AUFC - Sununu Held to Account as Recession Looms

FromTax Cuts for the Rich to Opposing Boosts to Minimum Wage and Heating Assistance to Cutting Blank Checks for Endless War in Iraq – Sen. John Sununu Put Loyalty to Bush Ahead of Struggling NH Families Every Step of the Way

Manchester, NH – In the face of grim forecasts from several leading economists including former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan of a full blown U.S. economic recession in 2008, New Hampshire State Representatives and struggling Manchester residents gathered today to give credit where credit is due by highlighting U.S. Senator John Sununu’s record of enabling the President’s disastrous economic policies – polices that led the country down a path of rising unemployment, a mortgage crisis, record high heating oil prices, the largest increase in inflation in 17 years, gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon, a weak dollar, the $167 billion budget deficit, and a $9.2 trillion national debt. Manchester Reps. Mike Brunelle, Mike Reuschel and Pat Long were joined by Glinda Allen of the Minority Health Coalition, as well as Pauline Hawoth (part-time employee of the Manchester School district; lunch services) and Mark Choate, an unemployed engineer who was laid off in June 2007 and lost his home in September – putting a face on the ordinary New Hampshire folks hit hardest by the upside-down Bush-Sununu economic policies. *See below for Senator Sununu’s voting record putting loyalty to Bush ahead of NH’s working families.

“Senator Sununu’s record in Congress is one of an anti-Robin Hood: someone who votes to give huge tax breaks to the people that need them least, while at the same time voting against any meaningful efforts in Congress that would help struggling low and middle class workers a chance to get ahead,” said Rep.Mike Brunelle of Manchester. “Whether it was opposing the first boost to minimum wage in a decade, or providing home heating assistance, or legislation to fix the broken system for forming unions so that more Americans can bargain for better pay, better benefits and retirement security -- Senator Sununu has stood with President Bush over struggling middle class families at every turn. And the Senator must now be held to account for enabling this President’s disastrous economic policies that led our nation down a path towards the economic instability it finds itself in today.”

"For far too long, Senator John E Sununu has continued to support the failed economic policies of George W Bush. This has directly impacted New Hampshire in a negative way--and we must hold him accountable,” said Rep. Pat Long.

“Be it voting against the minimum wage increase, home heating assistance, or giving the president a blank check for the failed War in Iraq, Senator Sununu has proved he is willing to put politics before people,” Rep. Mike Reuschel. “This kind of destructive support of destructive public policy is the reason why so many people have lost faith their government."

”I am here today because we need to hold Senator John Sununu accountable for continuing to vote against the working families of New Hampshire,” said Glinda Allen of the Minority Health Coalition. “In my role at the Minority Health Coalition, I have seen first hand the injustice of President Bush’s economic policies. Everyday, I work with disadvantaged members of our community—many of whom are struggling to make ends meat because healthcare and energy costs are too high, and wages are too low. One man has continually stood in the way of making progress for the working families of New Hampshire: Senator John Sununu.

“All boats should rise with the tide, not just the yachts, Senator Sununu,” added Brunelle. “Sununu has embraced Bush’s failed trickle-down,“voodoo” economic policies that gives huge tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and peanuts for the middle class Americans who really need relief. The former employers at the paper mill that just closed in Berlin, New Hampshire are still waiting for that “trickle-down” effect to make its way down to them.”

Brunelle added: “Just one example of Sununu’s misguided priorities: In May2006 – despite a $10 billion a month war raging on in Iraq -- Sununu voted for Bush’s $70 billion tax break package that was estimated to only save middle income Americans $20 each while the top tenth of 1 percent (whose average income is $5.3 million) would save $82,415. The reason we’re in serious economic turmoil today is thanks in no small part to the nearly one trillion dollars Bush put on the Americans credit card to police an endless civil war in Iraq. Sununu wants to continue spending 10 billion a month we don’t have in Iraq, which has already had dramatic short term economic consequences and will have even worse long term consequences for our grandchildren who will end up footing the bill.”

