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The MN DFL delegation and the billionaire bail-out (updated)

by The Big E on December 8, 2010 · 7 comments

UPDATE: Oberstar’s statement, see below —

While I will never understand why capitulation always seems to be Obama’s first negotiation tactic, several members of Minnesota’s delegation have come out against his plan to continue the Bush tax cuts.  Both Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison have made strong statements.  I’m awaiting a statement from Tim Walz, but he voted correctly last Wednesday (& released a statement, too).

Sen. Al Franken doesn’t have a comment about Obama’s latest proposal yet as the Senate is busy impeaching a judge today.  However, based upon knowing Al and a recent video I’ve seen, I’m confident Al will be against giving the rich tax breaks they don’t need.  

I’m confident Sen. Klobuchar wouldn’t take a stand on this issue, but I called her office anyway.  She’s also on Judiciary, so she’s been a wee bit busy.  A staffer responded saying “she is reviewing the proposal.”

Here’s Betty’s opinion:

“This is a deal that will continue to explode the deficit while the rich get richer and struggling middle class families get crumbs,” McCollum said. “The Republicans successfully held unemployed Americans hostage to give even more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.”

Keith was just as forceful in a joint email statement with his Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ):

We call on our Congressional leaders in the House and Senate to hold firm on passing a middle class tax cut with no strings attached.  We also call on Congressional Republicans to stop using unemployed Americans as bargaining chips in exchange for another tax break for the wealthy.

Tax breaks for billionaires don’t create jobs. The George W. Bush Presidency and the Republican recession are proof of that.  Giving rich people more money just for being rich does nothing to help the economy, in fact, serves only to exacerbate our problems.  No amount of Republican rhetoric can change that fact.

We simply cannot afford to borrow another $700 billion to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who aren’t paying their fair share, especially when there are millions of Americans still looking for work.  Just 1 percent of that $700 billion would pay for almost 142,000 elementary school teachers for an entire year.  That money should be used to create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, and educate our children — not for the wealthy to buy more yachts.

We agree with the President that there is no time to delay – the recovery is fragile, and American families are hurting.  We need to make the right decisions right now to boost our economy.  The unemployment crisis is a harsh reality for millions of Americans and giving more money to the super rich won’t do anything to solve it.

This holiday season should be about supporting middle class Americans, not another taxpayer funded present for the wealthy.

This video I saw on MinnPost makes it pretty clear where Al stands:

It’s a great video and well worth watching … then again … when isn’t Al worth watching/listening to?  Hmmm?

I’ll post Al’s statement once I get it.

Here’s Tim’s statement about last Wednesday’s vote:

Today, Congressman Walz voted to cut taxes for middle class American taxpayers to help fuel our economic recovery.   H.R. 4853, the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, permanently extends the reduced individual income tax rates for all income under $200,000, heavily targeting middle-income workers.  Upper-income Americans will continue to pay these lower rates on the portion of their income under $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) as well.

“By cutting taxes for the middle-class, we put money into the pockets of small businesses and hard-working families who will spend it at the local grocery store or on fixing up their homes,” said Congressman Tim Walz. “Growing our economy and creating jobs will help us tackle the long-term national debt facing our country.”

The tax cuts of 2001 created a new 10-percent regular income tax bracket for a portion of taxable income that was previously taxed at 15 percent.  They also reduced the other regular income tax rates, which are set to expire December 31, 2010.  H.R. 4853 would permanently extend the 10%, 25% and 28% rate brackets.  It also permanently extends the 33% rate for income of $200,000 or less for single filers ($250,000 or less for joint filers). All Americans will benefit from this tax structure-for those making over $200,000, all income below that amount will be taxed at the lower levels as well. Additionally, it extends the child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, small business expensing, and ensures married couples do not pay more than they would if they were two individuals filing separately.


How rude of me to omit Jim Oberstar who is still in office.  Keewatinrose was gracious enough to provide a Quick Hit on this.  Jim had this to say:

“There are a lot of questions I will need to have addressed before I can decide if I will support a tax cut for millionaires that will cost more than the stimulus package which Republicans opposed so bitterly.

“Republicans held two million unemployed Americans hostage so they could carve out tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. I can’t justify continuing a tax break worth $100,000 a year for someone with an income of over a million dollars, while you are cutting off a $350 dollar a week unemployment benefit that is helping a hard working family.”

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