Minn. delegation reacts to tax deal between Obama, Republicansby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — At least two Minnesota members of Congress said Tuesday they oppose a deal on tax cuts reached by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans.
Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum, a St. Paul Democrat, called the plan "irresponsible" and said she would oppose it. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis Democrat, issued a joint statement with Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, urging members of Congress to pass a middle class tax cut "with no strings attached."
The deal reached Monday extends income tax cuts to all Americans, including the wealthy, for two years. McCollum and Ellison oppose extending the tax cuts to the wealthy.
"This is a deal that will continue to explode the deficit, while the rich get richer and struggling middle class families get crumbs," McCollum said in a written statement.
The deal also would renew benefits for the long-term unemployed, something Obama has pushed for to prevent about 2 million Americans from losing benefits in the coming weeks.
Ellison and Grijalva, the incoming co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, accused congressional Republicans of "using unemployed Americans as bargaining chips in exchange for another tax break for the wealthy."
McCollum and Ellison are Minnesota's more liberal members of Congress, and several other liberal Democrats in Washington criticized the plan. Republicans, on the other hand, have praised the deal.
Democratic Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson, who are both considered moderate Democrats, were undecided on the tax deal on Tuesday.
"I am disappointed. However, I do not believe that compromise, by virtue, is a bad thing and so I am willing to consider this proposal," Walz said in a written statement.
Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken were also undecided.
"Sen. Franken is still reviewing the proposal," his press secretary Ed Shelleby said in a written statement.
Outgoing Democratic Rep. James Oberstar expressed disappointment in the plan, but said he hasn't decided how to vote.
"There are a lot of questions I will need to have addressed before I can decide if I will support a tax cut for millionaires that will cost more than the stimulus package, which Republicans opposed so bitterly," he said in a written statement.
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is waiting to review the final version of the bill before committing.
"Our economy doesn't have a moment to waste and it's vital that we stop these tax increases now, but we cannot overlook the consequences of another unfunded extension of unemployment benefits," Bachmann said in a written statement.
In statements released Tuesday by their staffs, Republican Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline both seemed optimistic they would support the plan.
(MPR producers Curtis Gilbert and Sam Choo contributed to this report.)