July 15, 2011 - 10:47 am

BY WESLEY P. HESTER

U.S. Senate candidates Timothy M. Kaine and George Allen continue to spar over the debt ceiling debate, with Kaine highlighting Allen’s previous votes as senator and Allen slamming Kaine on taxes.

Allen has said he would not support any debt ceiling deal absent a balanced budget amendment, deep spending cuts and future spending caps, but no tax increases. Kaine has said increased tax revenues — primarily through the elimination of loopholes and allowing Bush-era tax cuts on high earners to expire — should be a part of any grand bargain. 

“On the campaign trail, George Allen tells voters he’s for ‘ironclad spending cuts.’ What he doesn’t tell them is, when given the chance to vote for those ‘ironclad spending cuts,’ he stood with Republicans against legislation that would have required Congress to spend only what it could pay for,” said a release from Kaine’s camp.

The reference is to a 2003 vote in which Allen voted against an amendment to debt limit legislation that would have restored pay-as-you-go rules.

Kaine’s release also points to the fact that Allen voted for four debt ceiling increases during his time in Congress.

“George Allen’s record tells voters everything they need to know. If, in 2003, Allen and his fellow Republicans had supported pay-as-you-go legislation with the debt ceiling increase he voted for, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” said Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine.

“Now Allen’s fighting to protect tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations while asking middle class Americans to bear the burden of his so-called ‘spending cuts,’” she added.

Allen, meanwhile, is taking Kaine to task for proposing that revenues raised through taxes need to be a part of any debt ceiling deal.

“It’s disappointing but not surprising that Chairman Kaine is taking up the cause of his allies in Washington who have pushed us to the brink with trillions of dollars in reckless spending and now call for a trillion dollars of tax increases to fix it,” said Allen campaign spokesman Bill Riggs. 

“It’s been a typical and unfortunate pattern for him,” Riggs added. “As Governor he called for billions in tax increases and his tenure was marked with over 100,000 lost jobs in Virginia.  It appears as U.S. Senator nothing would change.”

The release from Allen’s camp also pointed to Kaine’s decision as governor to shutter rest stops after a proposed tax increase was rejected; noting that the Virginia Department of Transportation soon found it had a surplus.

“This is Chairman Kaine’s pattern – insist on tax payers footing the bill for wasteful spending initiatives,” Riggs said.