By Suzannah Couch
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Donnelly said Tuesday he supports a temporary extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, taking a stand on the issue that is opposite of President Barack Obama's.
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that he will support an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for one year, including those for wealthier Americans. He's shown here at the Indiana Democratic Convention. Photo by Lesley Weidenbener, The Statehouse File
"Given our continued economic challenges, now is the time to keep tax rates low. The last thing our economy can afford is more uncertainty as the fiscal cliff approaches. That's why I support a one year extension of all of the tax rates," Donnelly said in a statement.
Donnelly's opponent, Republican Richard Mourdock, supports making all the tax cuts permanent. And Mourdock criticized Donnelly for announcing his support for an extension now after months of silence.
"Donnelly suddenly opposes the increase," Mourdock said. "Sorry Congressman Donnelly, no one is buying your "Joe come lately' routine."
The Bush-era tax cuts are 3 percent to 5 percent decreases in all income taxes -- including for the highest earners in the country. The tax cuts are set to expire, and Obama has said he does not believe wealthy Americans should continue to receive the tax break.
"I'll cut out government spending that's not working, that we can't afford, but I'm also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton," Obama said at a campaign event in California on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Shappell, the communications director for Joe Donnelly's campaign, said Donnelly did not take the same stance as Obama because he "works for the people of Indiana, not any political party or president."
"His number one priority is working with both parties to make sure we protect and create additional job opportunities for Hoosiers so they can take care of their families and retire with dignity," Shappell said.
Shappell said Donnelly supports low tax rates because they help small businesses create jobs and allow Indiana families to make "ends meet."
Donnelly said he believes in working with the other side of the aisle-the Republicans- on this issue.
"We need to create jobs, we need to help the middle class and support small businesses, and we need to avoid partisan bickering and delay," Donnelly said in his statement.