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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, we know taxes are scheduled to increase for all Americans next year, and we know an across-the-board tax increase on all Americans would be very bad for our economy. What we disagree on is which tax cuts should be continued.
Unfortunately, this has become a highly partisan debate. Someone watching this debate would assume we cannot agree on anything when it comes to taxes, but they would be wrong. We do agree on far more than we disagree. We agree that middle-class tax rates should not go up. We agree that the alternative minimum tax should not affect middle-class taxpayers. We agree on a variety of tax breaks that help families raise children and invest in their education. Our disagreements elsewhere should not stop us from acting where we do agree. We should cut through the partisan gridlock and pass the policies we all support.
One policy we can all support is a tax credit for companies that provide childcare to their workforce. This is a powerful and proven incentive for business--especially small business--to arrange onsite childcare for their employees.
I originally introduced this tax credit after we passed welfare reform in 1996. The purpose of welfare reform was to move recipients off benefits and into jobs--a path of financial freedom that is too often blocked by the lack of quality and affordable childcare. After years of work, we finally passed the employer-provided childcare tax credit in 2001. Since then, it has offered businesses a tax credit for building and maintaining a childcare center. Businesses can also receive a smaller tax credit for helping their employees find childcare elsewhere in the community.
Childcare is a good investment for employee and employer alike. Businesses get employees who miss less work to deal with family issues and stay at their jobs longer. Parents know their children are safe, sound, and close by while their mom or dad is at work. They do not have to choose between putting food on the table and caring for their children.
Now is not the time to add another stress to overstressed working families struggling to survive in a down economy. That is why today I am introducing a bill to continue the tax credit for employer-provided childcare. We all agree the employer-provided childcare tax credit should not expire. It is included in both tax bills we are considering this week and we should extend it now.
But support for childcare isn't the only thing the Republican and Democratic tax bills agree on. In fact, these two bills offer the same exact tax cut extension for the first $250,000 earned by every American family. If a family makes $1 more than that, they still get the same tax cut extension on their first $250,000. Even millionaires get the same tax cut extension as everyone else. Everybody, including the wealthiest Americans, benefits from the tax cuts we all can and do support.
Bipartisan policies, such as a tax credit for employer-provided childcare or middle-class tax cuts, should not be held hostage because of a partisan debate about other tax cuts. When we all can agree on something, we should vote for it.
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