Gerry Connolly Pulls a Harris Miller on Bush Tax Cuts?

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    I agree with NLS that, although I didn’t support Gerry Connolly for the Democratic nomination in 2008, overall he “has mostly cast his votes the right way for the federal spending that we needed on the stimulus, health care, etc.” I would also add “the environment” to that list. Overall, I’ve been very happy with Connolly’s votes since he took office in January 2009. Unfortunately, not in this case.

    Prince William County, Va. – Rep. Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly, D-11th, and a handful of other Democrats have broken with their party to oppose letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

    Connolly said the economy isn’t stable enough yet.

    “My reasons are fairly straight forward. I think we’re at a very fragile point in the economic recovery. It’s not as robust as we need it to be, and that means that timing is very important,” Connolly said. “Allowing the tax cuts to expire on any income group right now, I think, would be counter productive and could do damage to a fragile economy.”

    To put it mildly, I strongly disagree with this. In fact, we’re facing a $1.4 TRILLION deficit in 2010 and 2011 in large part because of the Bush tax cuts, largely for the wealthiest Americans. Continuing those tax cuts for the middle class, in the middle of a recession, is one thing. But continuing them for the wealthiest of the wealthy? That’s why people vote for Republicans, to lavish riches on the top 1% while exploding the budget deficit and forcing painful choices on programs benefiting working Americans. That’s not why we vote for – let alone phone bank, knock doors, etc. – for Democrats.  

    Some of you may recall that in 2006, one of the main things I bashed Harris Miller about was that he told me he wouldn’t even repeal the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% wealthiest Americans. That was the end of it for me with Harris Miller. So, let’s just say I’m not thrilled with this move by Gerry Connolly, although obviously I’m not going to support Tea Partier/Kook-inelli BFF Keith Fimian. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Connolly has been excellent on many other issues I care about.  But this one really pisses me off, especially given that Connolly has been so concerned about the deficit that he even “sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi… signed by 13 other freshman Democrats urging the use of a ‘substantial portion’ of unspent or repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to reduce the federal deficit.” Yet now he’s willing to blow a huge hole in the federal deficit for years to come, in order to reward a few thousands voters (or, more to the point, donors) in the 11th CD? Lame.

    UPDATE: Connolly adds later in the article that he “wouldn’t be perpetually opposed to letting the tax cuts expire,” just “Not now.” I still disagree. We need to start dealing with the deficit by not renewing unwise tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans.  If not now, when? If not representatives like Gerry Connolly, who?

    UPDATE #2: The White House is exactly right on this, “forc[ing] Republicans to defend tax breaks for a tiny, wealthy minority and expose GOP hypocrisy on budget deficits.”  Good, don’t back down on this, White House!