Rep. Gerry Connolly, seeking a second term in the U.S. Congress from the 11th District of eastern Fairfax County, told a joint luncheon meeting of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and Merrifield Business Association at the Italian Cafe Tuesday that he supports a temporary extension of the Bush tax cut to all Americans, including those making over $250,000 a year. The statement surprised some in the audience who had heard Connolly insist that he is “not breaking with my president” at a Labor Day barbecue two weeks ago at the home of State Del. Jim Scott.
Connolly said he supported only a temporary extension of the tax cut for the rich, however, arguing it is needed because “you shouldn’t raise taxes in a recession” and the top five percent of income earners in the U.S. account for 30 percent of all consumer spending, and that spending is essential to a recovery. “It must only be temporary, however,” he added, noting that over the long term the tax cut for the rich will cost the economy $3.7 trillion over 10 years. “But this is too delicate a moment,” he added. Connolly also lashed out at Defense Secretary Gates’ call for pulling in 10 percent of all outsourced government defense contracts to within the Pentagon. “The first to go will be the small contractors,” he said. “There will be no cost reduction involved. I will resist it with every fiber of my being.” Connolly’s Republican opponent in the November election, Keith Fimian, issued a statement calling Connolly’s “flip flop” on extended the tax cut a campaign ploy that he plans to reverse after election day.