House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered her own way to break the apparent stalemate over the so-called fiscal cliff -- by taking matters out of House Speaker John Boehner's hands. She pointed out Friday that the Senate already passed a bill in July that would accomplish President Barack Obama's goal by extending lower tax rates for the middle class but not the wealthy.Pelosi called on House Republican leadership to bring that legislation to the floor next week and threatened that if they do not schedule a vote on the Senate bill, Democrats will file what's known as a discharge petition on Tuesday to force a vote on the measure in her chamber. If Democrats successfully obtain 218 signatures on the discharge petition, it would automatically force the middle income tax cut bill to the floor for a vote.
"We believe that not [bringing the Senate bill to the floor] would be holding middle income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich," Pelosi said. "Tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations."
"This is really very important," she added, noting that the middle income tax cut extension is just one piece of what needs to be done before the holidays.