Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement in support of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), which continues tax breaks for working people.
"Today, House Democrats stood with working families in voting to extend tax cuts for individuals earning $200,000 per year or less, and families making less than $250,000. As our nation recovers from the devastating economic crisis -- which occurred after eight years of Bush policies, six of which with a Republican-controlled Congress - it is imperative that these families and small businesses keep their tax breaks to help continue our economic recovery. Let me be clear; with this legislation people would only pay more taxes on what they earned over $200,000 for individual earners and $250,000 for families. No one in that income bracket faces any significant hardship paying another 4.6 percent and only on income over a quarter of a million dollars.
"With the House bill, 97% of American families and small businesses would get tax cuts of $1.5 trillion over 10 years by the extension of the current tax rates, the marriage penalty relief, capital gains and dividends rates and the child tax credit. It would also give a two-year extension of relief from the alternative minimum tax (AMT), protecting more than 25 million taxpayers. While I would rather see permanent elimination of the AMT, and a higher threshold for the tax cuts to help regions with higher costs of living, this is too important for the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet not to vote in favor of the bill.
"As for the other 3% of Americans, all this does is return the top marginal rate to where it was in the 1990s, (to 39 percent, a raise of 4.6 percent) and far lower than it was in the first Reagan term (50 percent), Carter and Ford's terms (70 percent), Nixon and Johnson's terms (as high as 77 percent), and a far cry from the 91-92 percent during Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy's Presidencies. It is not asking too much for the wealthiest Americans to carry a slightly heavier load to help our country recover.
"The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were the largest contributor to the deficits from 2001-2007, making up 48 percent of those deficits. I find it incredulous to see Republicans defending the tax breaks for the rich, while crying fiscal responsibility in defeating unemployment insurance extensions for people truly in need. I am hopeful the Senate will pass this bill, despite Senate Republicans vowing to filibuster it to death.
"Republicans have made it clear that their priority is to provide millionaires and billionaires with a tax cut of $100,000 each in 2011 alone, more than 100 times what a middle-income family would get. Democrats have stood up for the working people, and will continue to do so. Republicans should do the same."