Entries in Gerry Connolly (3)


Gerry Connolly: 'Got to Look at' Ending Tax Cuts for Middle Class

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has drawn battle lines with Republicans over his bid to end tax cuts for those who make more than $250,000 a year -- a position the president had to move away from late last year to preserve tax cuts for the middle class.

But some Democrats are urging party leaders to look more broadly at potential revenue sources -- including the tax cuts for middle-class Americans that Obama has promised to keep intact.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told ABC News on Thursday that while he supported extending all of the tax cuts as part of the deal cut last year, Congress must reexamine all of them as it seeks to address the gaping deficit and national debt.

“I do not favor the permanent extension of that tax cut [for the wealthy], and frankly I think we’ve got to look at whether we can afford the middle-class tax cut permanently,” Connolly said.

“Between the two of them, that's $3.3 trillion we can't afford. And so if we decide we're going to go with one or the other or both, somebody's going to have to figure out how to pay for it, or else they're going to have to give up their commitment to deficit reduction.”

All of the tax cuts and more have to be part of an honest conversation about spending, he said.

“I think much of the discussion here in Washington, frankly, has been dishonest in that it focuses narrowly on one band of spending – to the exclusion of a discussion about revenues, tax expenditures, entitlement programs, and national defense – all of which has to be on the table in this broad national discussion about our priorities and our values.”

Connolly attacked the House-passed Republican budget authored by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, saying it “dismantles Medicare as we know it.”

He also said that he believes President Obama and Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine start the 2012 campaign with a “real advantage” in his home state of Virginia, predicting an 80 percent turnout next year.

“Not only is that twice the turnout [from last year’s midterm congressional elections], but who are those extra people who are coming out and voting in a presidential year? And in my district those -- a lot of those folks are very sympathetic to the Democratic message, and would be very supportive to President Obama.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democratic Save: Rep. Gerry Connolly Defies 2010 Wave With Re-Election

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Freshman Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly of northern Virginia eked out a narrow, belated re-election victory Tuesday after a concession from his Republican challenger, Keith Fimian.

The hotly contested race and its drawn-out conclusion in a key swing district in suburban Washington, D.C., had become a symbols of the depth of voters' discontentment and anti-incumbent sentiment during the midterm campaign.

Connolly received just 981 more votes than Fimian, or 0.4 percent of total votes cast, just two years after winning by 12 points in the same matchup. The narrow margin was sufficient for Fimian to request a taxpayer-funded recount, but his campaign believed it would likely not alter the outcome.

"A few minutes ago, Keith Fimian conceded the election for Virginia's 11th District," Connolly said in a statement. "I thank Keith for a hard-fought campaign, and am humbled and honored that I will be able to continue serving the people of the 11th District for another two years in Congress."

A second-term for Connolly in Virginia's 11th District, one of the wealthiest districts in the country, is a huge save for Democrats, albeit a bittersweet one. The party lost at least 60 House seats in last Tuesday's election, ceding majority control to Republicans.

"This is a suburban, swing district long held by a former Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee [Tom Davis] so it was critically important for Democrats to retain this seat," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman Jesse Ferguson. "And we're proud of the campaign's work, and our work, to get that done."

The DCCC had poured more than $1 million into the race in the final week of the campaign to save the seat.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Va. GOP House Candidate: Give 'Carrot' to Lawmakers Who Balance Budget

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- Keith Fimian, a Republican U.S. House candidate running in northern Virginia, desperately wants Congress to balance the federal budget -- and he’s proposing the unusual idea of tying representatives’ salaries to whether they get the job done.

“Stop spending.  I don’t care what you’ve got to do -- stop spending,” he said in a presentation to a group of George Mason University students earlier this month.  “And look -- I’m okay with this:  Cut my salary in Congress to 50,000 bucks, ‘till I balance the budget.  But when I balance the budget, I want a $250,000 bonus.  If every congressman had that incentive, what do you think would happen?”

The idea of giving “bonuses” to members of Congress hung like ripe fruit for Fimian’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Gerry Connolly, who pounced on the comments and turned them into an attack ad.
“Keith Fimian’s plan to balance the budget?  Give himself and Congress a bonus, costing taxpayers $133 million,” the narrator says.

But Fimian says the ad is unfair and has called his comments a “quip,” a hypothetical taken out of context in his attempt to show how he’d affect change if elected.  His spokesman Tim Edson told the Washington Post’s Ben Pershing that Fimian supports pay cuts, not bonuses.

But when we caught up with Fimian Thursday and asked him to clarify his remarks, he didn’t seem to back away from the idea of incentives for members of Congress.

“I'm ok with cutting $50,000 out of every congressman's salary until the budget is balanced -- and by balanced I do not mean borrowing money. I’m totally in favor of cutting all of our salaries until we balance the budget,” he said.

“Look, I’m not advocating giving a $250,000 bonus if I balance the federal budget.  But penalize me if I don’t, but if there’s going to be a penalty if I don’t, give me a carrot so that I will and if I do.”

It’s unclear just how big Fimian’s “carrot” would be.

“He's quite serious.  There's no humor in it, no laughter in the audience,” said Connolly.  “It's not a quip.  It represents I think his philosophy which is a distorted philosophy of public service.  We don't run for these offices to get rewarded with bonuses when we do our job.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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