In a speech on the Senate floor Saturday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was voicing his support for extending the tax rates for all Americans– regardless of their income level– when he made an aside that some took as an attack on the Tea Party.
Graham was saying voters wanted Democrats to stop pushing their agenda, when he made this comment.
The House had a dramatic election. We (Republicans) picked up seats in the Senate, and some of us thought, “maybe we could pick up about two or three more,” and made some pretty poor choices when it came to candidates.
Although Republicans gained seats in the US Senate, several Tea Party-supported candidates lost races that Graham and others believed could have gone to more moderate Republicans. Graham’s fellow senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) was vocal in his support of the more conservative nominees.
Graham said the election is a warning to Democrats that they need to change their priorities over the next two years.
I think the last election was a message to our Democratic friends (that) for the last two years, you’ve been going down the wrong road. This was an election, basically, (that was) not pro-Republican, just to our Democratic colleagues: stop.
The Senate was meeting in a special session to discuss whether or not to extend the current tax rates for those making less than $250,000. Graham and other Republicans opposed the measure because it would raise taxes for those making above that amount.
Graham said those in the top tax bracket already pay more than their share. In the speech, he said the top 10 percent of taxpayers provide 70 percent of the nation’s tax revenue.
Graham said the current tax structure needs to stay in place until the economy recovers.
Democrats were not able to get enough votes to move forward with the bill. Both sides indicate that a deal will likely emerge later this week that would keep the current tax rates in place for all Americans, in exchange for Republican support for unemployment benefit extensions. Currently, anyone who has been receving benefits for more than 26 weeks cannot apply for an extension.