“In the face of a major economic downturn, it’s time for Senator Sununu to get his priorities straight – to abandon this President’s upside priorities and stand up for the thousands of struggling Manchester families who will be hit hardest this year,” added Brunelle

Sununu Opposed First Boost to Minimum Wage in a Decade

Sununu Voted Against Raising TheMinimum Wage To $7.25. Sununu voted against an amendment to increase the minimum wagefrom $5.15 to $7.25 over 26 months. The amendment would have provided minimumwage workers their first pay increase in over seven years. Since the lastincrease, the value of the minimum wage has dropped by over 20%. But the Senatehas voted to increase its own pay seven times. [S. 256, Vote #26, 3/7/05]

Sununu Voted Against A Clean MinimumWage Bill. Sununuvoted against a bill that wouldincrease the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over two years. Motion rejected54-43: R 5-43; D 47-0; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #23, HR 2, 1/24/07]

Sununu Voted To Raise His Own Salary. Senator Sununu voted to kill aFeingold amendment that would bar the cost of living adjustment for members ofCongress in fiscal 2004. It would increase Congress’s Pay by 2.2%. The amendment waskilled 60-34. [Vote #406, 10/23/03]

Sununu Voted Against Home Heating Assistance

Sununu Voted Against Legislation ThatWould Provide Home Heating Assistance. Sununu voted against passage of the 2007 Supplementalwhich would have provided home heating assistance to needy families. [HR 1591,Vote #126, 3/29/07; Senator Reed Press Release, 3/22/07]

Sununu Voted Against A ConferenceReport That Would Provide Home Heating Relief. Sununu voted against the 2007 Supplemental conferencereport. The legislation would have provided home heating assistance for thosein need. [HR1591, Vote # 147, 4/26/07]

Sununu Rubberstamped 2001 Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich

Sununu Voted For 2001 Bush Tax CutsThat Gave Most Benefits To The Rich. In 2001, Sununu voted for the final, $1.35 trilliontax cut package. Under the final agreement, the typical tax cut for the medianincome taxpayer would be $600 a year. For the 78 million taxpayers in thelowest 60 percent of the income scale, the tax cut would average $347 a year.In contrast, at the top of the income scale the average tax cut would be$53,000 annually--virtually identical to the $54,000 annual tax cut proposed bythe President. As a result of the plan, after-tax income was estimated to riseabout three times as much among the top one percent of families as among thosein the middle class, and more than seven times faster among the top one percentof families than among the bottom 20 percent of families. [Vote 149, 5/26/01; Citizens forTax Justice, 5/26/01; CBPP , 5/26/01]


Sununu Voted to Make the Bush Tax CutsPermanent. In April 2002, Sununu voted to permanently extend theBush tax cuts, many of which were set to expire in 2010. This included theincome tax rate cut, marriage penalty relief and the estate tax repeal. Themotion passed 229-198. [Vote 103, 4/18/02]

In 2002, Sununu Promised to OpposeAny Effort to Limit Bush Tax Cuts. According to the Nashua Telegraph, Sununupromised to oppose any efforts to postpone or limit Bush’s ten-year taxcut plan. [NashuaTelegraph, 10/22/02]

…And the 2003 Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich

Sununu Cast Crucial Votefor Bush’s Final 2003 Tax Cut Package. In May 2003, Sununu casta crucial vote to approve the final version of President Bush’s $330billion tax cut plan, which passed 50-50 with Vice President Cheney breakingthe tie. Democrats,who were largely shut out of negotiations over the bill, said the bill wouldput the government deeper into debt. The bill benefited taxpayers with incomefrom investments, lowering taxes on capital gains and stock dividends to 15%Previously, investors paid as much as 38.6% tax on dividends and 20% on capitalgains. The bill also accelerated the 2001 income tax cuts. [Pioneer Press, 5/24/03; Vote 196, 5/23/03;AP, 5/23/03]

