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Mr. WELCH. I thank the gentleman.
There is agreement in this Congress that we've got to create jobs in this economy. There is 100 percent agreement that we should extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people. If there is 100 percent agreement among the 435 Members of Congress to provide a continuing benefit to 98 percent of the people, why don't we do it? That's pretty good. The election will allow each side to make its argument about the tax cuts for the 2 percent. Incidentally, that 2 percent would be included. They'd get their tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income. So what we really have is 100 percent agreement that 100 percent of the people will get a tax cut, and we have a disagreement about whether 2 percent of the people will have their tax cuts stopped at $250,000.
We know that extending those Clinton-era tax rates is very important in order to maintain what is a fragile recovery. If we can step back from our political posturing and acknowledge that, in fact, we do agree that it is essential to the economy to extend those Clinton-era tax rates, why not do it sooner rather than later? Number one, there is no guarantee after the election that it will be easier to do then than it will be now. It's a roll of the dice on both sides.
It would be one thing if the only thing at stake were our political futures, our political careers. That's not a big deal. Yet what's at stake is the American economy. It's about whether people have jobs, whether they have security, whether they can depend on what they need to raise their families. Some of those provisions are really important to students--a tax credit if you have a kid in college. Some of those are important as to whether you're going to be able to continue to itemize your deductions if you're a middle class family. Some of those are about the rates of tax that you pay.
We agree on all of this, but it is solely within the power of the majority to decide whether to bring this bill to the floor for a vote. We are asking that it be done on behalf of the American people.
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