House Approves Tax Deal, Virginia Delegation Splits

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    Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan tax deal negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders in Congress.  The vote was 277-148, with Democrats splitting 139-112 and Republicans 138-36 in favor. Here’s the split in the Virginia delegation:

    Ayes (7)

    Rick Boucher (9th)

    Eric Cantor (7th)

    Gerry Connolly (11th)

    Bob Goodlatte (6th)

    Glenn Nye (2nd)

    Tom Perriello (5th)


    Rob Wittman (1st)

    Nays (4)

    Randy Forbes (4th)

    Jim Moran (8th)

    Bobby Scott (3rd)


    Frank Wolf (10th)

    According to Jim Moran, “This is the wrong thing to do, easy thing to do. Everybody loves tax cuts. Let’s just be Santa Claus.” In contrast, Gerry Connolly argued, “If we don’t pass the extension of the tax cuts now, every American will see smaller paychecks and higher taxes in January.” For his part, Eric Cantor declared, “The choice is to act now or impose the onset of a $3.8 trillion tax increase that will crush the fragile recovery and cost tens of thousands of jobs nationally. This is an indisputable fact and an unacceptable result.”

    Personally, I have (deeply) mixed feelings about this: on the one hand, there was probably no choice realistically speaking except to do this deal; on the other hand, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is horribly bad policy; on the other hand, if taxes had gone up on January 1 for working and middle class Americans, it could have dealt a blow to the fragile economic recovery; on the other hand, this deal will blow up the debt by nearly a trillion dollars, making a mockery of the deficit commission’s recommendations; on the other hand, this was a major victory for President Obama and boosted his chances for reelection, maybe big time; on the other hand, I hate some of the add-ons (e.g., ethanol subsidies) in this deal; on the other hand…we could go on all day with this “making of sausage.” That’s Congress, I guess. So, what do you think?

    UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer argues that this deal practically guarantees Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I definitely think it’s a big, bipartisan victory for Obama.

    UPDATE #2: Also, check out the vote on an amendment to raise the estate tax rate and lower the threshold. I’m glad to see Representatives Moran, Perriello and Scott voting the right way – “aye” – on this one. I’m sorry to see all Republicans, plus three Democrats (Boucher, Connolly, Nye), voting the wrong way.