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Public Statements

Middle Class Tax Cut--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I think it is important to simplify what is going on with these two proposals, the Republican proposal and the Democratic proposal. So I am going to attempt to do that. We have two packages of tax cuts. The Democratic package gives everyone a tax break on their income tax for the first $250,000 of income. So everybody gets that tax break. The main difference is that under the Republican plan, they give more to incomes above $250,000, where we say everybody gets a tax break up to $250,000, and after that we go back to the tax rates of Bill Clinton when we created 23 million jobs, balanced the budget, and created a surplus.

Now, in order to do this, the Republicans don't do some of the things we do for the middle class, which is an extension of the tuition tax credit and a generous child tax credit. So that is the difference. Their package costs $50 billion more. If we figure we do this over 10 years, we can do the math. That comes to $500 billion. But let's just take it to 1 year. The $50 billion cost of their package, if we didn't go that way and supported the Democratic package, we could use that to either reduce the deficit or to soften the sequester.

We have people running all over television saying we are ruining the country with this sequestration. The Republicans came up and supported that idea of automatic spending cuts. We can take the $50 billion if the upper income would pay their fair share and cut the automatic spending cuts in half.

With that, I yield the floor.

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Mrs. BOXER. Thank you, very much. Let me say that this is a very important debate. When we look at the two plans, the Republican tax cut plan versus the Democratic tax cut plan, what we see is one is for the middle class; that is, the Democratic plan. One is for our middle-class families. It includes tuition tax credits, and an enhanced child tax credit. It is very important that we do that.

The other is a giveaway to the millionaires and the billionaires. It is amazing to me that it is not enough for my Republican friends to give everyone a tax break in this Nation of ours up to the first $250,000 of income and then say after that we are going to go to the tax rates of Bill Clinton.

In those years, unlike the Bush years, we created 23 million jobs, and we created surpluses as far as the eye could see. But my Republican friends want to go backward to the Bush years, to the trickle-down years. Here is the problem. They do it on the backs of the middle class.

They claim our plan will hurt small business owners. Let me be clear. Ninety-seven percent of small business owners earn less than $250,0000 a year. So all that talk about job creators is nothing but talk. It is nothing but a smokescreen for the highest earners in America. Here is another problem. The Republican plan adds $930 billion to the deficit over 10 years. It is a problem. In 1 year, the first year, it is a $50 billion add-on to the deficit.

I have heard my Republican colleagues cry about sequestration. They do not want it, even though they agreed to it when we made our deal around the debt ceiling. Let's remember that. They did not want to give an increase to the debt ceiling. They held everybody hostage. We lost our credit rating. Even Ronald Reagan said: Never play with the debt ceiling. They played with it. They played a game with it.

Then, to get out of it, they said: OK. We will sequester if we do not have the debt deal. Now they are crying about sequester. Guess what. If we do the Democratic deal, we save $50 billion. We could cut that sequester in half. But oh, no, they want to do tax breaks for the wealthy few.

This is the deal. Look at this chart. This is Robin Hood in reverse--this is Robin Hood in reverse. The wealthiest among us get back $160,000 a year under the Republican plan. Let me repeat that. The wealthiest taxpayers in America will get back $160,000 a year under the Republican plan while the middle class gets harmed.

They lose $1,100 a year for their tax credits on the tuition tax credit. They lose $800 a year from an enhanced child care tax credit, $500 a year from enhanced earned-income tax credit. So our families lose money, our middle-class families, while the wealthiest among us gets this enormous tax break and the deficit goes up and the debt goes up.

When my colleague Senator Hatch says the Hatch-McConnell compromise is good, it is not a compromise. It is going right back to the problem that led us to this situation in the first place. It is going right back to the same policies of George W. Bush. Remember when George W. Bush became President? We had surpluses as far as the eye could see. Then he gave these tax breaks to the top 1 percent. By the way, this $160,000, that is the millionaires' tax break. They want to give tax breaks to the multimillionaires, to the billionaires, to the multibillionaires. They put no cap on the tax cuts whatsoever. Someone can earn $100 billion, they want to give them a tax break.

There is a cost. There is a cost to the Treasury. There is a cost to the debt. There is a cost to the deficit. There is a cost to fairness. There is a cost to the middle class. I think the American people have weighed in on this one. They believe that to give a tax break to the first $250,000 of everybody's income is fair because then the people above that can pay a little more, the same rates they paid when Bill Clinton was President. We need to go back to those days when we created 23 million jobs and when we not only balanced the budget but we created surpluses as far as the eye could see.

The question is, who are you fighting for? Are you fighting for the people who make a billion dollars a year? That is who the Republicans fight for. They get so emotional about it. Or are you fighting for the middle class, the heart and soul of America--the people who live in my towns, the people who live in towns across this Nation, the people who get up every day and put one foot in front of the other and work hard, the people who are trying to raise their families, the people who want us to be fiscally responsible, not have a tax cut that causes huge deficits? We have been there. Trickledown doesn't work; giving to the top doesn't work. It has brought us the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Vote for the Democrats' plan and against the Republican plan, and do what our President said, which is get this country moving forward again.

I yield the floor.

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