Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012. I oppose this bill because it extends the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts to millionaires who do not need it, have not requested it, and at a time when the nation cannot afford it.
The extension of this 2001 tax policy would keep the rates of all tax brackets at a reduced level. While this reduced level would keep more funds in the hands of American families, it provides for a disproportionate distribution of the tax burden on different income levels. These reduced rates give a greater break to the incredibly wealthy, placing unfair monetary responsibility on the middle class.
The extension of this tax policy also maintains a lower rate on capital gains, and taxes dividends at the same rate as capital gains instead of as ordinary income.
In addition, this extension lowers the estate tax. Lower rates on such incomes further burden the middle class, as they further relieve the incredibly wealthy from their duty to give back to this country. As a result of these policies, the average income tax cut for households making more than $1 million a year would be over $74,000 in 2013.
Concurrently, as a result of H.R. 8, some of the tax cuts for working families which were adopted in 2009 would be allowed to expire, and eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit will be reduced. This bill also ends the American Opportunity Tax Credit, 85 percent of the benefactors of which made less than $100,000 a year. These actions will effectively raise taxes on 25 million middle- and low-income households by an average of $1000.
The conversation surrounding our nation's tax policies has focused on ensuring that tax cuts for the middle class are extended. It has been made clear, on both sides of the aisle, that this is imperative not only to helping American families get back on their feet, but also to the continuing recovery of the United States economy.
Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues are determined to use these middle class tax cuts as leverage to make sure that the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy are extended. They use top-down economics as the argument for the validity of these cuts--that they help to restore our economy and reduce the unemployment rate, because the individuals earning incomes in the top two percent are ``job creators.'' Contrary to this claim, the facts demonstrate that fewer than 35 percent of small business owners make over $250,000 a year.
Allowing the Bush tax cuts for the upper class to expire would not affect the vast majority of ``job creators'' in the American economy, but it would help relieve the tax burden of working families.
Mr. Speaker, I oppose H.R. 8 not only because the policies included within it would inflict an unbalanced tax burden on working families, but also because it will prevent this Congress from helping to reduce America's budget deficit. My colleagues across the aisle consistently claim they are committed to reducing our deficit, yet they have fought to pass this bill, extending Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. If we were to let these cuts expire, our deficit could be reduced by $50 billion in 2013 alone. Simply stated, the tax plan laid out in H.R. 8 will not raise adequate revenue to fund our national priorities or repay our debt.
Instead of arguing over tax cuts for those individuals who don't need our help, this Congress should be working across the aisle to create a fair, comprehensive tax reform that unburdens our working families. The conversation should be focused on continuing to rebuild our economy and reduce our deficit, not give handouts to the wealthy few. When a bill that outlines real, fair tax reform comes up for consideration on the Floor, I will support it.
Mr. Speaker, it is for these reasons that I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012.