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Virginia Democrats Break Ranks On Tax Cuts

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Retiring Democratic Senator Jim Webb has broken with party ranks on the Bush-era tax cuts.
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Retiring Democratic Senator Jim Webb has broken with party ranks on the Bush-era tax cuts.

Retiring Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb bucked his party leaders and voted to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He's one of a growing number of Democrats in the region breaking with their party on tax policy.

The Democratic Party isn't portraying a unified message on taxes at least not in Virginia. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats voted to let tax cuts expire for wealthy Americans, but they did so without the help of Senator Webb. He wants to tweak the tax code so wealthy people can't reap as much profit from investments, but he says other than that, the Bush-era tax cuts shouldn't be touched.

"I just happen to believe we need to keep them in place for everyone who is making their income through what we call ordinary earned income," says Webb.

Webb is retiring, and the Democrat vying for his seat is also breaking with party leaders on tax policy. Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine says he only wants to let the tax cuts expire for people making half a million dollars a year. Still other Virginia Democrats are frustrated with the entire debate.

Congressman Bobby Scott says the party should fight to let them all expire instead of agreeing to massive spending cuts. "I will guarantee you that letting the tax cuts expire will look a lot less unpopular than the alternative," he said.

The debate will roll on through Election Day.

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