Washington, D.C.- Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s insulting comments about 47 percent of Americans. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
For months I believed Mitt Romney wanted to be President of all the United States of America.
This week we learned Mitt Romney only wants to be President of half the United States of America.
If Mitt Romney were President, he wouldn’t waste time worrying about the 47 percent of Americans who he believes are “victims” – who Romney says are unwilling to take “personal responsibility.”
He’ll only worry about how the other half lives.
That’s what Mitt Romney told a group of wealthy donors at a closed-door fundraiser. This is what he said:
“There are 47 percent who… are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
Mitt Romney said his job as President would not be “to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
So who are those Americans Mitt Romney disdains as “victims” and “those people?”
They’re not avoiding their tax bills using Cayman Island tax shelters or Swiss bank accounts, like Mitt Romney.
Millions of the 47 percent are seniors on Social Security, who don’t have Bain Capital retirement funds or inherited stock to fall back on.
Many of the 47 percent are students reaching to afford university tuition so they can become nurses or teachers, or attending community college to become electricians or welders.
Some of the 47 percent have disabilities whose challenges are already a full-time job, but are still actively seeking opportunities.
Millions more have been unemployed since the Great Recession – not because they’re freeloaders or can’t be bothered to get a job, but because some private equity fund closed their factory and shipped their job to China.
Many of the 47 percent are active duty members of the military fighting for their country overseas.
Some of the 47 percent are veterans getting an education earned through dedicated service.
Many more of the 47 percent are mothers and fathers working minimum-wage jobs but still struggling.
Others percent are middle-class families raising children with a little help from the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit – a hand up Republicans once bragged about helping to enact.
The 47 percent are ordinary, hard-working Americans who deserve respect – especially from a man who wants to be their President.
And these Americans pay a slew of other taxes – including state income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes and sales taxes.
But in Mitt Romney’s view, they still don’t pay enough.
So let’s ask, whose taxes would Mitt Romney raise?
Would Romney raise taxes on retirees who paid into Social Security all their lives, and are counting on it to get them through their golden years?
Would Romney raise taxes on mothers and fathers who work hard, but still struggle to put food in their children’s mouths?
Would Romney raise taxes on middle-class families stretching to afford diapers and daycare at the same time?
Would Romney raise taxes on Americans with disabilities striving to live full and productive lives?
Would Romney raise taxes on students stretching every dollar to afford tuition?
Would Romney raise taxes on men and women serving overseas in the Armed Forces, who make untold sacrifices to preserve American freedom and democracy not because they’re getting rich doing it but out of a deep sense of duty?
Whose taxes would Mitt Romney raise?
We know he wouldn’t raise taxes for millionaires and billionaires, or companies that ship jobs overseas.
If you’re a math teacher or a maid or a single mother, it won’t be Mitt Romney’s job to worry about you.
But if you’re a multi-millionaire, Mitt Romney won’t rest until you get a quarter million dollar tax cut.
For all we know, Mitt Romney could be one of those who have paid no federal income taxes.
Thousands of families making more than $1 million pay nothing in federal income taxes each year.
Is Mitt Romney among them?
We’ll never know, since he refuses to release tax returns from the years before he was running for president.
But from the one return we have seen, we know Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than middle class families thanks to Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters.
And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.
Mitt Romney believes in two sets of rules – one for millionaires and another for the middle class.
If you have money to hide in Bermuda and Switzerland, can’t you afford to contribute a few pennies more to balance the budget or reduce the deficit? Mitt Romney says no.
But if you’re retired or poor, disabled or a student, or even a returning hero who fought for your country, Romney believes you can afford to pay more.
This rare look at the real Mitt Romney proves one thing: he’s completely out of touch with average Americans.
And if he won’t stand up and fight for every American as President, then he doesn’t deserve to serve any American as President.