Sen. George Voinovich, a senior Republican and self-professed "deficit hawk," says he will oppose President Obama's deal
with the GOP leadership on extending Bush-era tax cuts -- or any other scheme for keeping the tax relief in place -- unless such a plan is paid for.
Voinovich, a lame duck operating in a lame-duck session, said at an Aspen Institute
luncheon Monday, "I'm voting against everything." To make himself perfectly clear, Voinovich repeated
: "You've' got to pay for it; you've got to pay for it; you've got to pay for it."
The Ohioan has little to lose. He is retiring after two terms and apparently is leaving Capitol Hill with a bad taste in his mouth. "I think we have to blow the place up," he said, figuratively, when discussing Congress' failure to deal with the looming debt crisis and the partisan warfare that sometimes paralyzes legislative work.
The former Ohio governor opposed the original 2001 Bush tax-cut package, but relented when supporters made it a little less generous. The agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and Republican leaders would extend tax reductions enacted in 2001 and 2003 to all taxpayers for two more years. That would gradually add an estimated $700 billion to the national debt.
Voinovich won't be around the Senate to see it. At 74, he has no second thoughts about his decision to retire, according to the Washington Post
. Freed from fundraising and campaigning, the moderate Voinovich said "I've been able to be a senator for two years."
Excessive partisanship often starts in the House of Representatives, he said. "They come over to the Senate and they carry their bad habits with them." Some still remember 10-year-old battles. "It's like they're keeping score. . . . What the hell? You're in the United States Senate."
The Post headlined its Voinovich story: "A mainstream Republican's glum farewell."
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