Americans for prosperity video
Watch these videos shot during a recent meeting of Americans for Prosperity:
¢ Jim Ryun, of Lawrence, a former congressman who is battling state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins for the Kansas Republican Party nomination to run for the 2nd District congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g9fqx0x0cw
¢ Nick Jordan, a Republican state senator from Shawnee who is seeking his party's nomination to face U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore for the 3rd District seat - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyOh8_nnARI
It's a simple statement that packs a powerful political wallop.
Jim Ryun, Lynn Jenkins and Nick Jordan - all Republicans trying to unseat two Democratic congressional incumbents who represent Lawrence - say the Democrats voted for the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
Did U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, whose district includes west Lawrence, and U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, whose district includes east Lawrence, endorse such a proposal?
Both Boyda and Moore say absolutely not, and that their potential rivals are distorting the record.
The Republicans point to a specific vote in the House on March 13.
On that day, the House on a 212-207 vote approved a budget resolution, which Boyda and Moore supported. No Republicans voted for it.
The bill title was: "Revising the congressional budget for the United States government for fiscal year 2008, establishing the congressional budget for the United States government for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2010 through 2013."
Hours after the vote, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a news release targeting what it considers vulnerable Democrats, and accusing them of voting for a record $683 billion tax increase.
But the Democrats say that's not true, and so does a nonpartisan budget study group.
"It's dishonest to claim that the budget resolution passed by the House 'raises' taxes," said Moore. "The budget resolution does not change the tax code at all, but presents a fiscally responsible long-term plan for our nation's finances, including keeping tax relief for families and the middle class," he said.
Democrats argue the resolution envisions eliminating the budget deficit in 2012, while funding critical needs and preserving middle class tax cuts.
At the center of the argument, it's important to understand President Bush's tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and to know what a congressional budget resolution is.
When the Republican-controlled Congress approved the Bush tax cuts, the cuts were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010.
The budget resolution passed last month by Congress, which is now controlled by the Democrats, follows that older law in calling for the expiration of the tax cuts. The resolution provides a five-year roadmap for federal spending but it was nonbinding and serves more as a framework for future Democratic Party decisions on spending and taxes.
In a speech before the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity, Ryun said the resolution that Boyda voted for will increase the taxes on millions of Americans, including many in the middle class.
But the resolution also includes policy language that calls for middle income tax relief, including extension of the increase in the child tax credit, relief from the so-called marriage penalty, and other deductions aimed at the middle class.
"Nancy has always believed that the middle class relief should be made permanent," said her spokesman Thomas Seay. He said the sunset clauses in Bush's plan don't take effect until 2011. "Nancy has said again and again that when this issue reaches a vote, she'll support extending middle class tax relief," Seay said.
No tax increase
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the budget resolution contains no tax increase, let alone the largest in U.S. history.
The resolution approved by the House assumed that the nation's tax law would be amended to extend some of the expiring tax cuts, especially those affecting middle class families, according to the center, which is a nonpartisan group that works on policies and programs that affect low- and moderate-income families. The costs of those tax cuts would be offset by other changes in policy, which could include eliminating the tax cuts for the very wealthy, some Democrats have argued.
Of the allegations made by the Republicans, Aviva Aron-Dine, a policy analyst with the center, said, "Our view is that that claim is inaccurate."
She added, "The language of tax increases is very powerful. It's important to correct the record."