GOP, Dems trade barbs over votes on tax cuts, 9/11

John Boehner, second from left, is shown speaking in Virginia on Sept. 23 with, left to right, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy.
REUTERS/Larry Downing
John Boehner, second from left, is shown speaking in Virginia on Sept. 23 with, left to right, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy.

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader John Boehner managed to turn a routine vote to adjourn into a test vote on a full extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, turning a sure-thing vote into a nailbiter and prompting a volley of attacks against Democrats they hope to unseat this fall like Tim Walz.

Meanwhile, Democrats took aim at Republicans over a vote on health care for 9/11 first responders and survivors — saying they “deserve better” than the no vote most Republicans gave them.

Wednesday was the last day for House votes until after the election. The House is scheduled to reconvene on Nov. 15.

In a surprise move, Boehner cast the vote to adjourn as one on taxes, imploring colleagues not to adjourn before having an up-or-down vote on the expiring Bush tax cuts. Republicans, including all three Minnesota Republicans, want the entirety of the tax cuts extended, while most Democrats have advocated for letting tax breaks expire for those making more than $250,000 a year. The difference between the two plans is about $700 billion.

The House was eventually able to adjourn — by a margin of just one vote.

“Walz and the rest of the Democrats in Congress have in effect cast a vote for higher taxes by refusing to take up extension of these tax cuts — and they hope no one will notice,” said Randy Demmer’s Campaign Manager Jason Flohrs. “Voters will hold them accountable for their inaction. They are raising taxes in the worst economic environment in a generation. That’s a job killer for any small businesses planning for growth.”

“I can understand why Representative Demmer would be upset that Congress adjourned without giving millionaires like himself a tax break,” shot back Sara Severs, spokeswoman for Walz. “Tim Walz voted for the largest tax cut for middle class families in history and has continued to advocate for middle class tax relief. Apparently, Representative Demmer only cares about the debt until it gets in the way of tax breaks for himself.”

9/11 as an election issue
Democrats shot back, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer telling reporters that “when we return, we will continue fighting for middle class families as we have throughout this Congress, and that includes extending middle class tax cuts.”

“While Republicans want to hold middle class tax cuts hostage to give tax breaks to the wealthiest that will add $700 billion to the deficit, we will make sure working families do not see a tax increase next year.”

Democrats weren’t going to let Republicans leave without a tough vote of their own, however, and that came in the form of a $7.4 billion bill to give 9/11 first responders, cleanup workers and others living near the attack area free health care.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time in sending out a news release blasting Reps. Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen for voting against it (I didn’t get one for Rep. John Kline, but he joined all but 17 of his GOP colleagues in voting no).

DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said it was “outrageous” that the Republicans “would talk about supporting the heroes of 9/11 but then vote against helping to treat those who risked their own lives and health while trying to save others.”

Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, said Democrats were miscasting the opposition.

“While House Republicans obviously support helping the heroes of 9/11, the Democratic Leaders added extraneous items and an unnecessary tax hike to the bill,” Steel said.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/30/2010 - 09:50 am.

    “John Boehner, second from left, is shown speaking …”

    HA! Good one, Derek. The speaker’s election is not a foregone conclusion. Bachmann’s the one.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/30/2010 - 10:08 am.

    As you watch the Republican political kabuki theater wherein the Rebs have stood in the way of everything the Democrats sought to do and nearly unanimously (often completely unanimously) voted against everything the Democrats did, even after the Dems altered their bills to meet Reb demands,…

    While those same Republicans after using B.S. procedural games to stand in the way of everything, including what used to be routine political appointments made by every president, now intend to campaign against the “do nothing” Democrats (as if those Rebs had no part in the fact that nothing happened),…

    Just keep in mind that if you think the economy is bad now (and it is), even after massive numbers of your dollars were spent, dollars that will have to be paid back to US bond holders, not to mention those from the rest of the world,…

    (and don’t forget that whatever you want to call it: “stimulus” or “bailout” was necessitated because our economy had been so incompetently managed and so poorly maintained by both the private sector and the Republican-led government, that its foundations were crumbling into rubble) be aware that without continuing government action, things could get a whole lot worse and it could happen very fast.

    Those crumbling foundations of our economy were, undeniably, brought to you by thirty years (starting with Ronnie Raygun) of Republicans working diligently to quietly carry out a war on the Middle Class by stripping the middle class of it’s physical and financial assets in order to enrich themselves, crowned by six years of outrageously irresponsible spending by Bushco, not to mention borrowing massively, especially from the Central Bank of China in order to pay for tax cuts for Bush’s wealthiest friends.

