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Mr. HELLER. Madam President, Reagan once joked that if anyone wants to understand Washington, DC, just look at how they designed the roads--it is full of circles. We don't have too many roundabouts in Nevada, but in Washington, DC, it seems to be part of the culture. Unfortunately, today Washington is going around in circles again. This time it is about whether Congress should raise taxes on small businesses at a time when our economy is struggling to grow.
The sad reality is that we all live in a country with a temporary tax code. Right now there is no certainty for an entrepreneur to start a new endeavor. There is no certainty for a small business that wants to hire a new employee. There is no certainty for businesses to invest in new equipment or in new buildings.
What makes the situation worse is that the American public is now hearing from the majority party that they are willing to take our country off the fiscal cliff, regardless of the economic damage it may cause, by raising taxes, resulting in a smaller economy, fewer jobs, less investment, and lower wages.
President Obama said in 2009:
You don't raise taxes in a recession ..... because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole.
I agreed with that statement in 2009, and I agree with that statement today.
Let me give my colleagues another quote from President Obama after he supported extending all of the tax rates for 2 years in 2010:
The bipartisan framework we have forged on taxes ..... will provide businesses with incentives to invest, grow, and hire.
I supported this bipartisan framework as a Member of the House of Representatives. Yet, today, in a complete 180-degree turn, raising taxes and going over the fiscal cliff seems to be the new economic agenda.
The plan the majority party and the President are offering will cost Nevadans more than 6,000 jobs and will shrink the State's economy by $1.7 billion. Let me repeat that. The plan of the majority party and this President will cost Nevadans 6,000 jobs and shrink the economy $1.7 billion. Nationwide, this plan will hurt more than 700,000 jobs. Is this really the economic strategy Washington should be embracing? My home State of Nevada leads the Nation in unemployment at 11.6 percent. We cannot afford to lose another 6,000 jobs.
Divisive, partisan politics does a great disservice to every American who is either out of work or has taken a pay cut. Those who stay up late at night are wondering how they are going to make their mortgage payments, put food on their tables, or clothe their children. While people across our country are struggling to get by, the Senate majority is pushing legislation that will actually hurt job creation.
Congress should do everything within its power to encourage economic growth, and that begins with providing America with tax certainty. It is true that our current Tax Code is too costly, too complex, and too burdensome. There is no question that the Tax Code is unfair and needs an overhaul. But the best this President and the Senate majority can do is push a tax hike designed for nothing more than perceived campaign sound bites.
Instead of election-year campaign gimmicks, let's have an honest discussion on fundamental tax reform. Last summer I reached out to President Obama to offer to work with him to fundamentally reform the Tax Code in a way that would broaden the tax base by eliminating and closing loopholes and reducing the marginal tax rates both on individuals and businesses. This was an issue I worked on in the House as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and I continue to advocate here in the Senate. Yet here we are today, and instead of debating fundamental tax reform we are taking another show vote on a tax proposal that would raise taxes on small businesses and cost jobs. Again, it will cost Nevada 6,000 jobs.
The Senate was created by our Founding Fathers to be the deliberative body. Yet once again we find ourselves in a situation in which we will be unable to have an open debate on an issue that will affect every single American taxpayer.
The Senate should be debating all tax proposals on a bipartisan basis and working to find consensus on areas to increase American competitiveness. Yet instead of providing our Nation's job creators with clarity and economic certainty, some of my colleagues would rather engage in messaging for a perceived political gain. Raising taxes will do nothing to create jobs in Nevada or this Nation.
As the fiscal cliff draws nearer and nearer, the job growth remains stagnant. Congress should focus on long-term economic solutions that provide businesses the certainty they need to create jobs.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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