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Public Statements

Middle Class Tax Cut Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, first let me welcome the Vice President here today, our good friend who served for so many years in the Senate.

It reminds me of the negotiation he and I conducted in December of 2010. I got a call from the Vice President one day, and he said: The President thought we ought to talk about the possibility of extending the current tax rates for everyone because the economy is not doing very well, and the worst thing we could do would be to raise taxes on anyone in the middle of this economic situation.

I said: Mr. Vice President, I think that is something we would be interested in.

So the Vice President and I negotiated for a period of time and agreed that because the economy was not doing well in December 2010, we ought to extend the current tax rates for everyone.

I can remember the signing ceremony. I was there. The majority leader was not. The Speaker of the House was not. The President made a speech in signing an extension of the current tax rates for everyone that I could have made myself. Forty Members of the Senate on the Democratic side voted for it.

Today, my colleagues, the economy is growing slower than it was in December of 2010. So we know this is not about the economy; we know this is about the election. We all know there is an election going on. There is politics from time to time practiced here in the Senate. I am not offended by that. But I think what the American people would like to hear from us is a response to the economic situation.

This proposal guarantees that taxes will go up on roughly 1 million of our most successful small businesses. Over 50 percent of small business income--25 percent of the workforce--will be affected by it. It guarantees that taxes will go up on capital gains, on dividends, which provide the income for a huge number of our senior citizens. This is a uniquely bad idea. It may poll well, as my friend the majority leader indicated, but, of course, the fact that he needed to mention that illustrates the point that this is more about the election than it is about the economy.

So I would predict there will probably be bipartisan opposition to this proposal. I am sure a few arms have been twisted in order to get the result. The Vice President is at a disadvantage: he can't speak, being an occupant of the chair. But in this particular instance, he is actually better not to because he would have the dilemma of trying to explain the difference between the economic situation the country confronts today and the condition the country confronted in December of 2010 when the economy was doing better. So be grateful, I say to my friend the Vice President. This is a debate I don't think you would want to lead.

With that, my colleagues and friends, I urge a ``no'' vote on this very, very bad idea for the U.S. economy.

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Mr. McCONNELL. Let me briefly add that I listened carefully to what my friend the majority leader said. He once again was making it clear this is about the campaign. It is about the campaign and not about the economy.

But if you listen carefully to the rhetoric, what he is saying here is that these million businesses didn't create this success; that we somehow need to take this money because we will spend it better on their behalf.

Now, I know my colleague is going to get the last word, and that is fine. I am happy for him to have it. But the fact is this: The economy is in worse shape today than it was in December of 2010--worse shape today. The growth rate is slower. The President signed this bill, advocated its passage back then because the economy didn't need to get hit with a big tax increase. The growth rate is slower today. The economic situation remains largely the same. The worst we could do in the middle of this economic condition is to pass this tax increase.

Now my friend the majority leader can have the last word, and then we will be happy to go to a vote.

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I heard my good friend the majority leader say this is about the deficit. This will produce enough revenue to operate the government for about 1 week. This would produce about enough revenue to operate the government for about 1 week.

This is not about the deficit or the debt, this is about the campaign. We all know there is a campaign going on, but why don't we do serious legislating here? No budget, no appropriation bills, no DOD authorization bill. When are we going to actually pass things in the Senate?

This is a uniquely bad idea for the economy. The good news that I can say to the American people is that it isn't going to happen today. It ought not to
happen anytime. This is part of the fiscal cliff we are facing at the end of the year. The Chairman of the Fed is concerned about it, the Congressional Budget Office, which Republicans certainly don't run, is concerned about it. We have heard talk on the other side that we should have Thelma and Louise economics and just drive the country right off the cliff. We all get in the car and go right off the cliff together and see what it is like.

The American people know a campaign is going on, but why don't we in here try to do something important for the country now. The campaign will take care of itself. This is not a serious piece of legislation because it is not going anywhere, and thank goodness it is not going anywhere because it would be bad for the economy and the single worst thing we could do to the country.

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