WASHINGTON — Democrats and Republicans are forcing votes in Congress this coming week on competing tax plans that affect millionaires and smaller businesses, and they know the proposals are doomed from the start.
But that doesn't matter to either party.
Their efforts, including a Senate vote Monday on President Barack Obama's "Buffett rule" proposal to impose a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, are more about pontificating than legislating, aimed at voters in November's congressional and presidential elections.
Neutral economists say neither bill would do much for the economy or job creation. Some political professionals are equally unimpressed with their potential impact on voters.
Undaunted, congressional leaders hope to maximize public attention by timing both roll calls with an eye to Tuesday, the annual deadline for filing income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service. The upcoming votes probably are just a start.
Senate Democrats later this year may hold additional votes tied to the "Buffett rule," using his idea of a minimum 30 percent tax on top earners to raise money for proposal to create jobs and keep student loan rates from rising.
With trillions in tax cuts dating from President George W. Bush set to expire in January, House and Senate leaders also are considering campaign-season votes on extending popular parts of those reductions, such as preventing the $1,000 child tax credit from being cut in half.
In addition, Obama and his all-but-certain GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, will spend much of the campaign promoting their tax blueprints as antidotes to an economy still struggling to generate jobs.
Besides raising taxes on the wealthy, Obama would boost levies on many U.S. companies that do business overseas, and on the oil and gas industry. The new money would help lower individual and corporate rates and reduce federal deficits.