In severe blow to Senate Majority Leader Daschle, home state rebukes his position on the nation\’s economy

WASHINGTON – The South Dakota House of Representatives passed a resolution yesterday requesting that Congress leave President Bush\’s tax cuts intact by an overwhelming 60 to 8 margin. The situation in South Dakota is unique because of the increasing breech between its senior U.S. senator and his home state constituents.

Senator Daschle has taken the firm position that the enactment of President Bush\’s tax relief passage last June worsened America\’s current economic condition. Yet, his constituents in South Dakota have repeatedly shown their support for President Bush and his policies. Fully 60% of them voted for Bush in 2000, and voters there overwhelmingly passed a referendum in the same year ending the state\’s estate tax.

Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington, observed, "Yesterday\’s vote in South Daokta confirmed the entire state\’s support for this president. Why then is Senator Daschle so completely out of touch with the sentiments of the voters and citizen legislators of his home state? Or is his new home state the District of Columbia?"

The measure comes in an election year where incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson, who narrowly won election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, faces reelection in November. Sen. Johnson voted for President Bush\’s tax relief package last May, as did his likely opponent in the November 2002 election, Republican Congressman John Thune. Rep. Thune signed ATR\’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a promise to voters to oppose new tax increases, whereas Sen. Johnson has not. Sen. Daschle signed the Pledge in 1986 during his first campaign for U.S. Senate, but has broken his pledge to South Dakota taxpayers on several occasions.

"Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle are facing a moment of truth: Will they accurately represent their constituents in Congress, or be enslaved to the spending lobbies in Washington, D.C.? Thomas Jefferson said that representative democracy works when legislators vote to represent their constituents over personal ideologies or outside pressures. And Daschle especially is making democracy fail for South Dakotans," Norquist concluded.