Republican Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio) teed off on a tentative deal between Senate GOP leaders and President Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years.

Voinovich said he would vote against the proposal and called for tax rates to reset to the levels they were at in the 1990s. He said that would give Congress an incentive to take up tax reforms.

“I’m going to vote to no on everything,” Voinovich said Tuesday about the proposal to extend all tax rates by two years and federal unemployment benefits by 13 months. “I want to not extend them. I want to force us to do tax reform.” 


Voinovich cited the nearly $800 billion Congress borrowed in 2009 to pay for a massive economic stimulus package. The pending tax and unemployment benefits deal, which senior administration officials say will spur job creation and economic growth, could cost as much as $900 billion.

“We borrowed the money to pay for the first one; we borrowed money from China to give me a tax break; we borrowed money to pay for our wars; I’m tired of borrowing money,” said Voinovich. “I want tax reform, which means that we’ll pay more taxes, but we’ll get tax reform and make some sense out of this terrible situation.”

“We’re sticking my kids with debts for things we weren’t willing to do without or pay for,” Voinovich added.

Senior administration officials, however, have argued that the tax package will not add to the deficit beyond 2012.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) acknowledged the proposal would add to the budget deficit immediately.

“The budget impact is negative in the short term but what’s most important is medium and long term,” Conrad said. “The deficit is going to get worse in the short term because of continuing weakness in the economy, but what’s necessary is a plan to pivot.”

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates Progressive groups urge Feinstein to back filibuster carve out for voting rights or resign MORE (D-Calif.) said she is reviewing the package and its budget impact “is a big concern.”

“The question with all of this is, 'Does it work?'” she said about claims by senior administration officials and Senate Republicans that the package would spur the economy.

Feinstein said there is little evidence that extending tax cuts for the nation’s highest income earners will do much to create jobs.

“Income isn’t a business tax, people don’t hire off their personal income for the most part when you’re above a million dollars,” Feinstein told reporters. “It doesn’t trickle down and that’s what the Bush tax cuts showed over the past decade.”