Lieberman digs in on Bush tax cuts

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Monday renewed his support for extending all of the expiring Bush tax cuts, including those for top income earners.

In a speech to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in his home state, Lieberman said the cuts should be extended at least for another year in order to spur economic recovery.

“I don't think it makes sense to raise any federal taxes during the uncertain economy we are struggling through. The more money we leave in private hands, the quicker our economic recovery will be," he said. "And that means I will do everything I can to make sure Congress extends the so-called Bush tax cuts for another year and takes action to prevent the estate tax from rising back to where it was."

Lieberman in July made similar comments, but his most recent remarks come as the lawmakers are returning to Washington and could take up an extension of all or some of the tax breaks soon.

With the struggling economy dominating the midterm election narrative, the debate over the tax cuts in Congress is looming over members facing tough reelection contests.

Some centrist Democratic lawmakers and candidates have broken with party leaders, joining Republicans in calling for a full extension of the cuts, including for those individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000.

But the White House has said it does not want to renew the cuts for the wealthy, arguing doing so would add too much to the ballooning federal budget deficit.

Lieberman's statement is a sign that Democratic leaders in Congress could have a tough time cobbling together votes for anything but a full extension of the tax cuts.

Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has frustrated liberal members of Congress by standing against them on several issues such as the Iraq war, the public health insurance option and the Bush tax cuts.

The senator acknowledged the divide but said his position is best for the economy.

"I know that many people, including the president, have argued that the tax cuts should not be continued for people making more than $200,000 a year, but to me, these are the people we need to be using their income to spend and invest to spur growth and job creation," he said.