Democrats Divided on Bush Tax Cuts - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Democrats Divided on Bush Tax Cuts

Red state Democrats appear to be growing skittish about letting the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire in an election year, according to this Wall Street Journal story. There were always going to be Democrats reluctant to let the tax cuts for the middle class expire — technically, even the Obama administration favors their retention — but some Democrats now want to keep the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) said in an interview Wednesday that Congress shouldn’t allow taxes on the wealthy to rise until the economy is on a sounder footing.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said through a spokesman that he also supported extending all the expiring tax cuts for now, adding that he wanted to offset the impact on federal deficits as much as possible.

They are the second and third Senate Democrats to come out publicly in recent days in favor of extending all the tax breaks for the time being. Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) made similar comments last week.

“As a general rule, you don’t want to be cutting spending or raising taxes in the midst of a downturn,” Mr. Conrad said. “We know that very soon we’ve got to pivot and focus on the deficit. But it probably is too soon to cut spending or raise taxes.”

Twelve Senate Democrats voted for the original Bush tax cuts in 2001, more than offsetting the defections by John McCain and Lincoln Chafee. Zell Miller was the only Democrat to support the 2003 tax cut package focusing on capital gains and dividends, the expiration of which could be an even larger economic disaster. Of course, if the Democrats don’t act directly to extend them all of the tax cuts will expire based on the rules of reconciliation.

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