SununuSaid All of Bush’s Tax Cuts Should be Permanent. In May 2003, Sununu argued that all ofthe Bush tax cuts should have been permanent and accused Democrats that warnedof record deficits of hypocrisy. Sununu said, “I happen to believeit should all be permanent. I think the idea of sun setting reforms--havingthem temporary--one, it messes up people’s planning and investment, andit doesn’t achieve the intended behavioral aspects…” [CNN, Capital Gang , 5/5/03]
Sununu BelievedBush’s Tax Cuts Were Too Small. In March 2003, Sununu was asked about the sizeof the Bush tax cuts and if they should be cut down due to the expectedsupplemental funding request to pay for the Iraq war. Sununu said,“Is it a big package? Relatively speaking, not at all. Itrepresents less than 2 1/2 percent of our nation’s revenue collectionsover the next 10 years.” [NPR, MarketPlace , 3/13/03]

Sununu Voted Against A CompromiseTo Halve New Tax Cuts to $350 Billion. In March 2003, Sununuvoted against a compromise measure to cut new Bush tax cuts in half, to $350billion. The amendment was at the center of a debate between purists - thoseagainst any tax cut at all - and those seeking to do something to trim the sizeof the tax cut while preserving its intent to help the economy. Thepurists argued that cutting taxes was irresponsible, especially because theWhite House had not let Congress know how much it would seek in emergencysupplemental spending to pay for the war in Iraq, a cost expected to rangebetween $65 billion and $100 billion. [Vote 76, 3/21/03;Newsday, 3/22/03]

…And the 2006 Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich

Sununu Voted Three Times forBush’s 2006 Tax Cuts That Cost $60-$70 Billion. In November 2005, Sununu voted for theinitial Senate version of the 2006 tax cuts which then cost $60 billion. In February 2006, Sununu voted for the revised version of the taxreconciliation bill which by then included $70 billion in tax cuts. Finally, in May 2006, Sununu voted for final passage of the $70 billion packagethat extended the 15% rate on capital gains and dividends through 2010 andprotected taxpayers from the AMT in 2006. It was estimated that the bill onlysaved middle income Americans $20 each while the top tenth of 1 percent (whoseaverage income is $5.3 million) would save $82,415. [Vote 118, 5/11/06;Vote 10, 2/2/06;Vote 347, 11/18/05;National Journal’s CongressDaily ,5/12/06; Democratic Policy Committee, 9/26/06New York Times, 5/5/06;Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/11/06; The Hill, 9/28/06;CQ Today, 2/2/06;; Knight Ridder, 11/19/05]


Sununu Rejected $58 Billion Middle-Class TaxCut Alternative. In November 2005, Sununu voted against a $58 billiontax cut package that would have extended expiring tax cuts, including theresearch and development credit and college tuition deduction, and grantedalternative minimum tax relief to working families. “For those who saythey care about fiscal responsibility, for those who say they are concernedabout the explosion of deficits and debt, here is a chance to prove it,”Senator Kent Conrad said of his tax plan. “Here is a chance to vote forthis amendment that will extend the tax provisions that are expiring this yearfor next year’s taxes, and to pay for it by closing abusive taxshelters.” [Vote 330, 11/17/05;Conrad Press Release, 11/17/05]

Miscellaneous Irresponsible Tax Votes

Sununu Supported Trillion-DollarPermanent Estate Tax Repeal. In June 2006, Sununu voted to permanently repeal theestate tax. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the repeal would cost$386.5 billion between 2007 and 2016. It would cost about $1 trillion over thefirst decade in which its costs would be fully felt (2012-2021). Withoutthis bill, the estate tax was set to expire in 2010 after being graduallyreduced since 2001; in 2011, though, it will go back to its original level. Theestate tax affects less than 1% of families nationwide. Critics referred to theproposed repeal as the “Paris Hilton tax break.” This was at leastthe fourth time that Sununu voted to make the estate tax repeal permanent.[Vote 164, 6/8/06;Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/9/06; USA Today,6/9/06; New York Times, 6/9/06; Atlanta Journal-Constitution,6/9/06; Vote 28, 2/13/03;Vote 401, 9/19/02; Vote 219, 6/6/02]