    Like those identity theft commercials where someone steals your identity, then goes on a huge spending spree in your name, expecting, all the while, that THEY won’t be the ones who have to pay for it (you or your descendants will), the Republicans and Bushco went on a huge spending spree while giving themselves and their corporate friends massive tax cuts ensuring that the Middle Class, together with their children and grandchildren, (all of whom they were robbing blind) would be left holding the bag.

    Of course they bought up weasel news to provide continuous propaganda to convince you that what was happening was nothing short of magical and wonderful while the resulting economic crisis, a crisis which they created, was the result of the laziness and bad attitudes of “liberals,” “socialists,” “the government:” anything and anyone by they, themselves and their wealthiest friends.

    If the Tea Party folks actually knew the truth, they’d be marching on Wall Street with torches and pitch forks, not in Washington.

    So, if you want the economy to go from a slow and disturbingly “jobless” recovery straight into the complete collapse of the Middle Class and watch the plague of locusts that are the Rich Republicans of today flee for other nations after they’ve finished stripping our nation – you, your children and your grandchildren – of every asset they can get their hands on, just take John Boehner and Mitch McConnell seriously, dump the Democrats and watch your world, your nation, and your life come COMPLETELY apart.

    Finally, if you think both parties have been corrupted by big money contributors (which, allowing for a few exceptions, you’d be right about), you need to start attending your precinct caucus meetings and start pushing for a Constitutional Amendment to require nothing but equalized public financing and strict time limits for all campaigns for President/Vice President and Congress.

    Without publicly financed, time limited campaigns, any new folks we send to Washington from any new political parties or movements we try to create, will, almost inevitably, become just as corrupted by their need to keep their big money campaign contributors happy, as the politicians of today are.

  3. Submitted by Rich Crose on 09/30/2010 - 11:57 am.

    Has anyone noticed that the Republican’s suits and ties are gone?

    What happened to the conservative uniform? The finely tailored Armani’s? The $400 color-coordinated silk ties? Gold cuff-links and monogrammed shirts? You know, the everyday wear of the Tea Party?

    Glad I sold my Brooks Brothers stock.

  4. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/30/2010 - 12:10 pm.

    I think the people who are funding the t-party–like the Koch brothers and murdoch–know the truth, although most of the people who are bamboozled into coming out to rally do not. It’s just another example of big money taking over our political process.
    And, yes, we the people do have the numbers and the strength and maybe to change this system. As Gregg says, start by getting involved in local politics and go to caucuses and vote in primaries, and get elected the very best people at the first levels of politically elected–the ones you support because of policies. They are the ones who eventually move up.
    I also think: write everybody who has any kind of influence: your elected officials, your newspaper, even the unelected. I don’t know whether it does any good or not, but I frequently email Pres. Obama and I just emailed Eric Holder about the FBI raids and subpoenaing the co-chair of WAMM.
    MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. MAKE YOURSELF HEARD in any way you can.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/30/2010 - 02:42 pm.

    Just think: you guys had a massive majority in the house, the majority in the senate and the White House.

    And you blew it. Got nothing done worthy of even campaigning on. And now it’s all going to be gone in a matter of weeks. The people want your guys out of there NOW before you do any more damage.

    No offense but, “HA ha!”

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/30/2010 - 05:56 pm.

    RE: #5…

    I rest my case.

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/30/2010 - 09:55 pm.

    Extending tax cuts will add to America’s fiscal woes. Moreover, even as they vow to shrink the government, the Republicans also promise to spare its most expensive parts—Social Security, Medicare and defense—from any cuts. There are few clues as to what Republicans might replace the Democrats’ health-care reforms with, and therefore whether they could save the government any money that way. They focus on mom-tested, kid-approved pablum at the expense of stuff that will have any meaningful long-term effects on the size and scope of the federal government.

    The CBO said that both a full and a partial extension, although beneficial in the short run, would do the economy more harm than good in the long term by adding to the national debt. Earlier this year the CBO examined 11 different forms of fiscal stimulus and concluded that extending unemployment benefits—a measure that the Democrats favor—would provide the most benefit to the economy; extending the tax cuts would provide the least.

  8. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/01/2010 - 06:51 am.

    Something is wrong with the comments section for this article.

    When I click on “show comments,” the previous comments do not show and the box for writing a comment moves to the right-hand side of the page.

    Anyhow: Comment

    It would be better for America for all the Bush tax cuts (the greatest job killers of all time) to expire than to let the Republicans lead the way toward letting those for the wealthy remain in place for five more minutes.

    They are one of the reasons for the aggregation of our national wealth to the top few percent, the fall into poverty by millions of Americans and the huge deficit left behind by George Bush.

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