Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Dozens of Democrats Defect, Join GOP on Research Tax Cut

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite Pelosi’s admonishments, 63 Democrats crossed party lines to back a research and development tax cut. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Scores of Democrats rebuffed the White House and their own leadership on Friday, voting for a bill to permanently extend a tax cut encouraging companies to invest in research and development.

The vote passed 274-131, with 62 Democrats breaking with their party to vote with all but one Republican to pass the bill.

President Barack Obama’s administration and House Democratic leaders had panned the bill because it does not offset the cost of the tax credits. The administration issued a veto threat earlier this week.

The defections are particularly striking because at a private meeting immediately preceding the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, Assistant Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen of Maryland sharply admonished Democrats planning to vote for the bill.

Voting “yes,” they argued, sets a precedent for a half-dozen more tax extenders Republicans plan to bring to the floor without offsets, and the budget cuts needed to pay for them will ostensibly come from Democratic priorities.

Aides present at the closed-door meeting Friday said Pelosi had particularly harsh words for her colleagues inclined to defect — at one point questioning their integrity, according to a source in the meeting.

“This totally undermines any claim of fiscal rectitude. … It is such a fraud,” Hoyer told CQ Roll Call after the meeting. “I talked to some members … who said, ‘Well I’m for the R&D tax credit.’ Well I’m for it too, but I’m for fiscal responsibility.”

Pelosi, Hoyer and other Democratic leaders, citing the R&D vote, have argued that if Republicans can pass the tax credit without offsetting it with cuts elsewhere in the budget, they should do so with a long-term unemployment insurance as well.

Republicans have countered that the tax credit has been extended on a short-term basis for decades without being offset, so to ask for offsets now flies in the face of precedent.

The 62 Democrats who voted “yes” represent a wide swath of the caucus’ political spectrum, from moderate-minded freshmen to typically reliable party-liners like John B. Larson of Connecticut and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.

Blumenauer told CQ Roll Call after the vote that he has voted in favor of the same tax credit for years, so voting against it would have been hypocritical. He also said it does not matter as much because the tax credit will not pass in this form in the Senate.

“It has been extended unpaid for 10 times. In essence, this has been extended permanently,” Blumenauer said. “I didn’t feel comfortable [voting against] something that I have voted to extend repeatedly unpaid for, like Republicans and Democrats, and because this is a broader interaction between the House and Senate, I don’t see any risk in being consistent.”

  • mabramso

    Shrewd move by the GOP.

  • F Michael Addams

    ” I don’t see any risk in being consistent.”..Genius at work…

  • voltaic

    Spineless Democrats and thuggish GOP bust the budget for tax cuts for wealthy corporations that avoid paying taxes while GOP and Dems cut food stamps to hungry kids and end unemployment aid to millions of American workers and veterans. Real classy…

  • PortageMain

    If 62 Republicans defied their leadership, the interweb would be full of columns predicting the End Of The Republican Party.
    62 Democrats vote against the leadership….[crickets]

  • Eric Johnson

    I bet Obama will veto…..Companies making money don’t need tax credits! They need to pay their fair share. Ugh..

    • MyNightmare

      And the left’s constituency groups still haven’t realized that their party leaders are in bed with big business just like the RINO leaders.

    • worn out 123

      That thinking is what got so many American corporations to run to more tax FRIENDLY countries. They can pay 15% in Ireland or twice as much in America. CEO’s are paid to maximize profits. That’s how they earn their living. If one expects corporations to return, our tax structure must be compete with other nations and we’re simply not doing it. Now, we wonder where the jobs went.???

  • erick

    Be consistent, the dinosaurs have always it that way. Follow all the lemmings going over the cliff. The federal extended unemployment has been passed by both parties in the past. But now the extended unemployment must be paid for, so should the tax extenders.


    The realization has sunk in, no money from the private sector, no government elites or leeches. That must have created a blood clot…..

  • G26

    In related video, Trey Gowdy calls out delusional lunatic Nancy Peolosi for being “mind numbingly” stupid:


    Time to take out politicians on both sides of the aisle gang and it is going to get messy. Get ready to bounce the ones that are not working for Freedom and for WE THE PEOPLE! This is on both sides–They need to stop NOT working for the masses. They are all bought out –This is important to note.

  • Paul Brown

    This really doesn’t man a thing, this is jut a bunch of demoncraps that love their jobs more and the hell with the party. They just want to keep their jobs. The demoncraps will go back to their evil ways if they get re-elected again

  • William Neal Fancher Jr

    Pelosi and the Dems have the audacity to talk about the need to “offset” the tax cuts, when they have not offset any spending with cuts, reduction or elimination of programs and services.

  • mrmano_0

    democrats are completely responsible.for this unemployment extension mess. Harry reid prevented the extension from being added to the budget. Democratic Senators whittled the Republican proposal down to 5 months from the 12 month months Republicans originally proposed.

    Harry reid has kept millions of Americans from the help they desperately need and deserve.

    That’s all Democrats that have created this misery…

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