Tax bill produces strange voting pattern

The most significant federal tax bill in years passed Congress, and produced strange political bedfellows.

Who would have imagined that conservative Tea Party star U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman would side with liberals Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum against a tax measure? It may have been just a little less of a surprise that conservative John Kline and liberal Jim Oberstar sided.

Minnesota’s senators, both Democrats, voted for the bill keeping the Bush-era tax cuts in place, although they held their noses while doing so. The House delegation split, and definitely not along party lines.

Voting for the Republican-President Barack Obama compromise were Republicans Kline and Erik Paulsen as well as Democrats Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Oberstar.

The House approved the bill 277-148 after senators voted 81-19 in favor of it.

One of the problems Bachmann saw in the bill was reinstatement of the estate tax, which many call a “death tax” because survivors must pay.

Bachmann Tweeted: “I voted against restoring the death tax, increasing deficit and blowing a bigger hole in the Social Security trust fund.”

“A lot of people are unhappy that the president punted on first down, and I’m one of them,” Sen. Al Franken wrote to supporters, adding that the vote was the hardest he has taken. “Extending the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy.”

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