GOP Needs Only 8 Votes To Continue All Bush Tax Cuts by Gregory Hilton

The Congressional Blue Dog Coalition today released a letter signed by 31 House Democrat which advocates extension of all the Bush era tax cuts which are scheduled to expire in January. The letter says the nation is facing the worst economic decline since the 1930’s Depression, and it urges caution in raising taxes during a recession. The conservative and moderate Democrats believe keeping all the tax cuts will help stimulate the economy and help small businesses. Some of the Blue Dogs want a temporary tax cut while others are advocating a permanent extension.
The Democratic leadership finally agreed six weeks ago to allow the middle class tax cuts to continue, but they do not want an extension for the upper brackets. A link to the full letter appears below, and it says:

While those in the highest income brackets comprise only two to three percent of American taxpayers, economists estimate that they are responsible for 25 percent of national consumer spending. As 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending, this is not the time to jeopardize further growth. In recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth. Given the continued fragility of our economy and slow pace of recovery, we share their concerns. We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term.

If the 31 Democrats now vote with the GOP, it means Republicans are only 8 votes short of a majority to extend all the cuts. Speaking for the Blue Dogs, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) told ABC News, “In the short run with our economy where it is right now, I don’t think we should be raising taxes. Extending the tax breaks will give a boost to small business owners, who make up one-third of upper-income taxpayers and are the the backbone of our economic recovery.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) quickly praised the Blue Dogs by saying:

We can’t let the people who’ve been hit the hardest by this recession, and who need to create the jobs that will get us out of it, foot the bill for the Democrats’ two-year adventure in expanded government. We can’t allow America’s job-creators to pay for Democrats’ out-of-control spending over the past two years any more than we can allow Main Street to pay for the greed of Wall Street. Wall Street pays for its own excesses — so should the administration and Democratic leaders.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) is also demanding an up-or-down vote on a complete extension of all the Bush tax cuts, and says “The Speaker should pledge to the American people…that there will be an honest, up-or-down vote on stopping all of the coming tax hikes. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) says:

I support extending all of the expiring tax cuts until the nation’s economy is in better shape, and perhaps longer, because raising taxes in a weak economy could impair recovery. Continuing all of the tax cuts could provide certainty for families and businesses. Today, many businesses are sitting on cash because of uncertainty, which is holding back economic development across America.

The Blue Dog letter was signed by these 31 Democrats:
Rep. Jim Matheson (UT)
Rep. Gary Peters (MI)
Rep. Melissa Bean (IL)
Rep. Glenn Nye (VA)
Rep. Michael McMahon (NY)
Rep. Lincoln Davis (TN)
Rep. John Salazar (CO)
Rep. Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Rep. Dan Boren (IN)
Rep. Jim Himes (CT)
Rep. John Barrow (GA)
Rep. Ron Klein (FL)
Rep. Zack Space (OH)
Rep. Jason Altmire (PA)
Rep. Allen Boyd (FL)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (IN)
Rep. Jim Cooper (TN)
Rep. Frank Kratovil (MD)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC)
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Rep. Jim Marshall (GA)
Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA)
Rep. Mike Ross (AR)
Rep. Rick Boucher (VA)
Rep. Harry Teague (NM)
Rep. Travis Childers (MS)
Rep. Walt Minnick (ID)
Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ)
Rep. Jim Costa (CA)
The complete letter can be read at:

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