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Mr. BECERRA. Mr. Speaker, when the Wall Street banking crisis of 2008 hit, causing the worst recession since the Great Depression, it was the middle class that took it on the chin. More than 8 million Americans lost their job through no fault of their own. And as millions of Americans were losing their jobs and their homes, the big banks received bailouts and CEOs continued to receive million-dollar payouts.
While too many middle class Americans are still out looking for work, this Congress is voting again to give over $160,000 a year in tax breaks to the richest 2 percent of Americans while the average American will be lucky to get about one-100th or maybe two-100ths of that. Can anyone in this Chamber blame the middle class for thinking the system is rigged against them?
Mr. Speaker, we all admire financial success, but when we give away trillions in tax cuts that we cannot afford to those who need them the least, it's the middle class who has to make up the difference. To pay for these tax cuts, our Republican colleagues have voted to end Medicare and would force seniors to pay $6,400 more for their own care. On top of that, Republicans propose changing Social Security, slashing its budget by over $800 million. It's an ideological agenda that chooses millionaires over the middle class. Regular folks pay more so that folks like Donald Trump and Mitt Romney can get yet another tax break.
Einstein is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Eleven years after the Bush tax breaks became law and drove us deeper into deficits, let's not repeat these mistakes. Rather than having these debates about whether the richest 2 percent of Americans deserve extra breaks, we should stand with the middle class.
Mr. Speaker, this should be an all-hands-on-deck moment. America works best when the middle class in America is working. Let's start talking about how we can get all Americans back to work and strengthen our economy.
I urge my colleagues to reject this bill and support the Democratic alternative, which is focused on the middle class.
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