Jim Moran: “I could not in good conscience” vote for Bush tax cuts extension

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    From Rep. Moran’s office, here’s his statement on why he voted today against extending the Bush tax cuts to those making less than $250,000.  The bill passed the House by a 234-188 vote, with 3 Republicans voting “aye” and 20 Democrats – including Virginians Bobby Scott and  Jim Moran – voting “nay.” Fascinating. My own opinion: we can’t afford any of the Bush tax cuts permanently (they add $4 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years), and they were a horrible idea from the git-go. However, I believe we should extend them for the next year or two for the working and middle class (under $75,000 or so?) as we work our way out of the Republican Great Recession. With that, here’s Jim Moran’s statement.

    Today, the House voted to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts on incomes under $250,000. At a cost of three trillion dollars, I could not in good conscience vote for the permanent extension of a tax structure so fiscally unsustainable.

    I opposed the Bush tax plan when it originally came before Congress in 2001 because I feared that it would help turn the budget surplus he inherited from President Clinton into large budget deficits. It did. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were designed with a sunset provision because even anti-tax zealots realized that if made permanent, they would have a ruinous long-term effect on the federal budget.  

    We should allow the Bush tax cuts to expire as designed, both those for people making under $250,000 and those earning up to one million and beyond. Failing to do so would add $3.7 trillion to our current $13 trillion in national debt. With their expiration, we would return our nation to the tax structure that existed during the budget surpluses and economic growth of the Clinton years.

    When the Bush plan was first proposed in 2001, the great cost of those tax cuts was sold to the public as a means of generating economic growth. That has proven to be false. The decade that followed the 2001 tax cuts featured the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Nor did lower taxes increase employment. Work-force participation fell in 2001 and has never returned to the record level set in 2000 – before the tax cuts took effect.

    As these irresponsible tax cuts are set to expire, we are again being asked to surrender our fiscal future for the promise of illusory short-term economic growth. It was not the right course in 2001; it’s not the right course today.

    The seriousness of the budgetary situation requires that we make difficult choices in order to secure our nation’s fiscal future. The expiration of the Bush tax program is one of those choices.

    • From Virginia — Glenn Nye, Rick Boucher, Gerry Connolly, and Tom Perriello all voted “aye.”

    • See here for more interesting tidbits, including that Connolly “voted with the vast majority of his fellow Democrats on Thursday to approve a bill that would extend middle-class tax cuts, hours after the Northern Virginia lawmaker opposed his party on a procedural vote.”  Also, “Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) voted against both the bill and the procedural question — because he believes all of the tax cuts should expire — while Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) opposed the bill but supported his party on the earlier vote.”

    • normanva

      I agree that extending the tax cuts for ONLY the middle class until we have more time to get out of this economic mess is a good idea.  I have absolutely nothing against the wealthy but I strongly oppose extending tax cuts for them.  Just emailed both Webb and Warner, hope it does some good.

    • Jim B

      Don’t think well get back to the Clinton surplus anytime soon. People in the under 250k are not getting any raises to speak of and may just be on the verge of losing their jobs. We could pay for this by getting out of the middle east.

    • We’re borrowing 100% of these tax cuts. If people really cared about fiscal sanity, we’d be debating a short-term extension of the middle class cuts, not indefinite middle class cuts & short-term cuts for the rich. The Obama administration has let the GOP set the terms of the debate. As usual.