Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle\’s (D-SD) recent attacks on tax cuts, coupled with Senator Ted Kennedy\’s call for tax increases, place congressional Democrats in an interesting dilemma. Especially when you consider that 41 House Democrats and 12 Senate Democrats supported the tax cuts.

Senate Democrats are divided into at least 3 separate camps when it comes to tax increases:

  • The Senate Democrats who want to raise taxes;
  • The 12 Senate Democrats who voted for the tax relief; and
  • The Senate Democrats who want to attack tax cuts yet refuse to call for their repeal.


Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) wants to raise taxes.

Senators Breaux (D-LA), Feinstein (D-CA), Miller (D-GA), Cleland (D-GA), Landrieu (D-LA) and Johnson (D-SD) have stated publicly in recent days that they are against delaying the tax cut.

The questions on everyone\’s mind:

  • Does Majority Leader Tom Daschle agree with Senator Kennedy that we should raise taxes?
  • Or does he agree with Senators Feinstein, Breaux and others that we should not delay the tax cuts.
  • Or will he continue to attack tax cuts, yet refuse to call for their repeal?


Senator John Breaux (D-LA): "I think that the worst thing you can do is increase taxes during a recessionary period. And to go back on that program would, in effect, be a tax increase." (CNN, Novak, Hunt and Shields, 1/6/02)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "Twenty percent of the Democratic Senate caucus voted for the tax cut. Over $1 trillion dollars of that tax cut has yet not gone into effect. My view is that we ought to stay the course…I think it\’s good policy to let people keep more of their money." (CNN Late Edition, 1/6/02)

Senator Zell Miller (D-GA), who co-sponsored the tax cut, said Mr. Daschle\’s comments made neither political nor economic sense. (Washington Times, 1/8/02)

Senator Zell Miller (D-GA): "Maybe it\’s at a level my brain can\’t reach. How do you have as one of your highest priorities to re-elect the moderate Democrats from South Dakota, Montana and Missouri on one hand, then on the other hand blame them for voting for a tax cut that he maintains has created this recession? Hello?" (Washington Times, 1/8/02)

A spokesman for Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana said he "can\’t imagine that she would advocate delaying or repealing" the tax cut. (Washington Times, 1/8/02)

A spokeswoman for Senator Max Cleland said the Georgia Democrat "is not interested in revisiting the tax cut." (Washington Times, 1/8/02)

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), through a spokesperson, said "that he sees no reason to regret his vote for the tax cut."

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who usually stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. Daschle against the White House on budget questions, said Mr. Gephardt wanted to stay out of the "Washington blame game." (Washington Times, 1/8/02)