Franken says Obama “punted on first down.”

DFL Sen. Al Franken is explaining his vote for a tax cut deal that would extend the Bush era tax cuts.

In his e-mail to supporters, Franken calls the vote “the hardest vote I’ve ever taken.” Franken, who voted for the deal to move forward on Monday, said President Obama “punted on first down.” The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later today. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar also voted for the bill.

Here’s Franken’s full e-mail:

A lot of people are unhappy that the President punted on first down, and I’m one of them. Extending the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy. It’s bad policy.

But for Minnesota’s middle class, struggling to get by in a tough economy, there’s a lot in this bill that will really help: tax cuts for working families, a payroll tax holiday, energy tax credits, and the extension of Recovery Act initiatives that are already making a difference.

And for the Minnesotans truly suffering right now-men, women, and children on the edge of economic disaster-the alternative is simply unacceptable. If we let Republicans block unemployment benefits, even temporarily, there will be a lot more pain for working families, a lot more homeless kids spending Christmas in a shelter or a car.

If this is the prelude of a permanent extension of the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy, we’re in big trouble. We’ll lose our ability to make the investments we need to grow our way out of long-term budget deficits: education, infrastructure, and research and development. And I am taking the President at his word that he will fight harder to put an end to these wasteful tax breaks in 2012 than he did in 2010.

This isn’t a great deal by any stretch of the imagination. But I got into this line of work because I wanted to stand up for Minnesota families trying to put food on the table and build a better life for their kids. And, for them, the only thing worse than a bad deal would be no deal at all. That’s why I voted yes yesterday-and why I will continue my fight for economic policies that create jobs, address our deficit problem, and build new opportunities for Minnesota.

  • Mr. Franken punted also.

    Mr. Franken stated on Sunday that he was going to offer an amendment to address the Social Security re-direction … but he never did.

    The final vote was overwhelming … his vote was meaningless … it was a diverse group of Senators who voted no … Dems like Feingold and Conservatives like DeMint. Mr. Franken should have voted NO …

    Mr. Franken also errored earlier when he voted against Senator Coburn’s amendment which would have offset some of the cost … did this legislation need a tax cut for Puerto Rican rum and NASCAR … even television production companies.