Posted on December 13, 2010
By Bill Theobald
WASHINGTON -- As expected, Tennessee's two Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker backed the tax-cut extension deal in a preliminary vote Monday evening.
The Senate voted 83-15 to end debate on the plan worked out between Republican leaders and Democratic President Barack Obama to extend the
Bush-era cuts in income taxes for two years, to extend business tax credits, and to cut payroll taxes. A final vote in the Senate is expected later in the week. The House also must approve the plan.
The deal also includes an extension of the deduction Tennesseans can take on their federal income tax return of the sales taxes they pay. The deduction, important to states that do not have an income tax, is worth several hundred dollars to the average Tennessean.
"This was a tough vote for me," said Corker in a written statement. "I supported the bill because the most important short-term issue our country faces is the economy. Allowing these income tax rates to expire would be devastating to our fragile economy."
The legislation would add millions to the federal deficit, an issue that Corker has focused on in recent months. Corker said he would be filing an amendment to cap federal spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product.
Alexander had already signaled his support for the plan, saying it was the most important action Congress can take to create jobs.