For several months, House Republicans have been working to cut spending and implement pro-growth policies to help move our economy forward and allow our nation's businesses to put millions of Americans back to work. We have passed more than forty jobs bills and approved a budget that would reduce our unsustainable deficits and put our budget back on a path to balance. Here in the House, we have long understood that government is too big and that Washington's fiscal irresponsibility hinders economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, that message seems to have been lost in the Senate and at the White House.
This holiday season, our nation's focus has turned to the pending fiscal cliff of tax increases and harmful spending cuts to our national security. But the issues underlining the fiscal cliff--excessive spending and unacceptable tax increases--did not originate over night.
Everyone in Washington knew what was on the horizon. House Republicans understood the necessity to act. In May of this year, we passed the Sequester Replacement Act, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, to replace the harmful automatic defense cuts that are part of the impending sequestration with commonsense pro-growth reductions in spending that would help provide a down payment to reduce our debt without endangering our national security or further harming our economy. The Administration, on the other hand, continued to insist that sequestration was not an issue and did not even allow for the Department of Defense to begin planning for it until earlier this month, more than one year after the sequester was first announced.
The Administration's inaction and unwillingness to deal with the negative impact of sequestration was matched by Senate Democrats constant refusal to address the pending $4 trillion tax increase set to take place on all Americans starting on January 1. This tax increase would hurt our economy at a time when we can least afford it. All taxpayers would be hit with a higher tax bill, and, according to acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, two-thirds of taxpayers would not even be able to begin filing their returns until the end of March.
A massive tax increase, coming right after the holiday season, is the last thing that the American people need. House Republicans have led the effort to avoid this tax increase, and in August we passed a bill, with bipartisan support, to extend the current tax rates for all Americans. But, for more than five months Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have refused to even debate these tax cut extensions.
The House-passed measures to replace sequestration and extend tax rates would avert the fiscal cliff and begin the process of preventing a full-blown debt crisis. These bills represent the will of the American people and must be acted on by the President and the Democrat leadership in the Senate. But, the only things they have proposed are massive tax increases and more spending. Raising taxes and continuing down the road of record-breaking deficit spending is simply a recipe for economic disaster. Real spending cuts and tax reform represent the best way to achieve the kind of lasting economic growth that will create jobs for generations to come.
House Republicans are serious about solving our nation's fiscal problems. Now it is time for the President and Senate to work with the House to give the American people the Christmas gift they deserve: a prosperous future. In the mean time, I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays.