Count New Mexico’s congressional delegation – with one exception – as being among those in Congress who remain disappointed in the apparently doomed tax deal that President Obama struck with Republicans.
House Democrats today refused to even consider the legislation. I asked New Mexico’s congressional members today what it would take to earn their support for a tax deal – simply eliminating the extension for Americans making more than $250,000 or something more? Not surprisingly, some members were short on specifics, but it’s clear most still aren’t on board with the current proposal. Only Rep. Harry Teague, a Democrat who lost his re-election bid in November, supports the present proposal.
Here’s are their responses:
Sen. Tom Udall (statement from his communications director):
“Sen. Udall continues to believe that to hold unemployment benefits and middle class tax cuts as ransom for a giveaway on the estate tax and extra taxpayer-funded bonuses for millionaires and billionaires is wrong,” said Udall spokeswoman Marissa Padilla. “For the sake of the middle class families who need help the most, Sen. Udall compromised and voted over the weekend to extend tax cuts to those making up to $1 million dollars. That compromise failed to go far enough in the eyes of every Senate Republican and he has serious concerns with the deal currently on the table.
Rep. Martin Heinrich:
“I am certainly not inclined to support this package as it stands,” Rep. Martin Heinrich said in an emailed statement. “It simply represents too much debt for tax policies that benefit too few and have not proven to be stimulative. I am particularly hopeful that the truly excessive estate tax provisions be revisited and that any package include an extension of the renewable energy credits that have a proven track record of job creation.”
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan:
“We need to get our economy moving again and you don’t do that by holding unemployment benefits hostage to a $700 billion giveaway to millionaires and billionaires. Middle class families and small businesses are hurting right now and tough choices must be made to help New Mexicans and reduce our nation’s deficit. We need to boost our economy, help the unemployed, and protect Social Security, but prioritizing tax cuts for the top 2 percent over the middle class does not accomplish any of this.”
Sen. Jeff Bingaman:
“There are all kinds of provisions being discussed — both favorable and unfavorable — and I’m not in the position right now to say adding or subtracting one or two would guarantee my vote. I will need to see a proposal and understand the fiscal impact in the short term and long term before deciding whether I can vote for it,” Bingaman said.
Rep. Harry Teague:
Constituents across southern New Mexico have shared with me their concerns about raising taxes at a time when the economy is still recovering. I agree with them and that’s why I support the President’s proposal to extend tax breaks for the middle-class, tax relief for small businesses and workers, and employment insurance for the jobless.
The bipartisan compromise negotiated by the President is not perfect, but allowing middle-class tax breaks to expire while we are still in this fragile economy will obstruct job creation and slow our economic growth.
I do have serious concerns about the long-term impact of extending the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans, but it is important to note that those extensions are temporary and just one part of a larger package that includes maintaining tax cuts for the middle class, a new payroll tax cut for working Americans, key tax cuts for small businesses to spur investment and job creation, an earned income and child credit for hardworking families, a higher education credit to help families send their kids to college, and an extension of unemployment insurance for Americans seeking work.
The bottom line is that extending these tax cuts is good for working families and for the small businesses that are creating jobs and putting New Mexicans back to work.
I call on the President and our Congressional leadership to put aside partisan politics and keep working towards the most fiscally responsible path that ensures we do not raise taxes on the American small businesses and workers that are the key to our economic recover.