On Monday, the full Senate handed President Obama a defeat by not being able to produce 60 votes to bring what has been termed the "Buffett Rule," which would increase taxes on seven-figure incomes, to the Senate floor. But what Obama took away was a hammer big enough to hit Mitt Romney on his reluctance to disclose years of tax returns and answer questions about complicated investment strategies.
"It could be called the Buffett rule. It could be called the Romney rule," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Monday. "I don't think he's going to want to have this present inequity remain when he is an example of it."
Unlike the House, the U.S. Senate has a filibuster rule that requires 60 of the chamber's 100 members to consent before a bill can be brought to the floor. What made the idea of taxing the nation's most successful citizens even more challenging was not every Democrat was willing to support a tax increase in a volatile election year, especially Sen. Mark Prior (D-Ark.) who voted with the Republicans to block the bill.
Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the Capitol building, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia is bringing forth a proposal that would give businesses with 500 or fewer employees a 20 percent tax break. Even if the GOP controlled body musters up the necessary votes, the proposal will never reach President Obama's desk and even if it did, he mostly likely would not sign it.
Yet the stalemate on how to move the nation's economy forward will likely have to wait for the November elections.
In the meantime, President Obama is going after his likely Republican opponent by insisting he produce at least a decade of tax returns and explain why a Swiss bank account is a necessary tool for a wealthy American who wants to be president.
Foreign bank accounts aside, Romney has other issues clothed in secrecy that Obama senior campaign strategist David Axelrod will make a habit of discussing.
In addition to the tax returns and foreign accounts, a couple of other issues may include the names of those "bundling" campaign donations and why Romney's senior staff left the Massachusetts governor's office with a pile of computer hard drives.
"There was a show called, 'I've Got A Secret.' Increasingly, I think that would be the appropriate title for the Romney campaign," Axelrod told Politico on Monday. "There are central issues, but this is a disturbing one and it goes to that question of, like, 'Who is this guy? What does he stand for? What does he believe? What do we know about him?'"
Not to be outdone, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the Democrats' proposal to raise money from millionaires a "gimmick" that would not even scratch the surface of the federal deficit. He says Romney would instead focus on job creation.
"By wasting so much time on this political gimmick that even Democrats admit won't solve our larger problems, it's shown the president is more interested in misleading people than he is in leading," McConnell also told reporters.