Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Economic Record of Gordon Smith

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith not only has a terrible economic record, but he's piling on the election year flip-flops in 2008. Gordon Smith is promoting a five-point plan to help the economy, but his election year rhetoric is in direct contradiction to his record. The below is courtesy of a press release from the Senate campaign of Speaker Jeff Merkley:

    Gordon Smith’s Real Record on the Economy
    Keeping with his plan to saying anything to get elected, Gordon Smith gave us his five point plan to fix the economy

    What Smith says now: Rebate tax dollars to low and middle income Americans to kick start consumer spending and drive economic activity [Smith press release, 1/23/08]

    What Smith's Record Says: Smith Voted Against Min. Wage Increases 17 Times

    Minimum Wage: 1. Senate Vote 278, 9/2/98; 2. Senate Vote 94, 4/28/99; 3. Senate Vote 239, 7/30/99; 4. Senate Vote 356, 11/9/99; 5. Senate Vote 75, 7/7/00; 6. Senate Vote 76, 7/7/00; 7. Senate Vote 26, 3/7/05; 8. Senate Vote 257, 10/19/05; 9. Senate Vote 179, 6/21/06; 10. Senate Vote 22, 1/25/07; 11. Senate Vote 23, 1/25/07; 12. Senate Vote 26, 1/25/07; 13. Senate Vote 28, 1/25/07; 14. Senate Vote 30, 1/25/07; 15. Senate Vote 32, 1/25/07; 16. Senate Vote 37, 1/31/07; 17. Senate Vote 38, 1/31/07

    * * *

    What Smith says now: Provide critical assistance to the states to fund programs such as food stamps, low-income heating assistance (LIHEAP) and unemployment insurance [Smith press release, 1/23/08]

    What Smith's Record Says: Only in an Election Year does Smith want to Increase LIHEAP, Unemployment Benefits

    Smith has voted three times against increasing funding for LIHEAP: In 2005, Smith voted against a temporary tax on Big Oil Company profits to add funds to LIHEAP. [Senate vote 339, 11/17/05] In 2006, Smith voted twice against boosting LIHEAP: once to increase LIHEAP funds by $500 million and the second time to increase LIHEAP $3.3 billion. [Senate vote 42, 3/14/06; Senate vote 57, 3/16/06]

    Smith voted against increasing Unemployment Benefits Six Times: 1. Senate Vote 234, 9/15/05; 2. Senate Vote 293, 10/11/01; 3. Senate Vote 338, 11/14/01; Senate Vote 269, 7/10/03; Senate Vote 199, 5/23/03; and once in the Oregon Senate Too! - Vote on SB 954, 1993

    * * *

    What Smith says now: Approve a multi-year extension of the county payments safety net to help stabilize rural economies in 44 states [Smith press release, 1/23/08]

    What Smith's Record Says: Smith Believes in a Limited Role for Government in Economic Development

    In 1995, Smith wanted to cut Gov. Kitzhaber’s rural development budget by over 45 percent, from $15 million to $8.2 million. At a meeting of Wallowa County residents, Smith defended his cutting aid to rural Oregon communities by saying rural development funds needed to be “re-evaluated. The rural development fund may not be dead but it’s on life support.” Smith then went onto to say that he believed that “government should take on a limited role in economic development.” [Baker City Herald, 4/7/95] And where was Smith getting this done when the Republicans had a 10-vote majority in the U.S. Senate? It’s not called the Craig-Wyden-Smith bill for a reason.

    * * *

    What Smith says now: Provide tax and regulatory relief to small businesses so they can afford to buy new equipment, innovate, compete and hire new workers [Smith press release, 1/23/08]

    What Smith's Record Says: Smith Votes Against Closing Tax Loopholes Requiring Reinvestment in Our Economy

    Smith voted twice against closing a corporate tax loophole to make corporations invest overseas profits in the U.S. Smith voted against an amendment that would have allowed corporations to pay a reduced tax rate on foreign profits even if they were used to create jobs in the U.S. Then, Smith voted against closing the loophole so the American corporations can avoid taxes by leaving profits in an off-shore account. [Senate votes 81, 83, 5/5/04] So regular Americans have to pay income taxes, but with Gordon Smith, corporations don’t.

    * * *

    What Smith says now: Provide a fair rate and a safe way for first time homebuyers to refinance their mortgage and avoid foreclosure [Smith press release, 1/23/08]

    What Smith's Record says: Smith’s Vote Helped Cause the Crisis - At least Now he Tries to Clean Up his Mess

    Smith voted against a bill to provide more regulation of the sub-prime mortgage market. The bill would have prohibited sub-prime lenders who make illegal or unprotected loans from declaring bankruptcy to avoid legal or financial responsibility. [Senate vote 24, 3/13/01]


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