Reid Remarks On Republicans’ Retreat From Obamacare And The Benefits Of Tax Extenders Legislation

“We have seen the last week or two the Republicans just throwing things to the wall, hoping something will stick. And here is why it is happening – one need only notice the absence of the their endless speeches on the Affordable Care Act.”

“The tax extenders bill is not only helping our constituents who have been victims of the economic downturn, it is also spurring job growth and local economies.”

“Our constituents are depending on us to extend these provisions, many of which expired at the end of 2013. We will not pull the plug before our nation’s recovery is complete.”

 

Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor regarding Republican’s retreat on Obamacare as a result of recent positive reports and the benefits of tax extenders legislation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

We have seen the last week or two the Republicans just throwing things to the wall, hoping something will stick. And here is why it is happening – one need only notice the absence of their endless speeches on the Affordable Care Act. It’s been several weeks – which is hard to believe – since the Republican-controlled House last voted on a repeal of Obamacare. And why is that? There is no better illustration of why Republicans are fleeing from Obamacare, than an article that appeared in the Washington Post this morning.

Greg Sargent’s The Plum Line analyzed why Republicans are “Going Quiet on Health Care.”

“The Hill reports this morning that the House GOP has “gone quiet” on Obamacare. There are no scheduled votes or hearings on the Affordable Care Act. Contacted by the Hill, most GOP campaign committees won’t say whether they will be launching any new attacks on the law.

As the Hill puts it: “The lack of action highlights the GOP’s struggle to adjust its message now that enrollment in the exchanges beat projections and the uninsured rate is going down.”

At the same time, the Hill notes that GOP operatives overseeing Senate races remain “conscious of the need to keep a drumbeat going against the law.” The question now: If Republican officials really are backing off on Obamacare, will the base go along?

A new CNN poll illustrates the situation nicely: It finds that far more Americans want to keep Obamacare than repeal it. At the same time, only majorities of Republicans want repeal and only majorities of Republicans think the law is already a failure.

The CNN poll finds that 49 percent of Americans want to keep the law with some changes, while another 12 percent want to keep it as is – a total of 61 percent. Meanwhile, only 18 percent want to repeal and replace the law, and another 20 percent want to repeal it, full stop — a total of 38 percent. That’s 61-38 for keeping rather than repealing the law. Among independents, that’s 55-44.

How is it possible that Americans can disapprove of Obamacare, but support keeping it? I’ve already laid out my theory of the case, and today’s polling appears to support it. Part of the answer lies in another question CNN asked. That finding shows that a total of 61 percent say either that it’s too soon to tell whether the ACA is a success or failure (49) or say that it’s a success (12). By contrast, 39 percent say it’s already a failure. That’s 61-39 in favor of those who are giving the law a chance to work over time. Among independents that’s 58-42.

The key is that those who want repeal and say the law has already failed are overwhelmingly Republican. Among Republicans only, the numbers are 62-38 for repealing over keeping the law. Among Republicans only, 67 percent say it’s a failure versus 32 percent who say it’s too soon to tell.

CNN’s new polling mirrors Kaiser’s recent finding that only Republicans support repeal and that only Republicans want the Obamacare debate to continue. And it’s a reminder that at this point, attacks on the law — such as they are, anyway – are all about keeping the base lathered up in advance of the midterm elections. But there are still six months to go, and already even some Republican officials appear to be realizing that the anti-Obamacare energy is draining away.”

Remember, 61 percent to 38 percent.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the economy was in the throes of the Great Recession. Less than 6 years ago, the world economy was taken to the brink of collapse, before beginning its gradual recovery. And while American markets have returned to their pre-recession levels, the recovery for millions of workers and their families has been slower in coming. My home state of Nevada continues to dig itself out of the recession, and though things are better, they still have a long way to go. Today, the Senate begins debate on legislation that continues to help many Nevadans and countless Americans, as they recover from the recession. This bill extends current tax provisions that have bolstered American families and businesses, saving money and growing our economy.

Take, for example, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Nevada’s housing market was greatly damaged by the economic downturn, and many of my state’s homeowners succumbed to foreclosure. For many years, Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. For struggling Nevadans battling to keep their homes, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act offers much-needed help. This provision provides relief to homeowners who otherwise would owe taxes on the debt forgiven through mortgage loan modifications. It allows underwater Nevadans to get a measure of financial relief, while giving a much-needed boost to the state’s housing market.

In addition to mortgage relief, this tax extenders legislation also includes an extension of the state and local sales tax deduction. This deduction provides working, middle-class Americans, so many of whom are already pinching pennies, with a fairer shot at providing for their families. It allows them to deduct their local and state sales tax, helping them keep more money in their pocket. The tax extenders bill is not only helping our constituents who have been victims of the economic downturn, it is also spurring job growth and local economies. The Renewable Energy Tax Credit has played an important role in Nevada’s economy. This tax credit has helped attract investments of over $5.5 billion into Nevada’s clean energy economy. Through clean energy tax incentives, loan guarantees and the state’s renewable energy standard, Nevada is fast becoming a leader in the renewable energy world. As renewable energy grows in Nevada, jobs multiply. And all Nevadans deserve a fair shot at a good, stable job. An extension of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit is important to the state’s energy consumers, local economies and working families.

The Theatre Tax Credit is another provision that boosts the Nevada economy. Both Las Vegas and Reno are home to many theatrical productions that benefit from the expansion of the film tax credit. The theatre tax credit allows casinos, hotels, and resorts in Nevada to invest in high-quality productions, which draw tourists from across the globe. While the examples I just mentioned are especially important to Nevada, this legislation has many more provisions that benefit millions of people across the country. The research and experimentation tax credit promotes innovative development by some of America’s best companies, and requires that global companies who receive this assistance must locate their research and development centers in the U.S.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a jobs credit. It provides an incentive to business to hire under- or unemployed Americans. There are also education benefits in this bill, like the deduction for elementary and secondary teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses. This deduction ensures that teachers who are going the extra mile for our children are not being punished financially. These are just a few examples of the beneficial credits and deductions that comprise this tax extenders legislation, but there are many, many others. Our constituents are depending on us to extend these provisions, many of which expired at the end of 2013. We will not pull the plug before our nation’s recovery is complete. By passing this tax extenders package, we will continue to build up our nation’s economy. We will continue to promote innovation, encourage industry, and create jobs. I urge Republicans to join Senate Democrats in passing this legislation. Let’s work together to continue giving American families and the economy a fair shot at recovery.