KY delegation has partisan split on tax cuts but united on censure of Rangel

12/03/2010 08:41 AM

Kentucky’s six representatives split on Thursday afternoon over legislation to extend tax cuts to individuals who make less than $200,000 a year and couples who earn less than $250,000.

Democratic Reps. Ben Chandler of Versailles and John Yarmuth of Louisville voted with most of the Democrats and three Republicans to keep those tax cuts — passed during George W. Bush’s administration. But the four Kentucky Republicans sided with the GOP because Republicans are pushing to extend all of the tax cuts, including those for the highest earners.

Republicans have said that some small businesses that file their taxes as individuals would see their tax bills go up.

“The last thing we need to do is increase taxes on our nation’s job creators, which would be the result of this legislation,” Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green said in a statement after the vote. “It is irresponsible to waste time on politically-motivated votes while congressional leaders are currently negotiating a bipartisan compromise that will prevent the looming tax increases.”

U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, a Hebron Republican, asked rhetorically in a three-minute floor speech about the tax cuts, “what would job creators do?”

“Under the current tax policy, we had growth,” Davis said. “If we move in this direction, we will see a repeat of the failures of the (Franklin) Roosevelt administration in 1937 causing a growth double-dip.”

Yarmuth, however, said in a floor speech that the top earners benefited most from the tax cuts and now should help the economy recover. He noted that the top 1% of earners account for 24% of the nation’s income.

The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are set to expire Dec. 31. Congress has reconvened to address unfinished business, including the tax cuts, before the end of the year and before the new congress with the newly-elected Republican majority in the House convenes in January.

But the tax cut bill the House passed yesterday is unlikely to win approval in the Senate where Republicans have vowed to block it. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein offers his take on how Democrats squandered their chance to pass their preferred way of extending only the portion of the tax cuts to the middle class.

Chandler said in an interview on Pure Politics he didn’t expect Congress to come to an agreement on the tax cuts during this lame duck session.

Also on Thursday, Kentucky’s delegation in the U.S. House voted together with the majority to censure New York Congressman Charlie Rangel by a 333-79 vote. A House ethics committee found 11 ethics violations against Rangel last month.

- Ryan Alessi

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