Dueling Delawareans:Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Tom Carper

    I have known both men, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Tom Carper for a very long time, with nothing but tremendous respect for both of them even when I disagreed with their point of view. So I won’t be taking side on the disagreement in their vote on the “Fiscal Cliff” bill. But you can.


    Vice President Biden played a major role in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and its passage that saved us from a financial disaster. Preventing tax increases for the middle class and, finally, having a bipartisan agreement in both houses of Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy, for the first time in decades.

    The Republicans had no choice but to agree to the Presidents demands. They knew a failure to agree would lead to tax increases for the middle class and continued tax cuts for the rich and they would bear the blame. Score a big one for President Obama.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    The House vote was 257 in favor and 167 opposed, including 16 Democrats and 151 Republicans.

    Both Delaware Representative John Carney and Delaware Senator Chris Coons, Democrats, voted in favor of the measure.

    But Delaware Democratic Senator Tom Carper doesn’t see thing their way. He was one of the 8 Senators voting against the bill. And Delawareans want to know why.

    Media reports (including ones on newsworks) tell us that Senator Caper said the deal, “was not the grand bargain that I, and many of us had hoped for, and that’s why I ultimately voted against it”.

    He commended Vice President Biden for his work in saving us from “some of the bad elements of the Fiscal Cliff”, but went on to say “there was a better way to solve this problem and we should have seized the opportunity to do so”. Carper told reporters, members of Congress have been aware for a long time there is a need to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, to significantly increase tax revenues, but the Biden deal does none of that he said.

    It seems to me that Senator Carper has forgotten President Obama’s repeated pledge to deal with all of those matters at a later date. And when he does, it will most likely be a more difficult job than passage of the “Fiscal Cliff” measure, since the majority of the Americans oppose any major changes to entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. The Senator also mentioned another matter missing from the “Fiscal Cliff” package. In two months lawmakers will be faced once again with the problem of raising the nation’s debt limit. But he forgot to mention the fact that President Obama already has that problem under consideration.

    One can well understand Senator Carper’s concerns about these matters, but we can all find relief in knowing the President has it all under control, ready to deal with the Senators concerns when the time comes. But those matters were purposely put aside until another day, in order to save the middle class from facing tax increases that would have made it a not so “Happy New Year”.  

    John Watson is a former Wilmington radio talk show host and contributor to newsworks.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal