U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-9) issued the following statement after the Democrat-run House Rules Committee blocked his effort to offer an amendment to President Obama's tax deal. Rep. Graves' plan, called the "Common Ground Taxpayers Relief Act,' would have given House members the option to amend the tax deal to permanently extend the tax rates and pay for its spending measures:
"As it stands today, the tax deal forged between President Obama and the Senate is a step in the right direction, but it still kicks the can down the road. The "can,' in this instance, is the taxpayers. A two-year extension of the tax rates coupled with billions in unpaid-for spending will increase our debt and perpetuate a cycle of uncertainty in the market place. Even more concerning is the Democrat leaders' decision to push their $1.1 trillion, pork-laden omnibus spending package, which betrays the will of Americans who voted on November 2.
"What this country asked for on Election Day was a Congress willing to make tough decisions to cut spending and foster a pro-job economic environment. Instead of heeding that message, the President's tax deal and the Democrat leaders' spending plan seem to depend on higher taxes and more spending in the long run. While securing two more years of the current tax rates is better than a $3.8 trillion tax hike on January 1, I believe Congress needs to consider another option, so today I attempted to offer my plan, the "Common Ground Taxpayers Relief Act,' as an amendment to the tax deal.
"My plan contains the permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates, a one year extension of unemployment benefits, and enacts a continuing resolution that funds the government through 2011 with non-security spending at 2008 levels. Among other cost-saving measures in the plan, the continuing resolution alone saves $94 billion, which pays for the cost of extending unemployment benefits as well as extending investment incentives for businesses.
"By giving American families and businesses permanent certainty on taxes and moving towards debt and deficit reduction, all while extending benefits for the unemployed, this plan would satisfy some of the key concerns across the political spectrum. Most importantly, I believe this approach honors the message sent by voters in November and puts Congress on track to regain the trust of the people we serve. Unfortunately, the Democrat-run Rules Committee decided this evening to block the House from considering my amendment in an up or down vote."