The federal budget bill that squeaked through the House of Representatives on Thursday did so with no support from the members of Congress who represent parts of the greater Capital Region.
U.S. Reps. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who have generally been reliable votes for the House Republican leadership, both voted against the budget, which passed the House by a 216-212 vote.
The bill received no Democratic support, and 20 Republicans voted against it, including seven Republicans from New York. In addition to Faso and Stefanik, they were Dan Donovan of Staten Island, John Katko of Syracuse, Peter King of Massapequa, Claudia Tenney of New Hartford and Lee Zeldin of Patchogue.
The vote will ease the path for a controversial tax reform bill that would include elimination of the deduction for state and local income and property taxes, a popular middle-class homeowner deduction. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., appeared in Bethlehem on Monday to denounce the plan because it's expected to raise taxes for many New Yorkers.
All three local representatives issued statements to explain their votes:
Rep. John Faso, R-19th Congressional District: "I remain committed to the belief that we need comprehensive tax reform to benefit upstate New York families and increase economic growth. We must provide middle-class tax relief and lower the burdens on job-creating small business. I could not, however, vote in support of a budget resolution that singled out for elimination the ability of New York families to deduct state and local taxes. I am committed to finding a solution by working with the administration, congressional leadership and members of both parties to reform our tax code in a manner that works for middle-class families in upstate New York and allows our economy to grow."
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-21st Congressional District: "While I am a strong advocate for comprehensive tax reform that will make our tax code fairer and simpler for families and businesses in our district, I have concerns with language in this budget resolution related to eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes. I remain committed to achieving comprehensive tax reform and will be working with my colleagues in the New York delegation to address the state and local tax deduction issue in a final tax plan."
Rep. Paul Tonko, D-20th Congressional District: "Borrowing over $2 trillion to spend on a tax cut for the rich does not seem to be the relief the middle class and working poor need right now. Why would you ask me to support this lopsided legislation?"
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate minority leader: "The struggle Republicans had in passing the budget shows how uncomfortable many of them are with eliminating the state and federal deduction. In the weeks ahead, Democrats will do everything we can to preserve it and work to defeat any tax proposal that favors the wealthy few over the middle class many."