Sununu Voted To Raise Debt Limit AtLeast Six Times to Nearly $9 Trillion. When Bush and Sununu joined each other inWashingtonthe debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Since 2001, Sununu has voted to raisethe debt limit six times bringing the limit to $8.965 Trillion a 50 percentincrease. [Vote 54, 3/16/06;Vote 76, 3/17/05;Vote 213, 11/17/04;Vote 57, 3/11/04;Vote 202, 5/23/03;Vote 279, 6/27/02; AP, 3/16/06;Chicago Tribune, 3/17/06]

Sununu Voted Six Times AgainstRestoring PAYGO Rules. In March 2006, Sununu voted against restoring pay-as-you-go rules thatwould require and 60-vote majority to enact new tax cuts or new spending onentitlements without showing how to pay for them. “For those who say theyare fiscally responsible, here is your chance,” said Sen. Kent Conrad,senior Democrat on the Budget Committee. “You are going to be able toprove with one vote whether you are serious about doing something about theserunaway debts and runaway deficits or whether it is all talk.” This wasthe sixth time since joining the Senate that Sununu voted against restoringPAYGO rules. [Vote 38, 3/14/06;Star Tribune, 3/16/06; New York Times, 3/15/06; Vote 53, 3/16/05;Vote 283, 11/3/05;Vote 340, 11/17/05; Vote 38, 3/10/04; Vote 200, 5/23/03]

Sununu Voted Make it Easier to MakeCostly Tax Cuts Without Having to Find Ways to Pay for it. In March 2005, Sununu voted against an amendmentstruck language in the resolution that gave reconciliation protection to taxcuts. The amendment would have forced the Senate to pay for any newtax cuts either through spending cuts or other taxes or the new tax cut wouldhave faced a sixty vote margin to pass. Supporters argued that it wouldhave provided a way to make tax cuts while still being fiscallyresponsible. [Vote 59, 3/17/05;Congressional Record, 3/17/05]

Sununu Enabled Continued Trillion Dollar, Endless War in Iraq

Sununu voted against debate of a billrequiring redeployment of troops. Sununu voted against debate of an amendmentthat would require the withdrawal U.S.troops from Iraqexcept for limited missions by March 31, 2008. The Levin amendment would commenceredeployment of U.S. troopsfrom Iraqby October 1, 2007, and require full withdrawal within 180 days, but allow thepresident to waive the second requirement. [HR 1495, Vote #167, 5/16/07]

Sununu voted against the EmergencySupplemental Appropriations Bill. Senator Sununu sided with Bush and votedagainst the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that provided fundingfor the troops in Iraqas well as a plan for withdrawal. Sununu voted nay. [H.R.1591, Vote# 126, 3/29/07, passed 51-47]

Sununu sided with Bush and votedagainst bringing the troops home from Iraq. Senator Sununu voted to strikelanguage that would impose a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Sununu voted yea. [S.Amdt.643 to H.R. 1591, Vote# 116, 3/27/07, failed 48-50]

Sununu voted against bringing ourtroops home. Senator Sununu voted against the passage of the joint resolution that wouldestablish a more limited mission for U.S.forces in Iraqand set a non-binding goal of withdrawing most combat troops by March 2008.Sununu voted nay. [S.J.Res. 9, Vote# 75, 3/15/07, failed 48-50]

Sununu Blocked Debate onBush’s Escalation Plan in Senate, Used Filibuster. On February 5,2007, Senator Sununu voted to block debate on a resolution opposingBush’s escalation of the Iraqwar by sending over 21,000 additional troops there. The resolution which theRepublicans blocked debate on was a bipartisan one authored mostly byRepublican Senator John Warner. [Vote #44, 2/5/07; New York Times, 2/6/07]

Sununu voted against redeployment ofAmerican troops out of Iraqin 2006. SenatorSununu voted against the Levin-Reed Amendment, which urged the Administrationto begin a phased redeployment of American troops out of Iraq in 2006. Sununu voted nay. [S.Amdt. 4320 to C.R. 6090-6091, Vote#182, 6/22/06, failed 39-60]

Sununu voted against redeployingtroops out of Iraq. Senator Sununu voted against anamendment that would require the president to begin redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq this year and to complete thewithdrawal by July 1, 2007, according to a schedule coordinated with the Iraqigovernment. It would stipulate that only the minimal number of forces needed totrain Iraqi security forces, launch targeted counterterrorism attacks andprotect the forces could remain in Iraq. [S 2766, SAmdt 4442, Vote #181, 6/22/06]

