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A Letter from Senator Mary Landrieu

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Landrieu on Her Reluctant Vote for the Republican Obama Tax Deal

In December during the fight against renewal of the Bush tax cuts (now the Republican Obama tax cuts) for millionaires and billionaires, we posted a tribute to Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu [2]’s strong condemnation of the immoral giveaway and wrote to her to say thank you

for your strong words . . . against the Obama-McConnell tax plan. Levees Not War has posted a ‘tip of the hat” (“If we had three hats we’d tip them all to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu . . .”) and we’ve urged our readers to contact your office to thank you for standing up for “justice and doing what’s right.”

. . . We’re concerned that if the tax cuts are extended, their cost to the Treasury will be used (again) as a rationale for cutting Social Security, Medicare, health care reform, and other social safety-net programs. As Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont has written in his letter to Speaker Pelosi, “Without a doubt, the very same people who support this addition to our debt will oppose raising the debt ceiling to pay for it.” This is wicked policy and cannot be abetted by Democrats.

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Senator Landrieu sent a reply, and we wanted to share some of her remarks:

On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 [3], extending the lower income tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2004 for two more years.

Although this tax package was not perfect, I strongly supported portions of the legislation directed towards extending tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses including the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and the employer-provided child care tax credit, which were set to expire on December 31, 2010. You may be interested to know that this legislation provides income tax relief for more than 98% of Louisiana families. In addition, the legislation also contains a necessary extension of long-term unemployment benefits to help Americans who are out of work pay the rent, keep the lights on and feed their families while they look for a job. For these reasons I voted in favor of this legislation.

This bill also extended several Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone [4] tax provisions that will mean almost $1 billion in Gulf Coast construction activity and jobs. In the next Congress, I will continue to work with my colleagues to pass a bipartisan provision that will extend the GOZone Low-Income Housing Tax Credit through 2012 so that critical recovery projects will not be stalled or completely shelved.

Even with the benefits for the middle class and the people of Louisiana, this legislation has much room for improvement and I hope that changes can be made during the next Congress. Please rest assured that I will keep your views in mind as Congress debates tax legislation in the future. . . .

P. S. : I am excited to announce that my office is launching new e-newsletters [5] to keep you updated on what I am working on here in Washington, D.C.

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When Vermont senator Bernie Sanders held the floor [6] of the Senate for eight and a half hours on Dec. 10 to denounce the tax cut extension—a diatribe so popular that it temporarily shut down the Senate’s web video server—Ms. Landrieu was one of the Democrats, along with Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who joined Mr. Sanders [7]in speaking out against Obama’s misguided deal with Senate Republicans. We salute their stand. We vote for Democrats Who Fight [8].

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