Iowa’s U.S. Senators split their votes on the tax cut package which cleared the senate Wednesday. Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, voted for the measure, but Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, voted no.
Harkin objects to extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. “At a time when the wealthy are already enjoying a huge surge in income, even as middle class incomes are stagnant, it is simply obscene to give another tax cut to the top two percent,” Harkin said during a speech on the senate floor.
“Let me say what should be painfully obvious for this new bonanza for the rich: they don’t need it and we can’t afford it and it will not help the economy.”
Harkin supported provisions in the bill that will extend unemployment benefits, as well as tax credits for biofuels. But Harkin argued the income tax cuts in the bill would make “income inequality…even worse” in America, and other tax breaks in the bill would “crowd out” investments in the nation’s infrastructure, homeland security, health care and scientific research.
“It’s a misguided bill that will drive our nation deeper into debt with too little to show for it in the long run,” Harkin said.
Grassley supported the package, saying it’s “common sense” to prevent an income tax increase during a recession. “To ensure that no American sees their taxes go up on January 1, 2011 which will happen automatically if we don’t do something this very month,” Grassley said recently during a speech on the senate floor.
Grassley also touts the extension of tax credits for ethanol and biodiesel which are included in the bill. “If you tax something, you get less of it,” Grassley said. “Repealing incentives on ethanol would have the very same result.”
According to Grassley, there’s too much “misleading” information being circulated about “home-grown” ethanol.
“Home grown means that we’re less dependent on people like dictator Chavez and our oil sheiks,” Grassley said.
The U.S. House may vote as soon as today on the entire tax cut package that cleared the senate Wednesday, but House Democrats are pushing to make changes in the plan.