Senate Democrats failed twice on Saturday to pass legislation that would have eliminated existing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Needing sixty votes on each measure, a move to eliminate tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000 failed by a vote of 53-36. All Senate Republicans and four Democrats and one Independent voted against the measure. The amendment would also have extended the recently expired unemployment benefits. On another vote of 53-37, a second proposal failed that would have set the tax cut threshold at one million dollars. Again, all Republicans votes against as did four Democrats and one Independent. The tax cuts related to these votes expire on December 31. Senate Republican leaders have made clear their intent to block all bills during the lame duck session until the tax cut and FY 2011 appropriations issues are resolved.