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!

    • martinlomasney

      This guy has lost his moorings.

      BTW what did all that preening and uncertainty that final weekend get for his district?  Was he trading favors or just trying to get face time of Fox?

      He’s in a D+2 distict and he acting like Rick Boucher who’s in a R+!!.

    • blue bronc

      During the last couple of weeks the Bush (destroy the middle class and give the ultra-rich everything) tax cuts expiration have been floating out – a lot.  Why? Probably as trial balloons by the WH as a way to gauging how much resistance from the general public there would be to extend not letting them expire.

      We should be seeing a few more of these electeds like Connelly start crying about how the rich don’t deserve to pay for anything.  

      This is why I keep saying “I will believe it when I see it”. There are many months, weeks and days before the hoped for expiration occurs. But, there are going to be a lot of these people putting out floaters hoping to build a doubt about the expiration.

    • kindler

      I will vote for and support Connolly over Fimian.

      That said, I’ve been frustrated that most of the times in the last two years when I’ve gotten a robocall from him, or seen him quoted in the paper, it’s been to disagree with the president and brag about how he took a vote to limit taxes or spending or some such thing.

      I think that on this he’s misreading his district.  He may be paying too much attention to all the media blather about the Tea Party and not enough to the reality of what it takes to motivate the progressive voters and foot solders that he will need to win a Democratic district.  

      With all the talk about the deficit (which was completely ignored during 8 years of Bush), why not get more revenue from those who can afford it?  With low interest rates and low inflation, the wealthy can afford it, and frankly, overly low taxes on the rich was one of the reasons that we had so much money flowing into the real estate, Wall Street and previous bubbles.  Let’s put this money to productive use before it blows up the next bubble.

    • Mike1987

      I think he will easily win re-election, this faux nod to the teabagger crowd concerns me.

    • libra

      multimillionaires are in his district?