New England Democrats Stake Out Positions on Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts

As Congress gears up for another debate over the Bush-era tax cuts, set to expire at the end of this year, New England congressmen are staking out their positions on the issue. President Obama has been clear he wants to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but some leading Democrats, including Bill Clinton, have strayed from that position this week. Springfield Congressman Richard Neal, who sits on the tax-writing ways and means committee, says he would consider proposals to extend the cuts temporarily.

“If we needed a couple of months of breathing room to get a bigger deal to get those tax cuts, then that would be, I think, a path forward. At the same time, if it’s simply an up or down vote on ending the Bush tax cuts for people at the top, I would certainly vote to end them.”

And Neal, the top Democrat on a subcommittee that deals with deficit reduction, told “The Hill” newspaper -a Washington publication- that talks about extending the tax cuts would need to be in the context of a deal on how best to reduce the national deficit. Vermont’s at-large Representative Peter Welch holds a slightly different view. Also a Democrat, Welch says that he wouldn’t consider compromising on the tax cuts, unless Republicans also commit to compromising on areas like defense spending. And he says he’s focused on reaching a long-term deal with both sides.

“I’m not in favor of a short-term extension…that doesn’t come with real commitment to a long-term agreement.”

Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts’ third district agrees with the president on tax cuts, but says there’s never anything wrong with talking across the aisle to find solutions that benefit the country.