“A lot of people are unhappy that the President punted on first down, and I’m one of them” Sen. Al Franken said in an email to supporters this morning. He was referring to the big tax cut compromise. But, after expressing his unhappiness, Franken joined most Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans and voted to adopt the deal. House action awaits.
Like most in Washington, Franken concluded that the damage to the unemployed, middle-class taxpayers and the economic recovery would be too great if the deal wasn’t made, so he overcame his unhappiness with the two-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.
The “punt[ing] on first down” metaphor is pretty brutal, and clearly means that Obama didn’t try hard enough or long enough to get a better before paying the price that the Repubs demanded. By calling the metaphor “slightly borrowed,” I refer to a Politico piece pointing out that U.S. Rep. Anthoney Weiner had previously accused Obama of punting on third down.
Here’s the full text of the Franken email:
“A lot of people are unhappy that the President punted on first down, and I’m one of them. Extending the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy. It’s bad policy.
But for Minnesota’s middle class, struggling to get by in a tough economy, there’s a lot in this bill that will really help: tax cuts for working families, a payroll tax holiday, energy tax credits, and the extension of Recovery Act initiatives that are already making a difference.
And for the Minnesotans truly suffering right now—men, women, and children on the edge of economic disaster—the alternative is simply unacceptable. If we let Republicans block unemployment benefits, even temporarily, there will be a lot more pain for working families, a lot more homeless kids spending Christmas in a shelter or a car.
If this is the prelude of a permanent extension of the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy, we’re in big trouble. We’ll lose our ability to make the investments we need to grow our way out of long-term budget deficits: education, infrastructure, and research and development. And I am taking the President at his word that he will fight harder to put an end to these wasteful tax breaks in 2012 than he did in 2010.
This isn’t a great deal by any stretch of the imagination. But I got into this line of work because I wanted to stand up for Minnesota families trying to put food on the table and build a better life for their kids. And, for them, the only thing worse than a bad deal would be no deal at all. That’s why I voted yes yesterday—and why I will continue my fight for economic policies that create jobs, address our deficit problem, and build new opportunities for Minnesota.
All the best,