The Maine Democrat stands alone, once again, in opposition to Biden’s bill
Democratic Representative Jared Golden of Maine is again at odds with his party, voting Friday against an expanded social and environmental bill that President Joe Biden has hailed as “another giant step forward” for the country.
After casting the only Democratic vote against the legislation, Golden criticized the bill and said it would not support what he described as a $280 billion tax break for millionaires.
“I don’t think people should accept things like this as the price of doing business,” he told The Associated Press in an interview.
This isn’t the first time that Golden has stood alone, at least among Democrats, in voting against one of Biden’s top priorities. He was the only Democratic member of Congress to oppose the Biden administration’s $1.9 billion COVID-19 relief package in March, which he said was “too big, too fast” and contributed to creeping inflation. “I will stand by this vote as well,” he said.
It’s all part of a delicate political balancing act for Golden, a Marine veteran who serves an increasingly conservative area in rural Maine. His district, which covers roughly four-fifths of Maine’s area, voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 even as she sent Gold to Congress for a second term. Republicans have made it a prime target as they try to retake the House of Representatives in next year’s election.
His decision to break ranks in Biden’s bill drew some contempt on Twitter on Friday. A few critics described him as a dyno, or “a Democrat in name only”.
Golden shrugged off the criticism. He said he’s not worried about himself, but about Democrats in general if they want to hold onto a congressional majority in the midterm elections.
He said his opposition to Biden’s bill centered on the state and local tax deduction, in which the $10,000 ceiling would be raised to $80,000. He said 88% of millionaires will get a median tax break of $17,000, while just over 1% of the benefits will go to people making less than $100,000. Those people would return $20 or $30 under the allowance, he said.
That’s not what Democrats should support, Golden said.
“Sometimes the truth hurts,” he said.
The good news, he said, is that the bill will be reviewed in the Senate. He said he expected those negotiations to produce a final version of the bill that he could support.
Golden noted that Biden pledged months ago that the public proposal would be funded by the wealthy who do not pay their share of taxes.
“We need to make it happen,” he said.
Sharp reported from Portland, Maine.
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