GOP pounces on Manchin's tax cut vote

The National Republican Senatorial Committee Saturday quickly jumped on Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) vote in favor a proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts only for families making up to $1 million a year.  

The committee accused the centrist Democrat of breaking a campaign pledge to not cast a Senate vote in favor of anything other than an across the board extension of the tax cuts. 

In a news release, the committee said Manchin "toed the line for his Democrat Party leaders in Washington once again today when he voted to impose a massive tax hike on American job creators struggling to make ends meet amid nearly 10 percent unemployment and a weak economy."

During his Senate contest with Republican businessman John Raese, Manchin repeatedly said he wanted the Bush-era tax cuts extended across the board. 

While Manchin voted in favor of the measure put forth by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), he sided against the majority of Senate Democrats on another vote to extend the cuts for just the middle class. 

Manchin joined three other Democrats and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) in opposing that plan. Along with Manchin, Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.), and Jim Webb (Va.) voted against the proposal. 

In a statement issued Saturday, the Democrat said while his preference was for the extension of all the tax cuts, "I was open to a common sense compromise that would extend the cuts to those who make up to $1 million--or 99.9 percent of West Virginians. Unfortunately, that did not happen." 

Manchin called the failed vote "another sign that there is much more work to be done to bridge the divide between Republicans and Democrats." 

After winning a closer than expected special election this past November to fill the seat of the late-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Manchin has to run for a full term in 2012 and could be a top GOP target once again.

The NRSC also targeted a slew of other Senate Dems up for reelection in 2012 on the tax cut issue Saturday, including Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Jim Webb (Va.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.).