NewsOn6.com and Wire Reports
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oklahoma's two GOP senators voted Wednesday on opposite sides of a massive tax package that passed the U.S. Senate.
The $858 billion package would save thousands of dollars in higher taxes while also reducing Social Security taxes and extending jobless benefits.
The tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush are scheduled to expire on January 1, 2011.
The bill passed the U.S. Senate 81 to 19.
Senator Dr. Tom Coburn voted no and was among five GOP senators to vote no. Coburn balked at the price tag, noting that Obama's deficit commission recently outlined the massive fiscal problems facing the nation.
Senator Tom Coburn statement:
"I understand the argument that this may have been the best tax compromise we could have achieved in the short term. Yet, this bill does not represent a tough compromise. This bill is an easy compromise that avoids the hard choices facing the country while indulging in parochial spending through the tax code. Our national debt is the greatest threat to our national security, yet Congress refuses to make the hard choices necessary to reduce spending and put us on a sustainable course. Even a perfect tax reform deal would not be enough to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in if Congress is not willing to make hard choices about the size and scope of government."
Senator Jim Inhofe voted yes for the tax bill saying it was the right thing to do.
Senator Jim Inhofe statement:
"We must stop playing politics with the extension of these tax cuts. Taxpayers deserve better than to have politicians playing games with their wallets. I could not, in good conscience, vote against a measure of which 94 percent are tax benefits for individuals and employers. The Senate has acted, and now it is up to the House to do the same so that every American isn't faced with smaller paychecks and higher tax rates. The tax bill is far from perfect, but not passing the measure would cost thousands of Oklahoma jobs, increase individual income taxes by $4.4 billion, and cost every Oklahoman an average of roughly $2,800. That is not an option, and I hope the House acts swiftly."
The bill now moves to the U.S. House for consideration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.