Kuster charts a ‘bipartisan’ course

2nd District Congresswoman Ann Kuster is one of six House Agriculture Committee Democrats who voted with the Republican majority and approved legislation last week that would deregulate Wall Street derivatives.

Huffington Post reports the proposed legislation “would expand taxpayer support for derivatives and create broad new trading loopholes allowing banks to shirk risk management standards created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank bill:”

Prior to the vote, the top Democrat on the Agricultural Committee, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), gave a speech warning that the legislation could repeat the deregulation debacles of the 1990s.

"You’re putting taxpayers on the hook…. At the time we did the Modernization Act, there were $80 billion in swaps, in derivatives. We gave ‘em legal certainty, we eliminated the regulation requirements, and it went to $700 trillion and it blew up on us. So just be careful: You can vote any way you want, but this could come back and haunt you."

Kuster’s vote repeats a pattern of siding with House Republicans on key legislation.

Kuster, who represents the more Democratic of the the state’s two congressional districts, was one of 86 Democrats who crossed party lines in January and supported a Republican measure that tied a raise in the debt ceiling to congressional pay.

Kuster said she voted for the measure to “remove the immediate threat of default and ensure that America will continue to meet its obligations.” 1st District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter voted against the bill. “The debt ceiling should not be tied to any political issue, no matter how desirable the goal may be,” she explained.

In February, Kuster again split with Shea-Porter and joined 43 Democrats who voted with the Republican majority to block a 0.5% pay raise for federal workers. “Leadership should concentrate on closing loopholes and reforming the tax code instead of shrinking middle class wages,” said Shea-Porter.

In a series of budget votes last week, Kuster was one of 35 Democrats who crossed the aisle and voted against the Senate Democratic budget and one of 28 who voted against the House Democratic budget. Kuster said the budget proposals did not “reflect the type of bipartisan compromise that New Hampshire families expect and deserve.”

Shea-Porter supported the Democratic budgets, noting they would “protect the middle class by investing in things like education, transportation, and research and development” and would “reduce the deficit in a balanced manner that closes tax loopholes, replaces sequestration’s irresponsible cuts, keeps our commitment to seniors, and cuts spending through a targeted and steady approach.“