Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ proposal to stop a middle class tax increase and cut taxes for hundreds of millions of American workers and business. Below are his remarks as prepared:
Senate Democrats’ number one priority this Congress is to pass common-sense legislation – such as tax cuts and infrastructure investments – that will put Americans back to work and revive our economy.
Republicans in the House, on the other hand, are focused on gutting the safeguards that keep our air clean, make our workplaces safe and check the greed of big Wall Street banks.
Never mind that this wholesale destruction of measures that save millions of lives and trillions of dollars each year has no chance of passing the Senate. Never mind that non-partisan experts and economists from both sides of the aisle say their so-called jobs agenda wouldn’t create a single job.
House Republicans complain we have not taken up and passed these policies, which would risk American lives while doing nothing to improve our economy. They insist that we should waste weeks or months on legislation that is both dangerous and proven-to-fail.
But the Senate has too much work to do on legislation that would create jobs without risking American lives to waste time on these ineffectual, purely partisan measures.
Unlike Republicans, our jobs agenda was designed to create jobs, not headlines.
And in any case, the Senate has passed its own share of legislation – 40 pieces, in fact – that has yet to be taken up by House Republican leaders.
The Senate has passed legislation that would stop China from cheating American workers by manipulating its currency, evening the playing field for American exporters and saving jobs.
We have passed a bill to modernize our air travel system, keeping passengers safer and saving money and travel time.
We have passed a measure that would protect lives by keeping our food safe from contamination, to name a few.
House Republicans have refused to take up these worthy pieces of legislation and many others.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have blocked many reasonable jobs proposals with proven track records of success. They are simply too busy rooting for our economy to fail and pursuing an extreme social agenda to work with Democrats to create jobs.
But that won’t stop Democrats from doing everything in our power to get the economy back on track. That’s why Senator Casey has introduced legislation to put money back in the pockets of middle-class workers and small businesses by extending and expanding the payroll tax cut.
This legislation cut taxes for 160 million American workers, saving the average family $1,500 each next year. Those families will have more money to spend the local grocery store or pharmacy, giving communities across the country a financial shot in the arm.
The proposal would also give payroll tax cuts to businesses, including 50,000 firms in Nevada.
More than 1.2 million Nevada workers benefited from the payroll tax cut this year. Under our proposal, they will get even greater tax relief next year.
Payroll tax cuts have also been a boon to the economies of every station in the nation. In Kentucky – the home of my friend, the Minority Leader – 2.1 million workers took home $1.2 billion in payroll tax cuts this year.
That’s why the Minority Leader said in 2009 that a payroll tax cut “would put a lot of money back in the hands of businesses and in the hands of individuals.”
The average Kentucky family will keep $1,330 of their hard-earned money next year under our expanded payroll tax break. And 70,000 firms in Kentucky will benefit from new tax cuts.
In 2009, Sen. McConnell went on to say that, “Republicans, generally speaking, from Maine to Mississippi, like tax relief.”
Yet Republicans already appear poised to block this legislation.
So let’s be clear what a “no” vote on this proposal really means. It’s a vote to deny tax relief to millions of businesses. It’s a vote to raise taxes for 120 million families by nearly $1,000 each.
Republicans who vote “no” will literally be taking money out of the pockets of middle-class taxpayers.
Once upon a time, Republicans rushed to cut taxes, regardless of which tax it was or whether it added trillions to the deficit. Just look at the Bush tax cuts, for example.
Today they are lining up against a tax cut that will put money back in the pockets of the middle-class, ensure businesses have more cash to hire new workers and get our economy moving immediately.
I hope Republicans will work with us to pass a tax cut for 160 million American workers and every business in America.
As my friend, the Republican Leader, said, “Republicans, generally speaking, from Maine to Mississippi, like tax relief.” I hope they remember that today.