Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) voted to end debate on the Bush tax cut compromise yesterday, but he’s not happy about it. In a strongly-worded statement sent to his supporters today, Franken pokes at President Obama for negotiating the deal, which he called “bad policy.”
“A lot of people are unhappy that the President punted on first down, and I’m one of them,” Franken wrote in the message to supporters. “Extending the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy.”
Though Franken had harsh words for the president who created the tax cut deal, he was among the 79 Senators to vote for cloture on the plan, helping it move forward to almost assured passage in the Senate today. Franken’s reasons for supporting the compromise are similar to the ones Obama has when selling the plan: without the deal, unemployed families would lose their government support, something Franken calls unacceptable.
But Franken worries that the two year extension on the tax cuts for the wealthiest that Obama says he traded for the unemployment benefits could translate into a permanent extension for the cuts. If that happens, “we’re in big trouble,” Franken writes.
“I am taking the President at his word that he will fight harder to put an end to these wasteful tax breaks in 2012 than he did in 2010,” Franken writes.
In a statement to reporters after the cloture vote yesterday, Franken summarized his concerns with the bill.
“I don’t like extending the excessive Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, I don’t like the explosion in the deficit it will create, and I don’t like how the President made this deal,” Franken said.
In the end, however, Franken says voting for cloture is one of the tough decisions politicians have to make.
“There’s a lot in here to help create jobs and to help middle-class Minnesotans weather this recession,” Franken said in press statement yesterday.
In this letter to supporters, Franken spelled out the tough choice facing progressives like him as they consider the tax cut deal, which many on the left consider to be unfair.
“I got into this line of work because I wanted to stand up for Minnesota families trying to put food on the table and build a better life for their kids,” Franken writes. “And, for them, the only thing worse than a bad deal would be no deal at all.”
“That’s why I voted yes yesterday,” Franken added.