As Congress continues to bicker about extending the payroll tax cut, U.S. Senate candidates Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) pressed each other Wednesday on where they stand on the issues dominating Washington.
Kaine called on Allen to say whether he supports the payroll tax cut extension. Allen called on Kaine to say whether he supports the Keystone pipeline extension.
“For months, I’ve urged Congress to seek common ground on an extension of this tax cut which economists believe is essential to our continued growth and economic recovery,” Kaine said in a statement. “I am puzzled by George Allen’s unwillingness to publicly support an extension of the payroll tax cut. I urge him to set partisanship aside and join me in calling for a resolution to extend this tax cut for 160 million Americans.”
Allen’s spokesman said the former senator does support a one-year extension, but could not say whether he would have voted for the bill, which included a two-month extension (as well as language to force President Obama to act on the pipeline in 60 days.)
“George Allen has always been for reducing the tax burden on hard-working families and he would support a payroll tax holiday extension, but there are better ways to get our economy going and create jobs, including approval and construction of the Keystone Pipeline,’’ Allen spokesman Bill Riggs said. “Our Blueprint for America’s Comeback would help create millions of new jobs by unleashing our energy resources, reforming the convoluted, cumbersome tax code and reining in Washington’s burdensome regulations.’’
The House voted Tuesday to reject a Senate compromise that would have extended a federal payroll tax holiday for two months, continued unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and avoided a cut in the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare.
Both campaigns criticized the stop-gap measures that Congress has been trying ti pass in recent months.
Democrats have been calling on Allen for weeks to publicly say where he stands on the payroll tax cut extension supported by 38 Republican senators.
In October, Allen’s staff said the former senator would not necessarily be opposed to extending the payroll tax cut, but he still believed his own economic proposal was preferable to President Obama’s overall.
They were more clear Wednesday, though they did not mention Allen’s statement touting his support for a Republican effort to add approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline to the payroll tax cut extension bill.
Allen has been calling on Kaine to say for weeks whether he would support the pipeline. Kaine’s campaign has not answered questions on that issue.