Tisei would empower the people in Congress whom Tierney loathes — tea party Republicans like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor who, Tierney says, want to cut taxes for the wealthy, cut programs for the poor, cut education spending, introduce vouchers for Medicare and hurt the middle class.
“America doesn’t need that, and the people in the district don’t need that,” he said of the Republican agenda. “I owe it to them not to allow another tea party enabler.”
Tisei, who would be the first openly gay Republican congressman, is widely viewed as a moderate on social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, and conservative on fiscal issues. Tierney contends that, behind Tisei’s well-crafted veil of moderation, there is a right-wing Republican who will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes on the rich and end Medicare as we know it.
“The press is not as nuanced on it as it should be on this,” Tierney said of Tisei. “If he’s gay, they say he must be a moderate. ... But if he is really against (the Republican agenda), he should not vote to put those people (Republican leadership) in charge.”
Tierney, who is 61, has spent 16 years in Congress, adhering to principles that could only be described as liberal. His main motivation to be in public office, he said, was the chance to help people.
“There is a real opportunity to do good, that’s what drove me to run for office,” he said. “That still exists.”
He has consistently voted against tax cuts for the rich.
He voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that lowered tax rates across the board and reduced treasury revenue by more than $1 trillion since then. In 2010, he voted against extending those tax cuts, bucking President Barack Obama and a majority of House Democrats. During that vote, Republicans threatened not to extend unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans unless the tax cuts were part of the deal. Despite pressure from his own party to take the compromise, Tierney stood firm in opposition.