State G.O.P. chairman Ed Cox sent out a statement this afternoon knocking Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for her “no” vote yesterday on extending the Bush-era tax cuts.
“In aligning herself with the radical left wing in the Senate, Gillibrand has demonstrated clearly that she is out of touch with the needs of New Yorkers already buckling under the heaviest tax burden in the nation,” Cox said. “Gillibrand is trying to explain away her vote for higher taxes by sounding like a deficit hawk, but her statements have no credibility given her consistent votes for higher spending. She even voted to give taxpayer money to ACORN and was one of a handful of liberal Democrats to support including the public option in Obamacare.”
Of course, Cox doesn’t mention that a number of Republicans voted against the measure as well.
Gillibrand avoided a major Republican challenge this year (and a major Democratic one, for that matter) even though a number of top-tier Republicans, including Rudy Giuliani and Peter King, explored a run. Cox’s comments make clear however that she is in their sights for 2012, when she will be forced to run for a full six-year term.
The comments also show how difficult it remains for Gillibrand to thread the needle of statewide politics. She was a conservative Democrat representing a rural, upstate district when she was in the House of Representatives, but has moved quickly to the left since being appointed to the Senate last year, which could open her up to a challenge from a moderate Republican.
That said, this could be a big couple of days for Gillibrand. Two measures that she has worked very hard on–DADT repeal, and the Zadroga Health Care bill–are expected to be decided shortly.
Gillibrand explained her position on the extending the tax cuts here:
“I’m opposing this deal in its current form because right now we need to focus on the middle class, who are always left behind, not the people at the very top, who are doing just fine in this economy.
Although this deal includes important measures I have fiercely advocated for, extending Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy will saddle our children with billions of dollars of debt. With unemployment near 10 percent and a growing budget deficit, every dollar in this deal should be spent in a way that creates jobs and gets our economy growing, and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires do not create jobs and will not help our economy grow. This kind of fiscal recklessness is bad for our economy and bad for future generations.”