U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate's bipartisan working group on deficit reduction, issued the following statement after President Obama called on Monday for the expiration of the so-called "Bush tax cuts' on income above $250,000.
"By calling today for the preservation of temporary tax cuts for America's middle class and the expiration of the temporary tax cuts on income above $250,000, President Obama is once again calling on a divided Congress to step up and make the hard choices in job creation, tax reform, and federal spending that are necessary to build an economy that works for all Americans. I share President Obama's commitment to building that economy, and agree with his call today. Back when these tax cuts were enacted, they were described as "temporary,' but they have lasted for more than a decade, and have become unsustainable. Letting these temporary tax cuts expire now on income over $250,000 makes sense for our long-term economic security.
"Our nation's staggering national debt is being compounded by dangerous annual deficits that Congress can and must confront through tough choices like this one. Any sober analysis of our nation's fiscal standing makes clear that we cannot achieve the deficit reduction we need through program cuts alone, as some in Congress have argued.
"While not a substitute for the comprehensive tax reform our nation truly needs, this is perhaps the only major tax strategy that can make a real difference for our country's fiscal outlook and still be passed this year. We need tax reform that simplifies the tax code, closing many unsustainable and costly loopholes while lowering rates and broadening the base. What is clear, however, is that the current political environment makes such reforms all but impossible in the coming months. It is a sad reality, but the one in which these kinds of choices must be made if we are to make any progress at all.
"President Obama is making a tough choice, but I believe it to be the right one for our country."