On Wednesday, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted against H.R. 8, the GOP's so-called Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act.
House Republicans have put the tax cut extension for more than 90 percent of Americans and small businesses on the line in order to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent.
The GOP measure extends the Bush tax cuts for one year and raises taxes on millions of working families by allowing provisions from the 2009 Recovery Act - including portions of the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for College -- to end.
"It is time for the richest Americans and big corporations to pay their fair share," said Hanabusa. "Our country cannot afford to continue paying for tax cuts for those who need it the least. Let's get our priorities straight.
"The tax cuts for the wealthiest in our nation have done little to improve our economy or create jobs, while history has shown us that investments in education and infrastructure make our country stronger and middle-class spending drives consumer demand and economic strength. The tax code should be fair for everyone, and the GOP proposals take us in the wrong direction. The middle-class should not be forced to make up the difference for benefits enjoyed solely by big corporations and America's wealthiest."
Hanabusa voted in favor of a Democratic amendment that would, like the Senate version of the bill that passed last week, only extend the tax cuts for joint filers with income below $250,000 and individuals with income below $200,000. It would allow the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans to expire at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass.
"Let's put this in real numbers. The Office of Tax Analysis estimates that 500,000 Hawaii families would be affected if the middle-class tax reductions are not extended. That's half a million local families facing higher taxes just to preserve tax breaks for the top two percent."
H.R. 8 also provides a two-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and extends through 2013 the current exemption from the estate tax for estates up to $5 million and the maximum top rate of 35% for estates above that value.
The bill passed by a vote of 256 to 171 and now heads to the Senate.