The extension of the Bush era tax cuts — plus some other holiday trimmings — is on its way to President Barack Obama with the approval of three of four members of the New Hampshire delegation.
In the Senate’s 81-19 vote to approve the measure, both Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen voted for the extension measure that included the extension of unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans and a one-year reduction in the payroll tax.
In the House’s 277-148 vote last night, Democrat Paul Hodes from the 2nd Congressional District voted yes while Democrat Carol Shea-Porter of the 1st District voted no.
Shaheen had expressed some misgivings about the tax cut extensions because they applied to the richest Americans — individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.
But she saw a greater need.
“Middle class families and small businesses across the state have told me that they need tax relief in this still-fragile economy, and I am hopeful that the middle-class tax cuts, the extension of unemployment benefits, and the targeted tax cuts for businesses will help stimulate economic growth and create much needed jobs,” she said in an emailed statement.
“I am disappointed that this package includes tax cuts for the wealthy that our country cannot afford given our unsustainable deficits and the need to reduce our debt. However, I have decided to support this compromise to continue the economic recovery and keep middle class taxes low.”
Hodes had said he too didn’t like the tax cut extensions for the wealthy but acknowledged an intractable Republican position on the matter.
“I have been as outspoken as anyone about opposing the tax cuts for the wealthy. I have also been clear and forceful about the need for long term deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility. But it is clear that with Republican leaders insisting on protecting these cuts, and since they are able to stop everything else in its tracks, we must have a compromise,” he said in an emailed statement.
“Our nation’s growing deficit requires us to make difficult choices in order to bring our country’s fiscal house in order. But we must give help to the 2 million unemployed Americans who are about to lose assistance. We must give tax cuts to the middle class and small businesses to help them and to help get our economy moving. We must create jobs. This deal achieves these vital goals, saving typical middle class families thousands of dollars in taxes and creating over a million jobs according to top economists. We should now come together and pass it.”
Shea-Porter was firm in her oppositions to the extensions, decrying what she saw as hypocrisy, given GOP opposition to growing the debt.
“What’s stunning to me is the way that people who claimed to care about the debt have pushed to provide this tax cut for millionaires, all the time knowing that every cent of this $900 billion would be borrowed,” said Shea-Porter. “Politicians beat their chests and wailed during campaign season about the debt, all the while planning to borrow the money and to stick the middle class with the bill.”