Today, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) voted to extend tax cuts for all Americans and opposed the Republican plan to deliver extra tax breaks to the richest two percent on the backs of the middle class. Rather than joining Democrats in their effort to provide tax cuts, Republicans voted down this measure in an attempt to secure even larger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans which they know will not pass in the Senate. Congressman Cohen stayed in Washington, D.C. to cast these votes, despite being in a contested primary, which is being held tomorrow.
"If Republicans were serious about providing tax relief to the middle- and upper-middle classes and cutting the debt, they would emulate the successful policies of President Clinton who cut spending and raised revenue by creating a more just tax system," said Congressman Cohen. "But this balanced approach is considered heresy within the majority's caucus despite the fact that it is supported by onetime standard-bearers of Republican economic philosophy like Martin Feldstein, an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary to President George W. Bush, as well as the Simpson-Bowles Commission and economists including Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz."
House Republicans voted to give tax cuts to the richest two percent -- a policy that explodes the national debt by nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. The Republican plan raises taxes on 25 million middle class families by an average of $1,000 while giving an extra $160,000 tax break to Americans making more than $1 million per year.
The Republican bill will have real consequences for families in Tennessee. House Republicans' refusal to extend the middle class tax cuts means a typical middle class family of four would see taxes rise by $2,200 on January 1, 2013.
Prior to today's action, the Senate already passed middle-income tax cuts for households earning up to $250,000 a year. House Republicans opposed the measure, preferring to hold the economic security of the middle class hostage to tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, Big Oil, special interests, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.