Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Robert Winningham is criticizing Republican incumbent Todd Young for switching votes on the payroll tax cut compromise last week.
Initially, Young voted against the Senate compromise and defended the Republican-controlled House for doing so, saying the short-term extension would hurt small business owners.
However, growing political pressure from President Obama, Democrats and Senate Republicans put the GOP House under immense pressure. Three days later, Young joined his GOP colleagues and supported the two-month extension, which Mr. Obama signed before the holiday recess.
Winningham says he’s glad Young eventually supported the compromise, but he then accused the freshman of flip-flopping and being in the hip pocket of the Tea Party.
“For Todd Young it was a flip-flop, because earlier in the week he was criticizing his Republican colleagues in the Senate for taking a bipartisan to extend this payroll tax,” he says. “When someone is arguing vehemently against that kind of bipartisanship and then turning around three days later to vote for it, I call that a flip-flop.”
Young criticized Senators for leaving Washington while the House remained to negotiate, specifically calling out his home-state U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-In., who had previously denounced House Republican for not accepting the compromise when it first came up for a vote.
“Congressman Young will begin campaigning next year when the time is appropriate, so we don’t have any direct response to the political attacks,” says spokesman Trevor Foughty, adding the original bipartisan consensus was for a full year extension of the payroll tax. “Congressman Young supported the original full measure, and he’s glad that the House and Senate have reached a point where we can come back in January and get a full measure enacted.”
The agreement puts the dispute over extending the payroll tax break into the presidential election race and continues a divisive debate over how to pay for the tax relief.
Winningham says he would have supported the Senate bill despite misgivings over certain policy riders and believes Congress can pass a one-year extension.
“And obviously there’s going to have to be some give and take. I’m okay with that, but to say that you’re not going to vote from the onset for two more months of negotiations I think is flat wrong. Hoosiers and Americans expect better than that from our elected officials,” he says.
Winningham will face Jonathan George in next year’s Democratic primary.