Santorum says no to tax cut deal; Daniels gives lukewarm approval
December 16th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
3 years ago

Santorum says no to tax cut deal; Daniels gives lukewarm approval

Washington (CNN) - Add Rick Santorum to the growing list of possible 2012 GOP presidential candidates who have come out against the tax cut compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republican leaders.

The former Pennsylvania senator says in a statement that "this is clearly a difficult vote where conservatives can honestly end up on either side. I accept Republican assertions that this was the best deal they could get now, and that it would be damaging to this struggling economy to let the biggest tax increase in history go into effect now. However, I think on balance the right vote is a no vote."

Santorum, who put out his statement Wednesday prior to a swing through Iowa, adds that "I believe Republicans could get a longer term extension that would increase certainty and thus stimulate the economy more. This bill also wrongly includes additional government spending with no off-sets to pay for that spending, which is a direct contradiction to pledges to reduce spending not increase it. Finally, Republicans should keep their pledge to do negotiations openly and pass separate bills on taxes and spending, instead of one big omnibus bill."

Earlier this week Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and 2008 GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came out against the tax cut deal, and last week former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin voiced opposition. All three people are weighing possible runs for the White House.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is also considering a presidential bid, took to the Senate floor Tuesday to defend the agreement and used his speech to take a veiled shot at potential rivals for the GOP presidential nomination who have criticized the deal.

And Wednesday Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels also weighed in, in favor of the deal.

While saying there is "plenty not to like" in the deal, Daniels went on to say, "I'm not sure they (Republicans) had a better option given the position of Speaker Pelosi and the position of the president. At least keep taxes from going up and then maybe have a go at changing and fixing some of these things in a new and different Congress," the two term governor who's considering a presidential bid, told Fort Wayne television station WANE.

According to a Pew Research Center poll released Monday, 62 percent of Republicans say they approve of the tax cut compromise.

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on the compromise. The Senate Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the proposal, which includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans. Without congressional action, those tax cut rates are set to expire December 31.

The compromise would also extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by two percentage points for a year, raise the estate tax exemption to up to $5 million, with a 35 percent tax rate for inheritances above that level, and continue a series of other tax breaks.

While in Iowa Wednesday, Santorum also told the Des Moines Register that "I would have voted no because I think it breaks faith with what the American public in very loud terms said in November, which is, 'We want you guys to cut spending.'"

Santorum's Iowa visit follows recent trips to New Hampshire and South Carolina. All three states play prominent roles in the road to the White House. Iowa's caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus season. New Hampshire hold's the nation's first primary and South Carolina holds the first southern primary.

The former two-term senator lost his 2006 re-election bid by 18 points and was largely out of public view since then, except for appearances on Fox News. But Santorum made numerous visits across the campaign trail in the months leading up to this year's midterm elections, lending a helping hand to fellow Republicans running for office.

Earlier this fall, Santorum announced the formation of a political action committee in Iowa, the latest sign the Pennsylvania Republican is getting serious about a White House bid in 2012.

If he eventually decides next year to make a bid for the presidency, Santorum could face a potentially crowded field of candidates, including a string of better funded opponents with larger national political operations.

Recent polls indicate that Santorum registers in the low single digits among Republican voters when it comes to the choice for their party's next presidential nominee. Still, due in part to his strong opposition to abortion rights, Santorum remains popular with many socially conservative voters who have long had an influential role in the GOP primary process.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Mitch Daniels • Rick Santorum • Taxes
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Bill NY

    This coming from someone who is not worrying how to make ends meet. How very, very smug of him. Methinks this Santorum belongs in a sanitarium.

    December 16, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Ken, AZ

    This is idiotic. Santorum would like to have a longer-term or permanent extension of tax cuts, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, without offsets to pay for them but objects to other things in the deal because there are no offsets. This can only make sense to another conservative POLITICIAN.

    December 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. mesamick

    You voted this double taklin' backwards lookin' political grifter into office PA...Now deal with him. Tax cuts for the top 2%ers and near zero tax rates on the estates left to the trust fund babies – Ah, deficet reductions at there finest – Snark Snark.

    December 16, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Jim

    Double-speak and back-biting personified. He presses for the tax cut extension, but then, when it becomes a compromise, he speaks against it. Typical Republican "No bend, only cause others to bend" bs attitude.

    December 16, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Santorum is right. It is bad for the country.

    December 16, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. anthony

    Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 using the reconciliation rule, which required only a majority vote. During the reconciliation process, senators can block any bill that significantly increases the deficit beyond a ten year window. This rule, the Byrd rule, can be avoided if the bill is limited to 10 years, so that even if the bill creates deficit within 10 years the Byrd Rule is not triggered. Republicans passed the tax cuts knowing that the bill will create deficit (and in fact the yearly surplus at the end of Clinton's term immediately disappeared, replaced by a deficit), so they put in a provision in the bill that limited the bill to ten years, to make sure that Democrats could not block the bill by invoking the Byrd rule. So when Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts in 2001, they also passed a Bush tax hike that was scheduled to take effect in ten years. If the Bush tax hike is the biggest tax increase in history, Republicans have only themselves to blame.

    December 16, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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