The American people continue to face one of the most challenging times in our nation's history. The latest unemployment numbers mark the 16th consecutive month that our nation's unemployment rate has been at or above 9.5 percent -- the longest period since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, these are numbers that the American people are all too familiar with and yet the Democrats in Congress continue to pursue an agenda that will further threaten American job creators and families.
This week House Democrats pushed through legislation, without my support, which includes massive tax increases on American families and small businesses who are already struggling to make ends meet. While the legislation would make permanent some of the tax relief provisions from the 2001 and 2003 tax laws such as the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, it allows other existing tax cuts to expire, resulting in tax increases on January 1, 2011.
While it is common-sense that you should not raise taxes on employers at a time when unemployment is so high, this point seems lost on the Democrats in Congress who are determined to raise taxes on America's job creators. Small business owners across the country want to invest in their firms and hire new workers, but instead they are bracing for costly new tax increases. It's been estimated that these tax increases will hit 750,000 small business owners who employ more than 25 percent of our total workforce.
Additionally, American families will be hit hard with the reinstatement of the estate tax, also known as the death tax. The Democrats' legislation allows the death tax relief from the 2001 tax law to expire which means that the tax will return with a 55% tax rate which will penalize many small business owners including farmers. These folks have spent a lifetime building a business and creating jobs only to have their families hit with confiscatory taxes often requiring the family business or farm to be sold.
The only way to help rebuild our struggling economy is to ensure American families and small businesses are not confronted with these oppressive tax hikes. For this reason I am a strong supporter of the Tax Relief Certainty Act, which would permanently extend the current tax rates, provide a permanent repeal of the death tax and implement permanent relief for the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The American people are demanding that Congress abandon its job-killing, tax-and-spend policies and instead focus on real solutions that will create jobs, putting Americans back to work and restore economic prosperity to our nation. If Democrats are serious about job creation, there's one clear way forward, and that's for us to come together in a bipartisan way and pass legislation immediately that cuts spending and stops all of the approaching tax hikes.Congress must focus on passing legislation which puts money back into the hands of those who can really turn our economy around -- the American people and small businesses.