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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nelson and Rubio's votes reflect party divide over payroll tax cuts



rubionelsonsotu.jpgThe U.S. Senate tonight performed its latest act of political theater, taking up two bills to extend the payroll tax cut -- and killing both.

Democrats brought their plan up first. It called for extending the current tax cut, but paying for it with a surcharge on millionaires. It died on a largely party-line vote. Florida Democrat Bill Nelson voted yes; Republican Marco Rubio voted no.

Republicans acted next. Their plan would extend the cut but paid for it by cutting federal jobs and freezing pay. It died, too, though not as many Republicans jump on board as Democrats did for their version. Rubio was for it; Nelson was not.

Now comes the real work. Trying to find a solution that both sides can agree on before the cuts expire Dec. 31. But first a break: The Senate left town and won't be back until Monday afternoon.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 5:19pm]


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