expiring tax cuts next year for all but the highest earners. Republicans were forcing Reid to corral 60 votes for the proposal, which he does not have. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this July 24, 2012, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a political strategy session, as from back left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., listen. The Senate is bracing for a tax-cut showdown that is all about Democrats and Republicans showing voters their differences over taxing the well-off while accusing each other of threatening to shove the government over a fiscal cliff. Senators planned to vote Wednesday, July 25 on a $250 billion Democratic bill that would extend expiring tax cuts next year for all but the highest earners. Republicans were forcing Reid to corral 60 votes for the proposal, which he does not have. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has rejected a Republican measure renewing tax cuts for everyone next year, including the nation's highest earners.

The partisan 54-45 vote Wednesday came during a campaign season battle between the two parties over wideranging tax cuts that will expire in January without congressional action. Senators will vote shortly on a Democratic version that would deny the tax reductions in 2013 to individuals making over $200,000 yearly and couples earning at least $250,000.

Republicans said increasing taxes on the well-to-do would stifle job creation because many of those affected own businesses. Democrats said that argument was overblown and that the rich have to contribute to deficit-reduction efforts.

The White House says if the tax cuts are not renewed, families earning less than $250,000 would see tax increases averaging $1,600.