Todd Tiahrt indicated that a vote by Jerry Moran, his congressional colleague and chief opponent in the Republican Senate race in Kansas, undercut the chances of President George W. Bush's tax cuts from becoming permanent.
It was a claim that Moran called "bogus."
Tiahrt made the charge today during a debate hosted by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.
He said Moran's vote in 2003 against a Republican budget resolution put the GOP in a "weaker position."
"Had he stood with us on the first round of Bush tax cuts," Tiahrt argued, "we would have had a stronger position to negotiate with the Senate. We could have had (the cuts) permanent."
All of the cuts will expire Dec. 31 if Congress does not act to change that.
After the debate, Moran said Tiahrt's claim is a "bogus idea."
He said he voted for the Bush tax cuts every time there was a straight up-and-down vote in the House.
"I voted against a resolution that was a broad outline of the budget," he said. "I voted against it because I still felt we were spending too much money.
When the topic came up during the debate, Moran said, "My message to my Republican leaders was, 'Yes, cut taxes, but get in line with spending.' "
He said the budget proposed in the resolution in 2003 had an estimated deficit of $490 billion.
Following the debate, Tiahrt said, "He comes back and says, 'Oh, I voted for the Bush tax cuts.' Well they are half of what they were, and they are temporary."
The debate was the fifth and final one between the two leading Republican candidates in the Aug. 3 primary.
Tom Little, a Mound City accountant and the third GOP candidate, was not invited to participate in today's debate.