GOP Feels the Heat As Constituents Push for Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

It’s been another rough week for Republicans back home in their districts as they try defending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while putting the burden of deficit reduction on the middle class and seniors. An article in today’s Washington Post highlights the pressure Americans are putting on House Republicans to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and revenues.

We hope Republicans will listen to their constituents and work with Democrats on a balanced plan to bring down our deficit, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements, support job creation, and protect the middle class and seniors.

Key excerpts:

“On Wednesday morning, as his tinted black bus pulled into Randy Hultgren’s congressional district, President Obama told residents that Republicans like Hultgren must be willing to raise taxes to reduce the deficit.”

“A few hours and 90 miles away, Hultgren’s own constituents had picked up the message, repeatedly hectoring the freshman congressman at a town hall meeting to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.”

“‘We have clear information that . . . tax cuts, especially to the super rich, has not increased any more jobs,’ one man told him. ‘I want to know under what conditions you would be willing to consider increasing taxes, especially on those who can afford it?’”

It is a scene that has been repeated at town hall meetings across the country this August as Democrats make a concerted effort to use this month’s congressional recess to change a national narrative on taxes.”

“But pushed on the issue, he offered something of an opening. He said he was willing to ‘look at’ ending subsidies to oil companies and closing tax loopholes.”

“But a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee insisted that the town hall reaction has not been coordinated. ‘People are responding because they are outraged about the priorities,’ said Jesse Ferguson, DCCC spokesman. ‘The president and congressional leadership have made sure that those are well-known. But the response is stemming from constituents.’”

“Democrats have been buoyed on the tax issue by poll numbers showing that a clear majority of Americans support higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to reduce the debt. In July, a Washington Post-ABC poll found that 72 percent of respondents favored raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 to reduce the deficit.”

“Democrats have found new moral support from billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times this week titled ‘Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,’ in which he argued that higher tax rates should be imposed on capital gains earned by the mega-wealthy. Buffett’s words have quickly become a town hall staple, read aloud to Republicans, including Hultgren.”

Two hundred people, some chanting, confronted Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) at a town hall in Kalamazoo this week. That prompted Upton, who will serve on the new congressional committee, to say he is open to closing tax loopholes, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.”

“Over the weekend, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is considering running against Hultgren in the 2012 Republican primary because both of their districts have been altered through redistricting, also faced a crowd that asked for higher taxes.”