Today, the Senate voted to extend tax cuts to middle class Americans permanently while ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. However, there were two tax plans voted on, one a Republican plan that would have made all the tax cuts permanent. Mark Pryor was the only Democrat to vote for the Republican plan:
The Senate today voted down a tax plan crafted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) by a vote of 45-54. The plan would have extended all of the Bush tax cuts — including those on income in excess of $250,000 — while eliminating tax credits that benefit 20 million working families. Due to an agreement with Democrats, the bill needed a simple majority, rather than a filibuster-proof supermajority, to pass. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) was the lone Democrat to vote in favor of the plan, while Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Scott Brown (R-MA) voted against it.
He also voted for the Democratic plan that passed, but between this and opposing the Buffett Rule, Pryor is making it pretty clear that he thinks the wealthiest Americans should continue to get the free ride they’ve been enjoying on the backs of the 99%, despite his protests to the contrary. But how does he justify today’s double vote?
We need a serious, bipartisan effort to reform our tax code. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that election year politics will not allow such progress to happen this year. I don’t believe the American people should be punished through higher taxes because Republicans and Democrats can’t work out a sensible solution on tax reform. Both measures before the Senate extend tax cuts to middle class families and patch the alternative minimum tax. We should extend these cuts as a bridge to comprehensive tax reform.
As I have said many times in the past, the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission lays out a comprehensive plan to address our fiscal challenges. While I don’t agree with every element, we should use this plan as a blueprint to connect our tax and spending policies to deficit reduction.
Pryor says we need real reform, but votes for a bill that will keep things exactly the way they are now before voting for the good bill which he seems to bemoan. Okay…Then, on top of that, he calls for a revival of the defunct Simpson-Bowles Plan. You know, the Cat Food Commission that would have gutted Social Security and Medicare? Pryor is quick to say he doesn’t agree with all of that draconian legislation, but I am curious as to which parts.
Again, I really hope Pryor sees the writing on the wall in 2014 and retires. He’s not going to rally his base to his defense and he will be targeted by at least one well funded Republican with lots of corporate money to draw on. He’s going the route of Blanche Lincoln, and we’re better off without him in so many ways.