Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, said Tuesday he favors extending by one year the income-tax cuts scheduled to expire at year's end.
His Republican opponent for a Senate seat from Indiana contends Donnelly is tardy in his support of extending the temporary tax reductions passed under President George W. Bush.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock said in a statement that Donnelly had been "silent" for months on the demands by President Obama and top congressional Democrats to increase taxes for households earning more than $250,000 a year as a way of reducing the federal budget deficit.
"Sorry, Congressman Donnelly, no one is buying your 'Joe come lately' routine," Mourdock said.
Mourdock said the tax cuts should be made permanent, and he challenged Donnelly to take the same position.
Donnelly said in an earlier statement: "Given our continued economic challenges, now is the time to keep tax rates low. The last thing our economy can afford is more uncertainty as the fiscal cliff approaches. That's why I support a one-year extension of all of the tax rates."
"Fiscal cliff" is the term being applied to a potential economic crisis if the tax cuts expire at the same time that $1 trillion in federal spending cuts are scheduled to begin.