The Republicans decided to call Senate Majority Leader’s bluff and allow majority votes on the two tax cut extension plans – the Democratic plan obviously nixing a good portion of the top tier tax cuts.  The Republicans do have an ace-in-the-hole with Mitch McConnel since any tax bill is technically supposed to be passed in the House first.  But the Democrats want to push him to resort to that to kill the extension of middle class tax cuts.

The Republican bill just went down, with at least one Republican voting against it.

I think the vote on the Democratic bill is underway.

But the real news is that the Republicans are allowing the vote to happen – just like the olden days when 51 votes was a majority.  Remember that?

The vote is expected to be close.  The drama was pitched a while ago when CSPAN microphones could pick up the sirens outside – alerting everyone that VP Biden had arrived to preside over the votes.  He could conceivably cast the deciding vote.

Addendum:  Joe Lieberman a “no” vote on the Democratic bill.  Thank God he’s leaving!

Collins and Brown were the two Republicans voting against the Hatch bill.  Probably we should expect them to vote no on the Democratic bill as well.

Reid is reminding the Republicans of their Norquist pledge.  I haven’t heard whether he granted Republicans special dispensation on this bill as he did with the payroll tax.

Second addendum:  Harry Reid is mad.  He said “poppycock.”

Third addendum:  Brown and Lieberman, “no,” but some major bloggers are counting 51 votes for the bill, even without Biden’s help.  Tester?  Nelson?

Fourth addendum:  Webb votes no, but it passes!  51 to 48!

Wow!  The Democrats just did something!  Pinch me!

If the Republicans block in at the House over the technicality, that will be the subject of Democratic Party ads from here to November, and it could deliver the House back to them.  Otherwise, the Democrats just simultaneously maintained lower taxes for 98 percent and reduced the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars!

Give Reid credit where it’s due!  He outplayed McConnell.  Don’t know if the game was chess or poker, but it was played well!