Sen. Jim Webb might be joining the ranks of several Senate Democrats who think the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended to help people who earn more than $250,000 per year.
A spokesman for Webb (D-VA) told TPM that the senator is negotiating the specifics with the Democratic leadership, talking about potential alternatives to their favored plan being championed by President Obama.
“He is definitely in favor of passing tax cuts,” said Webb spokesman Will Jenkins. “He is still discussing the specifics with his colleagues, but he has said that he thinks the proposed $250,000 cut off level is too low, and he is advocating that it be raised.”
Webb campaigned in 2006 on income disparity, telling voters at every stop he wanted to do something about the growing gap between CEOs and their workers. He won a primary against businessman Harris Miller and his defeat of Sen. George Allen (R) handed Democrats the Senate.
Now some Virginia Democrats are grumbling and suggesting he should face a primary in 2012 as Allen considers jumping in for a general election rematch. As we’ve noted, the politically ambitious Webb has not shied away from criticizing Obama on Afghanistan and other issues.
Senate Democrats had been suspecting that Webb was in the camp of Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) when the Wall Street Journal noted his stance in a recent editorial, and leadership aides have told TPM they aren’t sure if Webb would come on board if they held a vote on just the cuts for $250,000 in income and below. (That vote could come as soon as this week but aides say it’s likely to be early next week.)
A Senate aide wondered aloud if Lieberman and Webb would really object to a vote on the middle class $250,000 threshold, but these senators will hold the key to what really happens in this critical pre-election gamble.