Congress passed legislation Friday to extend the payroll tax holiday despite strong opposition from delegates in the DMV area.
The $150 billion bipartisan measure -- which passed the House with a 239-132 vote and already cleared the Senate -- would collect $15 billion over the next decade by requiring federal employees hired after this year to increase the amount of pay they contribute to their retirement plan from 0.8 percent to 3.1 percent.
In an area with a disproportionally high number of federal employees, many of the DMV delegates were concerned about how the proposal would financially impact employees in their districts.
The measure drew “no” votes from Maryland Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D) and Reps. Donna Edwards (D), Steny Hoyer (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D); as well as Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) and Reps. Gerald Connolly (D), James P. Moran Jr. (D) and Frank Wolf (R).
Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) was the only area lawmaker to vote for the bill, according to The Post.
The extended tax breaks would amount to about $1,000 for a person earning $50,000 a year,according to The Baltimore Sun. But while many supported the tax breaks, they thought it was unfair that federal employees would carry the burden of the breaks.
Moran said (via The Post):
“Extending a tax cut for the middle class by taking from the paychecks of middle class federal workers is not fair, nor does it make sense.”
Watch Rep. Hoyer's comments on the measure.
* Virginia Senate hopeful George Allen released a new campaign video slamming opponent Tim Kaine called “I’m Doing What The President Wants Me To Do.”
A press release said the ad comes on the third anniversary of the passage of Obama’s $800 billion stimulus plan and is intended to highlight Kaine’s loyal, unabashed support for President Obama and his agenda, “which has led to an unprecedented spending binge in Washington over the last three years. “
Watch the ad here:
Meanwhile, Kaine's campaign is taking on Allen's decision to support "personhood" legislation.
“Only a true Washington insider like George Allen could think he could get away with touting limited government one day, and in the same week promote legislation that involves government in the most personal health decisions made by women and their doctors,” said Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine. “This is yet another case where George Allen’s re-election rhetoric doesn't match his record. Just as George talks about pledges of fiscal conservatism after he spent years in Washington voting for trillions in spending, Virginian’s can’t trust the talk.”
* The Virginia senate passed a bill along party lines Friday that would allow corporations to get a tax break for funding scholarships for underprivileged kids to attend private schools.
The bill passed with Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s tiebreaking vote as Democrats questioned the constitutionality of the bill that they said would take money away from public schools.
“We take that child out, have we released a teacher, a custodian, an administrator, a nurse, a librarian, no... all the overhead is still there,” Sen. David W. Marsden, D-Fairfax said.“Are the lights still on? Is the heat still on? You betcha. So we’ve saved almost nothing.”
Republicans, according to the RTD, said the measure will give low-income families a choice in their children’s education and will not have a negative impact on public school spending because the state would save the cost of educating the child in a public school.
* Maryland delegates are expected to vote on the same-sex marriage bill during a session that starts at 4:30 today.
It is still unclear if the bill will pass, but supporters say they are cautiously optimistic.