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Rep. Jackson Statement on 'No' Vote on Tax Bill


Location: Unknown

Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. issued the following statement regarding his "No" vote on the compromise tax bill:

"In about a month, almost every member of the House will be speaking at events in their district commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.

"But Dr. King's dream was no pie in the sky fantasy. It was a real deal, dollars and cents economic plan. Amid the soaring rhetoric and the beautiful prose Dr. King made a clear point.

"He said that, 'In a sense we have come to our nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'

"Dr. King said that on that promissory note, America had given its people a bad check - that it had come back marked, 'Insufficient funds.'

"He then said, 'But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check - a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.'

"Passage of tonight's bill is a refusal to pay our fair share into the vaults of opportunity for all Americans. It will drive up the debt, and put pressure on Congress to cut programs for the most vulnerable.

"Thanks to this agreement, when out of work Americans look for help in paying the rent, the Congress will say, 'insufficient funds.' When veterans look for the health care that is owed to them, Congress will say, 'insufficient funds.' When our schools look for the funding they need to teach our kids, Congress will say, 'insufficient funds.'

"This bill will only drive up the deficit, which is already too high in the eyes of our constituents. That will put even more pressure on Congress and the President to cut vital social programs when we reconvene next year.

"If that sounds familiar to the American people, it should. In the early 1980s, President Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, conceived of a strategy he called 'starve the beast.' By cutting taxes and increasing military spending, the President could force Congress to cut social spending in order to control the deficit. As Stockman put it, they would cut, 'Real blood and guts stuff.'

"That is what we will see next year if this tax deal goes through. The 'blood and guts' will come from programs for the poor, for seniors, for the unemployed, for our young people, and for our veterans.

"At a time when they're most needed, we should not put these important programs on the chopping block.

"Indeed, I refuse to believe that the American people should be forced to accept this tax deal that will lead to 'insufficient funds.' I refuse to believe that the vaults of opportunity will be empty when it comes to the most vulnerable. That is why I opposed this bill, and that is why I urged a no vote."

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