Today, Republicans in the House of Representatives (along with 19 Democrats) voted to stop the tax hikes slated to take effect next year by passing H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act. This bill would keep the tax rates at their current level through 2013, instead of letting them spike up to Clinton-era levels.
This critical piece of legislation comes at a critical time. A recent study by Ernst and Young found that, in contrast to President Obama's plan to raise taxes next year, stopping the tax hikes would save an estimated 700,000 jobs and keep wages from falling by 1.8 percent. It also means that a family of four would not see their taxes increased by almost $2,200 next year.
On the contrary, the Republicans' plan to keep taxes at their current level would give job-creators the consistency and security they need to move forward and pull America out of the sluggish economy that we've been stuck in for the past four years. Small business owners in particular would be helped as they would continue to keep more of their earnings and thus have the resources to innovate, expand, and hire more workers.
Right now, with President Obama still at the helm, our economic outlook remains bleak. The growth of the US economy slowed to a dismal 1.5% last quarter, and a report today just found that U.S. manufacturing has shrunk for two consecutive months for the first time since 2009. I believe we can boost those numbers, however, if we do not raise taxes and instead pursue reforms to the tax code that make it more simple and more fair.
As we head into the August recess, this puts the ball firmly in President Obama's side of the court. At a time like this, there should be bipartisan support for this bill. Yet Obama and Democrats in the Senate have so far refused to negotiate and remain committed to raising taxes. Obama joined with Republicans in 2010 to keep the current tax rates and prevent our economy from slipping into another recession. I can only hope that for the sake our families and small-business owners--especially those whom I represent here in California--he will do the same now.