Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday predicted that refusing to extend expiring tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans would greatly benefit Democrats.

"It's a big winner," he said on MSNBC. "For 30 years, Republicans have won the tax debate by conflating middle-class tax cuts with tax cuts for the wealthy. Those days are now over. We have made a clean break. We've said middle class people deserve a tax break. But it would be better to put the money for wealthy people instead of in a tax break into deficit reduction.

"That's a big winner for us, and the reason Mitch McConnell let us have a vote was because he was afraid that if we only voted on our bill that we would lose. It's the first time that Republicans are on the defensive on taxes. I think that's going to continue. This is a water shed day that we'll see reflected over the next several years."

Democrats in the Senate on Wednesday voted to extend Bush-era tax cuts for American families that make less than $250,000 per year, but allow the tax cuts for those making more to expire. Democrats said 98 percent of Americans would continue to have lowered taxes, while only the top 2 percent of Americans would see their taxes increase.

The bill is expected to die in the Republican-led House of Representatives. Republicans insist that the tax breaks should be extended for all Americans regardless of income.

"When average middle-class people see that Democrats are looking out for them and are actually for tax breaks for them while Republicans are saying 'no, we have other priorities that are much higher, tax breaks for the wealthy or whatever,' we win," Schumer said.

Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:

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