NEW BRUNSWICK – Hours after the U.S. Congress passed an extension of the Bush tax cuts for income earners making under $250,000, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) said he would fight for the same goal in the senate, but acknowledged it will be tough.
“Because of the filibuster,” the senator told PolitickerNJ.com, a nod to Republican opposition to the Democrats’ tax cut plan.
The GOP wants across the board tax cuts, for middle and higher income earners.
“If we can’t get what we want, I will advocate moving the limit from $250,000 to $1 million,” said Menendez.
But he said he intended to stop short of the Republican plan for no ceiling at all.
“I believe it’s fiscally responsible (to generate revenue from the highest income earners), but I also believe in preserving the tax cuts for the middle class,” he explained as he exited the Hyatt Hotel, where the multi-partisan Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey honored both Menendez and Dale Florio with back to back “Good Guys” awards.
Warmly received and applauded when he vowed to introduce an equal rights amendment, the senator appeared here days after Democrats announced plans for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray from Washington to succeed Menendez as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He focused for two years on party building nationwide, Menendez now seeks to impose his statewide presence two years in front of his re-election as he copes with a 31% approval rating. In the big hotel banquet hall, WPC members quietly chatted about the senator’s need to shore up his support among key groups, including their own gender.
At one point, Menendez gave a lectern nod to organization Prez Lisa Mizrahi Kaado, referring to her as “madame president.”
The senator said he liked the title, then added, in a nod to the Democrats’ epic 2008 primary. “We almost had one,” said the primary backer of Hillary Clinton. Later, the senator called his late mother “an angel.”
The room was a concentration of Central Jersey female elected officials and politicos, including Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen), state Sen.-elect Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) (who is due to be sworn in on Monday), and Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliano.
In the parking lot as he departed, someone cracked about Menendez’s invocation this week of television’s nubile Kardashian sisters, whom the senator had praised in a release for their decision to back away from using their likenesses on a new prepaid debit card, which contained excess consumer fees.
“I didn’t know what they looked like,” Menendez said.