Senate overwhelmingly rejects idea of Value-Added Tax at McCain’s prompting

The Senate went on record Thursday as overwhelmingly opposed to a value-added tax – something much talked about by Democrats and those close to President Obama of late – approving by 85-to-13 a resolution declaring the penalty a “massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income.”

Twelve Democrats and one Republican, Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, voted against the resolution, which was sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

For McCain, who is facing a tough reelection primary fight against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, it was a boost to his conservative credentials.

An aide to McCain, Joe Donoghue, said the senator decided to sponsor the resolution after returning to Washington following two weeks in his home state during Congress’s Easter break.

“Senator McCain came to us when he came back from recess and said [constituents are] talking about a VAT, and I want to do an amendment on the first bill we have up to prevent Democrats from doing that,” Donoghue said.

McCain attached the “sense of the senate” resolution to an extension of jobless benefits for unemployed workers. The senator ultimately voted against the benefits bill because it is not deficit neutral and violated recently instituted “pay-as-you-go rules.”

McCain was also spurred to action by a Thursday Wall Street Journal editorial, said Donahue. McCain read most of the editorial – which argued that rather than replacing the income tax, a VAT would be piled on and produce revenue to increase the size of the federal government – during his floor statement introducing the resolution.

“Several of my colleagues have explained that they would support a VAT if it was replacing the federal income tax or the current corporate tax structure,” McCain said in his statement. “I say to those colleagues that I have not seen a shred of evidence from the administration or anyone in Congress that the VAT would be used as a replacement tax.”

“I am supremely confident that – if and when it is offered – the VAT will be an additional tax on the American people,” he said, adding that the solution to runaway deficits and debt is to “cut spending.”

McCain, in a brief interview just off the Senate floor moments after his resolution passed, said he “wanted the Senate on record” to prevent the VAT from getting “off the ground” politically.

The senator said the VAT is a “free ride for politicians.”

Some observers believe the VAT could gain political momentum if the fiscal commission on the budget deficit, created by the president and scheduled to begin its work this month, includes a VAT in the recommendations that are due to Congress by Dec. 1.

But all six of the senators who are on commission – three Democrats and three Republicans – voted for McCain’s resolution condemning the VAT.

These are the 13 senators who went on record supporting a VAT:

  • Daniel Akaka, Hawaii
  • Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico
  • Sherrod Brown, Ohio
  • Robert Byrd, West Virginia
  • Ben Cardin, Maryland
  • Byron Dorgan, North Dakota
  • Ted Kaufman, Delaware
  • Carl Levin, Michigan
  • Jack Reed, Rhode Island
  • Tom Udall, New Mexico
  • George Voinovich, Ohio
  • Jim Webb, Virginia
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island

No vote:

  • Bill Nelson, Florida
  • Mark Warner, Virginia

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  • xfiler93

    IF the “annointed one, the Messiah” is elected for a second term, the VAT will happen. I shudder to think where this country will be after 8 years of this social justice type man. We will not recognize our country, more like Europe.

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  • Ankhorite

    VAT is a nightmare to administer and is generally very harsh on low- and fixed-income people.

    We need to stick with the income tax, and get rid of George W Bush’s obscene tax cuts for the rich.

    • adamincalifornia

      The “obscene” tax cuts from Bush eliminated more middle and low income households from the income tax rolls than any prior administration has since the inception of an income tax.

      I am no big Bush fan, but the Bush tax cut meme from so called “progressives” is wholly unfounded and irrational. Bush made the income tax system more progressive than it has been since FDR. Look it up. Do the math. Why do you think 47% no longer pay taxes? Are those “the rich” who make up that 47%? What Democratic administration made tax changes reduced the tax rolls to that level?

  • libsrfunny

    As an Ohioan, I hang my head in shame.

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  • davchaz

    I think the old silver fox er maverick has fooled the lot of them. Way to go Senator! However…. I wouldn’t bet my retirement accounts on this non-binding resolution… As we have seen with Congressman Stupak, with Democrats, morals always have their price.

  • hughjohnson

    Those making under 250,00 dollars will..wait, those that make under 225,000 dollars will…those making under 200,000 dollars will…Aw forget it..you’re all gonna pay higher taxes one way or another.

  • rainmaker1145

    Fortunately, we already have a real record of achievement to look to in judging the VAT; Social Security and Europe.

    European countries have used the VAT for decades and the result has been catastrophic; economic growth has been crippled and unemployment remains chronically high because they didn’t reduce their debts, they used it to increase their spending.

    Social Security is the VAT on employment; making all employment services a VAT proposition. What happened to the money collected for Social Security? The politicians stole all of it and spent it on something else and now they want us to do it again – all over again – and just call it something else.

    You know doggone good and well they won’t pay off our debts with tax proceeds they receive – if they did, they would have and they never have.

    Democrats complain about the Bush Tax Cuts, but the Bush Tax Cuts resulted in record revenues for the Treasury that were a true unheralded event – a financial windfall.

    Did they take the money and pay down our national debt? Nope.

    Will they do it with the VAT? Well, I’ve got this bridge and it has low miles and the price is just right…

  • brunnegd

    I am embarrassed to have Voinovich and Brown as my senators.

    • anniebanannie

      As well you should….you have my sympathies.

      • americanLatina

        Not even my socialist senators in WA (smurphy and cant(do anything)well didn’t vote for the vat…but they would vote for it if it were a binding vote (and if smurphy wasn’t up for a tough re-election fight this fall)

      • yugdoohrobhgieneht

        annie: Looks like we were not shamed by our senators…but can you tell me why a sitting senator (Nelson, Warner) would NOT vote…I mean, do they have no cojones…or, are they or a family member hospitalized? What the hell are we paying them for? Just sayin’ and ventin’.