September 14th, 2010
06:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Hill Hallways: A middle class tax cut too controversial

Editors note: Watch for more real time dispatches from the hallways on Capitol Hill as CNN's correspondents and producers cover the machinations of Congress. As always, the CNN Political Ticker is your source for up-to-the-minute political news- now even more so.

5:47 p.m. – California Rep. Laura Richardson is a rank and file Democrat who says she agrees with her leadership and the president that Congress should only vote to extend tax cuts for the middle class. But, she disagrees with plans to take that vote before the election, saying it's too fraught with controversy and potentially hurtful to many of her colleagues in tough races.

I ran into her in the hallway outside of the Speaker's office. She said "I would not suspect we would have a vote before we leave for the election."

Richardson is in a seat that is considered safe, but said she recognizes taking any vote on tax cuts is "going to take an awful lot of massaging at both ends in pulling people over."

I asked if the bottom line is that she thinks it's too controversial for a lot of Democrats in this election year?

"Honestly yes," Richardson replied.

She was the second person in a matter of minutes I talked to in that hallway who said they think the most important Democratic goal during the brief three week session should be to "do no harm," and only voting to extend middle class tax cuts but not tax cuts for wealthier Americans could harm some embattled Democrats in conservative districts.

The tax cuts do not expire until the end of the year, so Congress still has time after the election to act in the so-called lame duck session.

Filed under: Hill Hallways • issues • Taxes
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. jeff, alabama

    Hey, I'm middle class and I don't think a tax cut for the middle
    class is controversial at all.

    September 14, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. johnRJ08

    Another "no guts" Democrat.

    September 14, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. rdepontb

    Another wimpy Democratic whine! Ms. Richardson, you are _supposed_ to stand up for what you believe is right for your constituents-that's why you were elected. Do not let the Republican's ads and right-wing radio twits deter you from carrying out what you know is the right thing to do.

    If you colleagues try to force you to postpone what is right-do you really want them as colleagues? Do they deserve the right to represent their own constituents? Shouldn't you band together on what's right and do it??

    September 14, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Sally

    If Dems had any guts, they would force this vote NOW. The 3% of the population whose tax rates will change are not going to swing any elections. Personally, I would have more respect Congress if they would just dump all those Bush tax cuts, as well as the new ones. We are hurting. States are cutting jobs, cutting services, cutting teachers. How is that helping anyone? It is fine to say that government is too big, but what is a new teacher supposed to do when her district runs short of funds and lays her off? Start a small business? Right. Think people. Every time you want to cut something, that is someone's livelihood.

    September 14, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Keith in Austin

    So in other words, Democrats don't have the kahunas to back the middle class until AFTER the elections... Priceless!

    September 14, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Patriot

    Why are the democrats so bad at politics!? How is it controversial to taxes for every American on the first $250K they make?! Everyone gets a tax cut. Those making over $250K get a cut on the first $250K they make. C'mon Dems! Get your head out of your butt!

    September 14, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. jim

    So Laura Richardson believes that we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class.But,explain that with the reality that they were opposed by most of the dems when proposed by Bush because at that time they were said he was cutting taxes for the rich . I guess at that time if you were middle class than dems thought you were rich.Now it's back to class warfare. , rich against poor.And why would it be controlversal to take a vote before Nov.If indeed Obama favors it and dems control Congress.After all didn't dems push through healthcare reform.

    September 14, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Debbie

    Funny, Dana Bash title: CNN Senior Congressional Correspondant but hardly non-paritisan or unbiased asks one Democrat and the point is to infer (or propagandize) that all Dems and Congress think the tax cut for the middle class is too controversial? Or is it that Bash is trying to push her POV that to hold Bush to his promise that the tax cuts for the wealthy would end just isn't something the wealthy and GOP are willing to give up? Remember this issue was pushed as a 2001/2003 "jobs" bill. Give tax cuts to the wealthy and they will create jobs! Well the evidence is clear on that. It was Reaganomics (top to trickle down) one more time. And one more time it didn't trickle down.

    September 14, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. virgil leonard

    sounds to me like the Dems who think that this is too controversial should try thinking about the people they serve instead of their damn job.

    September 14, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Cynthia

    I think the American people have the right to know who the Republicans represent. They have always been about the rich and powerful. PERIOD. People are fools if they think otherwise. They always play the moral issues card to trick people into voting for them and voting against their own self interest. Amazing!

    September 14, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Robert Martinez

    Typical political cowardice in the face of the enemy of protecting career before principle.

    September 14, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. NCMike

    Being a moral relativist means never having to admit you're a hypocrite.

    September 14, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. mmw

    Another example of the government playing games and being dishonest

    September 14, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. La Piovra

    There was the mouse that roared, and now there is the lion that squeaks.

    September 14, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Steve in Denver

    Ms. Richardson:

    It might not be the safest thing to do, but you were elected to lead, not to do the safe thing. If the democrats had any fortitude, you all would have done a lot more to put issues on the table and stand together, and let the republicans be shown clearly as the party with no ideas.

    Grow some fortitude or get the f out!

    September 14, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Charles W. Skinner

    If the Democrat controlled Congress even THINKS about proposing a tax bill in the next few weeks, they will lose even MORE seats as the American People get even MORE ticked off at them for RAISING taxes. It will be EPIC to see Harry Reid lose by more than 20 points if he even discusses it.

    September 14, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. King

    The cannot get a tax cut. They will take money from the economy and invest it over seas for more gains much like what theyre doing right now. Leaving the economy with less money. They need to be forced to put money into the ecnomy to spur growth.

    September 14, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Clwyd

    Yes, the bush tax cuts have added up to $7,000,000,000,000. in debt. They were passed without any replacement funding! Add to that number the $3,000,000,000,000 for the darn wars and you come up with $10 trillion of the $14 trillion debt directly falling into the hands of bush and the republicans. Aren't they the ones saying that the debt and deficit are so bad? Well!

    September 14, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Rick Reid

    Of course it is. Why would anyone want to help the one's that give and
    pay the most in this country. It seems that the middle always gets the shaft when it comes to tax cuts or anything else for that matter.

    While the rich get richer...yeah isn't that wonderful!!!!

    Let the middle class pay for all those million dollars salaries, let the middle pay for all the tax cuts the rich, let the middle class pay for all those wonderful insurance companie while the Government employees get the best health care in world and a lot of us middle class people can't afford health insurance. It just makes may day.

    And all thest Tea Party people, and the media and rich go around cutting anyone who supports the middle class. It makes me so proud to be an American!!!

    September 14, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. King

    THey say jobs will if you raise taxes on the rich during a recession. I said balony. This is a capilistic society which call for supply demand. If money is not in the ecomy how people going to get money to demand goods. And if your going tax cut business how thats going to creat demand. You need money in the people hand to creat demand to buy from the business which creat supply then they hire people give them money they creat demand again. But it all start with demand so stop letting the gop and stop taking money out the economy and banking over seas for better interest rates.

    September 14, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    In other words, the Dems have as a matter of policy a determination to gouge as much money as possible from the American people, but they just don't want to have to make a public vote to that effect.

    September 14, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |