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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Report: Democrats Target Shays But Congressional Votes Can be Confusing

Today’s Hartford Courant spotlights an effort by Democrats to discredit Rep. Christopher Shays, the incumbent 4th District Republican who will face Westport Democratic First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell in November.

“Democrats were waiting in the bunker as Chris Shays voted on the budget earlier this month,” the newspaper said in a report from Washington.

“Voting with the majority on the House Budget Committee, he turned back repeated efforts by Democrats to add money for a host of programs by scaling back tax breaks for the wealthy.”

The newspaper said the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pounced, accusing Shays of “creating soaring deficits” and “masquerading as a moderate in Connecticut while voting for a far right wing agenda in Washington.”

Republicans quickly struck back, the Courant said.

GOP operatives produced a 10-year history of votes by. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a 3rd District Democrat who is a minority member of Shays’ committee, against middle-class tax cuts.

Among them: a May 2003 vote against legislation that would have increased the child credit and softened the “marriage penalty.”

“Technically, both sides were providing accurate information about budget votes,” the newspaper said.

“What they were not providing was context or nuance. Shays is indeed moderate, to the point of infuriating some of his more conservative Republican colleagues.

“He voted against the budget Thursday, saying GOP leaders had not given him adequate assurance they would work hard to cut the deficit.”

The report said DeLauro has a history of backing help for the middle class, including child-care tax breaks and reducing marriage penalties. She recently proposed increasing the credit again.

In fact, the votes Shays, and DeLauro were criticized for ultimately would have little significance in the congressional process, the Courant said.

“But in this era of opposition research and instant advertising, the votes meant a lot,” according to the newspaper.

“Politicians are discovering that they’re trapped in a system that in many ways they created to help themselves - a system in which it’s easy to get recorded votes on nearly everything.”

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Posted 03/30/04 at 04:04 AM  Permalink



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