Knoxville News Sentinel: ET-area legislators support tax deal

Posted on December 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - East Tennesseans in Congress overwhelmingly supported the tax cut package that President Barack Obama signed Friday into law.

Every member of the region's congressional delegation voted in favor of the bill when it cleared the U.S. House and Senate, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga. Wamp is leaving office at the end of the year and did not vote.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, N.C., also voted for the bill.

Here's what lawmakers are saying about the package and their reasons for supporting it:

n U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.: "A tax increase on anybody when unemployment is 10 percent would make it harder to create jobs, and this legislation prevents the single largest tax increase in history, dollar-wise."

n Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.: "This has been a tough vote for me. I spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons, but at the end of the day, I'm supporting the tax package 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."

n Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville: "Every economist and financial expert said this would have been a terrible time for a megabillion-dollar tax increase when the economy is as weak as it is. This bill was especially important to Tennesseans, because it maintained the sales tax deduction. This bill had nothing to do with protecting millionaires. It was a vote to make sure that money was spent by the people in the private sector instead of by the government, which is full of waste and inefficiency."

n Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City: "This bill is by no means perfect, but it should make clear to all Americans that Republicans were serious when we said that our top priority was job creation and stopping job-killing policies."

Michael Collins may be reached at 202-408-2711.