We are pleased that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, did the right thing and showed some independence in voting for the tax package designed to avoid the fiscal cliff. Since joining Congress two years ago, he has regularly voted the party line and even aligned with the tea party rookies who seemed more intent on blocking the president than getting things done.
Denham has voted in lock step with south valley Republicans Devin Nunes of Visalia and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. With this week's vote, he went his own way. His explanation to McClatchy's Washington, D.C., reporter Michael Doyle was logical that the bill makes the tax cuts permanent, thereby eliminating the uncertainty for the great majority of individuals in his new 10th Congressional District, which includes all of Stanislaus County and a part of San Joaquin.
This is a relatively low income area and not a lot of people will face the income tax increase, which will hit individuals making more than $400,000 a year and families making more than $450,000. All workers will see the payroll (Social Security) tax return to its previous level of 6.2 percent. While some decry this as a tax increase on everyone, we see it as letting a tax cut expire and helping to address the Social Security funding issue.
Big decisions remain about how to reduce the deficit, and we know we won't always agree with Denham. But we hope to see more examples of him voting for what he considers best for his constituents, displaying independence from the party pack.