U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee and a bipartisan working group to responsibly reduce our nation's annual deficits and dangerous debt, released the following statement after the Senate voted, 51-48 in favor of a proposal that will help create fairness in our nation's tax code by extending the so-called "Bush tax cuts" and other tax breaks for middle class and low-income families, while allowing income tax, dividend, and capital gains rates to rise on earnings greater than $250,000. The Senator also voted against an alternative plan introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would have allowed these three tax breaks to expire, raising taxes on 25 million middle class families, while extending tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans at a cost of nearly $1 trillion.
"The Senate today faced a choice between two starkly different tax plans -- one, authored by Democrats, which protects middle class tax cuts for over 100 million working families and another, authored by Republicans, which raises taxes on middle class families to fund special tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans. I voted to invest in America's middle class, and I'm glad the majority of my colleagues did, as well.
"As we consider the array of difficult choices about how to confront our nation's staggering annual deficits and dangerous debt, a central test ought to be whether those choices promote fairness or add to the inequity in our economy. The American people are already sacrificing, and they'll continue to sacrifice as we make tough cuts in the months and years to come. The least the Senate can do is find a way to compromise.
"This bill is not a substitute for the comprehensive tax reform our nation truly needs -- tax reform that simplifies the code, closes many unsustainable and costly loopholes, lowers rates, and broadens the base. But the bill we passed today is the best chance we've got at retaining these important tax credits and opportunities for the working poor, while bringing some sanity to the rates at the highest end and asking those who have benefited the most to contribute to solving our problems."