Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) voted against the House Republican plan to extend all of the Bush Tax Cuts, including those for the wealthiest Americans. Instead, he voted for the Democratic alternative -- an identical version of the Senate-passed bill which extended tax cuts for low- and middle-income families. This would have included 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses. The GOP-led majority voted against this plan, and passed their own version.
"My Republican colleagues had a chance to work in a bipartisan manner and pass a massive middle class tax cut, before the August recess. Instead, they continued to act on behalf of the richest Americans, at a cost of nearly $1 trillion to our deficit. Their plan raises taxes on 25 million middle class families by an average of $1,000, while giving an extra $160,000 tax cut to Americans making more than $1 million per year.
"I voted against the Bush Tax Cuts in 2001, 2003, and 2010 and I would do so again. Those tax cuts for the super wealthy are a significant part of our massive federal debt, and it is time to end this windfall. Since President Obama's election, my Republican friends have masqueraded as deficit hawks, despite being largely responsible for the sky high deficits. Their new-found fiscal responsibility falls by the wayside when billionaire tax cuts are in question. They seem to have no issues with increasing the deficit when it benefits the wealthiest, but cry foul when it helps middle class families.
"Personally, I think the $250,000 threshold voted on by the Senate is too low, as states such as New York have a middle class very different from that in Mississippi. However, I find the alternative of lining the pockets of more billionaires while holding working families' tax cuts hostage to be much more unacceptable," said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.