Sununu Voted Against Holding ThePresident Accountable For A Plan To Bring Troops Safely Out of Iraq. Senator Sununu voted against anamendment which would have held the Bush Administration accountable by requiringit to submit a plan for Iraqestimated withdrawal dates for U.S.troops. Sununu voted nay. [S. Amdt. 2519 to S. 1042, Vote#322, 11/15/2005, failed 40-58]

Anti-Labor Votes

Sununu Voted Against Bill to FixBroken System for Forming Unions. Sununu voted against allowing a vote on theEmployee Free Choice Act – a bill that would help fix a broken system forforming unions and bargaining for better pay, improved benefits and retirementsecurity. The bill would have amended the National Labor Relations Act toestablish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assistlabor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair laborpractices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. MotionRejected 51-48. [SenateVote #227, HR 800, 6/26/07]

Sununu Voted Against An AmendmentThat Limited Exploitation. Sununu rejected an amendment that would have providedmore resources to limit exploitation by employers and expand enforcement oflabor protections for all workers. [S.AMDT.4106, Vote #141, 5/23/06]

Sununu Voted AgainstIncreasing Unemployment Insurance. Sununu voted against increasing spendingon unemployment insurance by $16.3 billion in 2003 and 2004 by reducing theBush tax cuts. The amendment would have doubled the UI benefits to a 26 weekperiod and it would have expanded the benefits to include part-time andlow-wage workers. [SCR23, Vote #85, 3/25/03]

SununuVoted Against Requiring U.S. Companies To Invest Foreign Profits In United States. Sununu votedagainst S. Amendment 3117 to SB 1637, which would have “Republicans alsodefeated an amendment by Senator John Breaux, Democrat of Louisiana, that wouldhave forced companies to actually invest in the United States any of the foreignprofits they bring back into the country during the tax holiday. To encouragecompanies to reinvest that money in the United States, the Senate billwould give them one year to bring back those profits, which would be taxed at arate of only 5 percent rather than the standard 35 percent corporaterate.” [New York Times, Andrews, 5/6/04; Vote #81, 5/5/04]

Sununu’s Labor Scorecard

Labor Group

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Service Employees International Union

NA

NA

NA

0%

16%

0%

8%

0%

0%

13%

Teamsters

0%

0%

NA

0%

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

NA

NA

NA

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

20%

12%

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

17%

NA

0%

NA

0%

25%

0%

0%

33%

20%

AFL-CIO

0%

NA

0%

10%

0%

13%

0%

0%

17%

13%

American Federation of Government Employees

21%

7%

NA

0%

0%

0%

11%

11%

8%

NA

United Auto Workers

0%

17%

0%

0%

8%

0%

25%

0%

7%

0%

AFSCME

13%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

International Association of Fire Fighters

NA

NA

11%

11%

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

[Project Vote Smart, accessed 1/17/08]

The Bush-Sununu Economy

WHEN BUSH STARTED

NOW

College Tuition [ i]

$11,380

$14,629

Gas prices [ ii]

$1.37

$3.09

Unemployment Rates [ iii]

4.2 %

5 %

Uninsured Americans

39 Million

47 million

Home Heating Oil Prices [ iv]

$1.40

$3.39

Crude Oil Prices Per Barrel [ v]

$29.59

$94.77

Median Household Income

$49,163

$48, 023

Budget: Deficit/Surplus

$236 Billion Surplus

$167 Billion Deficit

National Debt

$5.7 Trillion

$9.2 Trillion

Consumer Credit Debt

$7.65 Trillion

$12.8 Trillion



[i] National Center for Education Statistics,http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76

[ii] Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_history.html,Accessed 1/15/08

[iii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=LNS14000000,Accessed 12/10/07

[iv] Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_petroleum_status_report/current/pdf/tablec1.pdf;http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/brochure/heatingoil2006/index.html

[v] Energy Information Administration,http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/rwtcM.htm