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Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of S. 3412, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which would act on President Barack Obama's proposal to restore our economy and control our deficit by immediately extending the current tax rates for American families making less than $250,000 a year and asking our Nation's top 2 percent of income earners to pay their fair share.
As we continue to work to enact policies that move our economy forward, it is important that we protect the middle class from having to pay higher taxes--which will happen if Congress does nothing before January 1, 2013. In Hawaii, this means 500,000 families would pay an average of $1,600 more in taxes in 2013 alone, which they cannot afford. My colleagues and I are working to reduce the national debt; however, at this point in our economic recovery, we cannot allow the vast majority of Americans--the middle class--to shoulder this burden alone. They have always been and remain the backbone of our economy and our country.
Most of us here in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, as well as our colleagues in the House, can agree that we should maintain the current income tax rates for 98 percent of Americans. With that in mind, my colleagues on the left have been trying to work with the rest of the Senate to get this sensible legislation passed. However, some Members in this Chamber refuse to come together to pass the tax extensions that we all agree on. We need to take action now. Hard-working American families should not have to worry about their taxes increasing as they budget for housing, food, and other necessities for the coming year.
To cut our deficit, we must ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. That means closing tax loopholes for corporations and not extending the tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. Yet some Members of the Senate continue to oppose this bill in hopes of including an extension of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. These tax breaks for the wealthy were originally intended to be temporary measures, enacted during a time when our Nation had substantial annual surpluses. However, we must acknowledge our current economic situation and respond by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
This country was founded on the principles of fairness and responsibility. This bill would help restore those fundamentals to our tax system. I urge my colleagues to consider all of their constituents when voting on this bill and support it for the 98 percent of Americans who need our action today.
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