Winner: US Rep. Dave Reichert (who's now free to vote as a Republican).
Perhaps it's because he's in a safer Republican district now thanks to redistricting (and the only person running against him has raised just $12,000), but US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ), who has broken with his party on some high-profile and highly politicized votes in the past, stuck with his party today. (In the past, Reichert voted against his party to override President Bush’s veto of a children’s health care bill, voted for the employee non-discrimination act, i.e., for gay rights, voted with President Obama and the Democrats to extend emergency unemployment benefits, and, most dramatically, voted for the cap and trade bill.)
Today, the liberated Congressman from the redrawn 8th (no more rich Microsoft liberals coming after him), voted for the controversial budget pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in a party-line 228-191 vote. GOP budget chair Ryan's budget undoes Medicare, swapping it out for a voucher system that pushes seniors onto the open market.[pullquote]In the Ryan budget, after-tax incomes of people who make more than $1 million a year would rise by 12.5 percent, on average — six times more than the 1.9 percent average gain for middle-income households.[/pullquote]
The budget also extends the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 and adds new tax breaks for wealthy people and corporations, with people earning more than $1 million a year getting an average $265,000 in tax cuts. According to the lefty Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the whole package is regressive: "After-tax incomes of people who make more than $1 million a year would rise by 12.5 percent, on average — six times more than the 1.9 percent average gain for middle-income households." Half of those making between $20,000 and $30,000 a year would see no tax benefit at all. Additionally, the Ryan budget cuts $200 billion from Pell Grants for lower-income students.
Rep. Reichert has not issued a statement on the vote. The rest of theWashington delegation also voted along party lines, though Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA, 6) did not cast a vote.
Here's some good coverage on the political implications on the vote from the New York Times and Talking Points Memo.
Loser: Joe Zarelli (who can't even get Rob McKenna to agree with him).
Meanwhile, Washington State Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna broke ranks with the state senate Republicans. McKenna told Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner that he supports getting rid of the state tax break for big banks on interest earned from first-time mortgage loans.
Democrats have been condemning the break for years now, citing it as a poster child for corporate loopholes that should be rescinded to help balance the budget. Even the house Republicans recommended killing it this year. However, state senate budget leader Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-18, Ridgefield), a central player in this year's budget standoff, has kept the $20 million break intact.
McKenna told Brunner:
McKenna now says he agrees the break should be repealed. "The tax preference doesn't seem to be achieving what it was supposed to achieve," he said Thursday morning in an interview following an education event in Seattle.