* Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Chair, I rise today in somewhat reluctant support of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act. I am supporting this bill because of the tremendous good it will do for middle class families in my district and throughout the country.
* This bill extends emergency unemployment benefits for 400,000 Californians whose benefits have expired. Not only do these benefits help working families pay the bills and put food on their tables, they also stimulate economic growth, creating $1.63 in economic demand for every dollar in benefits.
* This bill also extends dozens of tax incentives that benefit middle class families like the college tuition deduction, child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, and the enhanced earned income tax credit. It helps small businesses expand and hire more workers by extending the R&D tax credit, zero percent capital gains tax on long term small business investments, and bonus depreciation for capital investments.
* And it also invests in a clean, renewable energy future by extending tax incentives for renewable fuels, energy-efficient appliances and home construction, and the successful Treasury Department grant program for renewable energy projects. These extensions will help local green businesses in my district like Clipper Wind, REC Solar, and CREE Lighting create quality green jobs that can't be shipped overseas. And it will stimulate our economy by expanding our use of cleaner, safer forms of energy.
* The bottom line is this bill will create jobs and spur economic growth, and these are provisions that I strongly support. However, this bill also continues to tilt our tax code in favor of the wealthiest three percent of our society. And I oppose those provisions in the strongest of terms.
* I support the permanent extension of current tax rates on income up to $250,000 and, in fact, representing an area with such a high cost of living, I would probably support extending that limit up to $500,000. But, Mr. Chair, I do not see why we should extend the reduced tax rates for incomes in excess of that.
* This proposal to extend the reduced tax rates that only go to millionaires and billionaires will cost taxpayers over $80 billion, simply adding to our deficit. To add insult to injury, this tax cut extension for the super-rich lasts for two years while emergency unemployment benefits last for only 13 months. And, Mr. Chair, according to virtually all economists these extensions will do virtually nothing to stimulate economic growth.
* Adding to the giveaways, Republicans insisted on ``fixing'' the estate tax to ensure that only 0.14 percent of estates are subject to the tax, adding another $68 billion to the deficit. I agree that the estate tax needs to be fixed, but this is not the solution. At a time when middle class families continue to struggle, continuing tax cuts that only go to millionaires and billionaires is irresponsible, wasteful and bad economics. These tax cuts for the super wealthy will add nearly $140 billion to the deficit in just two years.
* I am also very concerned that this bill includes a temporary two percent reduction in payroll taxes for all employees and self-employed individuals. While I strongly support additional tax relief to Middle Class families--which this achieves--the payroll tax reduction puts the Social Security Trust Fund at risk of losing its independent revenue stream. I believe we should extend the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which gave targeted tax relief to those that needed it most without endangering the financial security of Social Security.
* Finally, the bill before us needlessly extends the excessive ethanol tax subsidy of 46 cents per gallon. Thanks in part to this harmful subsidy, the U.S. will divert nearly 40 percent of the domestic corn crop from food and feed to fuel this year, which will only exacerbate the growing problem of increasingly volatile and high commodity prices. Lowering this subsidy by just 10 cents per gallon would help reduce these harmful side effects, and save taxpayers roughly $1 billion next year.
* Mr. Chair, I am very disappointed that this important legislation to prevent a tax increase on everyday Americans has been loaded down with so many unnecessary and wasteful provisions. But I'm supporting this bill because the needs of middle class families and small businesses--the backbone of our economy--are too important to be left to die in the hands of Republican leadership next Congress.
* This bill is a compromise. It's not the compromise I would have written. But it's the compromise that will get desperately needed help to the families that need it most. Time has run out and we must act now for the good of the American people.