Reid Floor Remarks on Tax and Budget Negotiations, 12.4.12
December 4, 2012
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding tax and budget negotiations. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
It’s been nearly three weeks since leaders from both parties commenced negotiations with President Obama to avert the fiscal cliff.
But yesterday, after weeks of delay – and as the days dwindled until taxes are set to go up for millions of families and businesses – Republicans finally showed up to the negotiating table.
And now we know why they’ve been holding their cards so close to the vest: their proposal would raise taxes on the middle class.
Their plan to raise $800 billion in revenue by eliminating popular tax deductions and credits would reach deep into the pockets of middle class families.
Republicans are so intent on protecting low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, they are willing to sacrifice the economic security of the middle class to do it.
Their proposal was short on specifics. But we know from independent analyses that it’s impossible to raise enough revenue to make a dent in our deficit without doing one of two things: raising tax rates on the top two percent or raising taxes on the middle class.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center called it “mathematically impossible” to reduce the deficit and give more tax cuts to the rich without harming the middle class.
As usual, given the choice between millionaires and the middle class, Republicans sided with the wealthiest few.
In fact, their plan doesn’t just keep rates low for the richest 2 percent – it actually lowers them further.
Democrats’ plan would protect 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses from painful tax increases by asking the top 2 percent to pay a little bit more to reduce the deficit.
Republicans’ plan, on the other hand, is more of the same.
Not only does it balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, it voids our promise to seniors with steep cuts to Social Security and Medicare – all to pay for even more handouts to the rich.
At least now we know where they stand.
Republicans have sought cover by invoking Erskine Bowles’ name, but he has disavowed their plan in no uncertain terms.
We are glad to finally see Republicans joining in the negotiating process instead of watching from the sidelines.
But while their proposal may be serious, it’s also a non-starter.
They know any agreement that raises taxes on the middle class in order to protect more unnecessary giveaways to the top 2 percent is doomed from the start.
Democrats won’t pass it.
President Obama won’t sign it.
And the American people won’t support it.
They are tired of budget-busting giveaways to the wealthiest few – people who have enjoyed growing paychecks and shrinking tax bills for more than a decade.
The American people want a balanced deal. And simple math dictates that a balanced deal must include higher tax rates for the richest few.
Republicans would be wise to keep that in mind as negotiations move forward.
Democrats are willing to compromise.
But we will not consign the middle class to higher tax bills while millionaires and billionaires avoid all the pain.