Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sounds skeptical about the White House’s proposed compromise on the Bush tax cuts.
“I still believe that it is bad for our economy and fiscally irresponsible to add billions to the debt to give tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires,” she told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. Gillibrand said extending the breaks to the highest-earners would “guarantee to add over $700 billion to our national deficit,” and force us to borrow that money from countries like China.
Before the White House unveiled its “framework” yesterday, Gillibrand had been supporting a plan by her colleague, Senator Chuck Schumer, which would set a million-dollar threshold for those who keep their tax cuts. That gave Senate Democrats a nice rhetorical dividing line for raising taxes on the “millionaires” and not the “middle class”–which Gillibrand echoed this afternoon.
“With all investment of federal money, it’s about choices. And we have to prioritize the middle class, the small businesses, over millionaires and billionaires because frankly at the end of the day those investments will result in job creation and a growing economy,” Gillibrand said.
Asked whether she was bothered by that the White House hadn’t consulted Senate Democrats, and what the relationship is like more generally, Gillibrand paused for five seconds.
“The reality is that President Obama’s number one concern is the economy,” she said, before spelling out a few things that were good about the plan–extending unemployment insurance, and including other tax breaks.
Gillibrand said she would wait until after a caucus meeting with Vice President Biden to decide whether she’ll support the White House’s plan.
“I’m reserving my judgment until I’ve had the opportunity to hear directly from him about the details and about his and the president’s thinking in reaching this decision,” she said, and promised to let reporters know when she had reached a decision.