U.S. Rep. Jim Himes was the only member of Connecticut’s delegation Thursday to vote with his party’s leadership against a tax package. U.S. Reps. John B. Larson, Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro, and Joe Courtney voted in favor of the package, which makes permanent a child tax credit and tax credits to help low-income families.
The Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 passed 318-109.
In a phone interview Thursday, Larson said there were things in the package that he didn’t like, but there was more good in the package than bad. He said he didn’t like that many of the tax credits weren’t paid for with a dedicated revenue stream. However, he felt the package would help his constituents.
Larson pointed to the Earned Income Tax Credit which helps 220,000 low-income families in Connecticut and a research and development tax credit that helps companies like Pratt & Whitney and its parent company, United Technologies Corp.
“The R&D tax credit is a driver of jobs and innovation both in Connecticut and across our nation,” Larson said. “Making it permanent will provide security for companies to grow more jobs and make more investments here in America.”
“Let’s be clear: this is not a perfect agreement, but hard-working Americans deserve a Congress that does the hard work of crafting bipartisan solutions together,” Esty said. “This bill will spur businesses to create jobs, reward students pursuing higher education, strengthen low- and middle-income workers, and promote charitable giving and resource conservation.”
Courtney said he was particularly pleased that the mortgage debt forgiveness provision was included in the bill and was extended for two years. He also appreciated making the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit permanent. Both were set to expire in 2017.
“While not a perfect compromise, it should provide some much needed stability and confidence for our economy as we head into the New Year,” Courtney said in a press release.
But Himes voted with his party’s leadership against the package.
In a press release, Himes said Republicans “specifically designed this vote to be difficult by loading the bill with credits and extensions for programs that are important to those of us who care about families, combating poverty, and supporting charitable giving and job growth. However, because the bill didn’t pay for these, its passage will add at least $780 billion, including interest, to the national debt over the 10 years and $2 trillion over the next two decades.”
Himes said he supports the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as the child tax credit and the research and development credits.
“But, if we truly prioritize these programs, we should find a way to pay for them rather than dig ourselves into debt,” Himes added.