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Public Statements

This Week in Washington


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As I'm sure you may have heard, Congress is back in what they call a "Lame Duck" session. This week, the topic of taxes has dominated most discussions, with debate of extension of the often mentioned "Bush Tax Cuts." I wanted to let you know of what we've been able to accomplish, but also the important work still left to be done.

This week marked passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, a bill providing a permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates for households earning less than $250,000 a year. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, our work is not done. I've called on the Senate to work to include language to also bring a temporary two-year tax cut extension for all income levels, in a committed effort to do all we can to help jump start our economy. While we continue to see some signs of progress in the form of employment gains and business expansion announcements, we must do all we can to leave all hard earned money out of the hands of the Federal government, and in the hands of the people creating jobs. Small business is the engine of our prosperity, and making sure they can keep their earned income and spend it on hiring new workers, purchasing equipment, and expanding their businesses potential, is money well spent. It is my firm belief that right now, while our economy continues along on its recovery, is not the time to raise taxes on any American.

As Congress discusses tax provisions once set to expire at the close of this year, I have reiterated my call for a permanent end to the Estate Tax--also often referred to as the "Death Tax." This tax wrongly punishes our farmers and manufacturers. Our proud nation has been built on our ability to create. We've been blessed with the resources and ability to work hard to feed ourselves and others, and a history of creating durable and affordable goods. Our economy works best, and by definition is set to be most effective and efficient, when people have jobs and businesses are able to profit and thus continue doing business.

The Estate Tax prevents those very same people, who have worked a lifetime to create jobs and help our region prosper, the opportunity to pass on their legacies, including valuable land and equipment required for the operation of their businesses. The hard earned dollars of our family farms and family-owned small businesses should not be subject to excessive taxation based solely on the death of a beloved relative or business partner. I will continue to do all I can to push for complete repeal of this unjust tax.

As I've often said, our Federal government does not have a revenue problem; it has a serious spending problem. I'm committed to making sure that I bring the very same kitchen-table economics of balancing our checkbooks that both you and I practice at home with me in Washington. I've proudly supported Pay-As-You-Go legislation throughout this Congress with the exact same principal in mind that my now 93-year-old mother instilled in me as a boy when she told me, "You can't spend what you don't have!" I will always do all I can to make sure that our government has a planned source of revenue to fund any legislation that I support. We cannot let the often misguided spending sprees of Washington allow us to justify increasing taxes on our hard working families. I'll always keep my word on that.

While the work of the 111th Congress enters its final month, there is still much to be accomplished. As departing members leave, and new members arrive, one thing remains important-- we continue to work with folks in both parties on behalf of the American people. I'll continue to bring your common sense approach with me at every turn, in my work on the House Armed Services and Agriculture Committees and on the House floor.

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