Two weeks ago on September 15th, Matheson brought together 30 other Democrats in opining a short but to-the-point Statement to Speaker Pelosi (found on the Congressman's website front page) on their position on extending the tax cuts. Being the brainchild of Matheson, the Utah Congressman was the first to sign the statement which concluded:
At face value, the statement appeared to have a positive effect, prompting Pelosi to suggest that a vote to extend the tax cuts could come before the November elections.
We urge quick passage of legislation to extend the tax cuts so that American families and businessess have the certainty required to plan and make informed decisions. The sooner we act, the sooner our nation's economy will benefit.
In an interview just a week ago with KSL's veteran Doug Wright (btw, congrats to Doug who Thursday just won Utah's first individual Marconi Award) Matheson made it clear that the tax cut vote should come before the November elections:
Wright: Congressman what are your thoughts about putting off this vote until after the election? I have to be honest with you, Jim, it feels a little chicken to me.
Matheson: I feel like I may just repeat what you just said [chuckling] over the last
three minutes. Listen, not only should it not be put off till the election, the fact is it should have been done a long time ago. [full audio at KSL; emphasis mine]
A vote seemed plausible until suddenly Wednesday, Congress voted 209-209 to adjourn. Matheson shockingly sided with the in the 209 voting to adjourn without addressing the tax cut extension, let alone the matter of shirking their fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. This set up Matheson's friend and leader Pelosi to cast a tie breaking vote to adjourn and send her followers home to try and salvage their widely-forecasted large loss of seats in the House.
So how can Matheson who days before said "NO!" to Doug Wright in adjourning early, suddenly vote the opposite? Because that is precisely the kind of sneaky-vote politician Matheson has become. Matheson's voting record has brought shame to our great state.
By Thursday morning it became apparent the beehive had broke off its limb and the hornets were in full swarm. In naming a few, Blogger Holly on the Hill was all over the "Phantom Jim" vote. Doug Wright was justifyably livid and for an hour rebuked the Congressman for his vote. [Full audio archive; program begins about 6 minute mark]. Thomas Burr at the Salt Lake Tribune had Matheson in complete denial of any involvement linking the adjournment vote to the tax cuts, blaming it insead on "politics":
Just before Wright's program Thursday on KSL, Matheson claimed the following in trying to justify his vote:
Any suggesting that this adjournment vote had something to do with cutting
taxes is just playing politics, Matheson said. That’s really what’s going on.
There was no reason to stay. The bill was never going to be brought up. The Senate wasn’t going to move its bill. I think it’s important for members go out and be with their constituents and hear from them. I hope that will get some people in a better frame of mind for addressing this issue.To Mr. Matheson I have but this to say this about your newest turncoat vote: you will surely indeed hear from your constituents.