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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin, the chairman of our Budget Committee.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge support for the measures before us to replace the sequester and reduce the deficit and to extend permanent tax relief for the middle class and hundreds of thousands of small business people.
For the past weeks and months, as people have been looking for jobs and budgeting for their expenses, we've been working to keep taxes from going up and offering commonsense spending reforms. The Spending Reduction Act at issue today reduces our deficit and protects our national security by replacing indiscriminate cuts that are neither strategic nor balanced.
Mr. Speaker, we all agree that our current spending path is unsustainable and poses a real threat to the economy, to job creation, and to our ability to remain competitive in the global economy. We must address the underlying issue that faces this country, which is the mounting deficit and load of debt that we are going to leave to this generation and the next. But the President has been unwilling to consider serious spending cuts or offer a serious and balanced plan to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The risks of unchecked spending are grave. The consequences of our debt crisis will be felt by every student looking for a job that matches their skills after graduation, by every retiree counting on Social Security and Medicare, and by every small business owner looking to expand and hire.
We have passed bills and put forward reforms that would save programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from certain and predictable failure, yet we cannot find cooperation, Mr. Speaker, from the White House or the other side of the aisle to help solve these problems.
It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in this place just 11 days from the new year. For months, we have been ready and willing to work with the President to prevent the fiscal cliff from impacting small businesses and hardworking families.
The math shows that the President's push to hike taxes won't reduce the deficit, and, left unchecked, his government spending will bankrupt our future. Our plan will protect 740,000 additional small businesses that would otherwise be hit by the tax hike the President is proposing.
We don't believe taxes should go up on anybody, but if we can prevent taxes from going up on as many people as possible, on 99.81 percent of American families and small businesses, we must and need to do so.
Americans are looking for jobs, small businesses are deciding whether they should hire or invest in growing, and many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. We are all committed to creating an economy where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
House Republicans are offering a plan today similar to one that received 53 Democratic votes in the U.S. Senate only 2 years ago, and the Spending Reduction Act is a serious start toward reducing our deficit and protecting our national security.
Absent a balanced offer from the President, this is our Nation's best option, and Senate Democrats should take up both of these measures immediately.
The President has a choice, Mr. Speaker. He can support these measures or be responsible for reckless spending and the largest tax hike in American history.
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