As the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, millions of Americans saw their taxes go up. By late that same day, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reverse the tax hikes on 99% of Americans and even went further - making permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for millions of families and small businesses. The American Taxpayer Relief Act -- which cuts taxes $3.6 trillion this decade - also ended the threat of the Alternative Minimum Tax expanding to hit 27 million more Americans and permanently protects most family owned farms and businesses from the controversial Death Tax.
"In addition to blocking Congress from getting a pay raise, the major overriding reason for passing this bill was to reverse the New Years Day tax hikes on Texas families and small businesses -- and to once and for all make lower taxes a permanent reality for 99% of Americans. That goal -- to permanently lower taxes -- is one I've fought for continually in the 11 years since the Ways & Means Committee first successfully passed the Bush era tax cuts. From this day forward it will no longer take an act of Congress to keep Uncle Sam from taking more of your money," said U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a senior member of the tax cutting House Ways and Means Committee and incoming chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.
"On the Ways & Means Committee we've fought long and hard to end forever the threat of the alternative minimum tax spreading to middle-class families and to permanently protect family-owned farms and businesses from the immoral Death Tax," added Brady. "As the leader of the fight in Congress to bury the Death Tax once and for all, this was an important step forward."
The measure -- which blocks the executive order by President Obama to give pay raises to Congress -- was backed by Ways & Means Committee leaders Dave Camp, Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform who maintains the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, tweeted "The Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every Republican voting for the Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge."
Said Brady, "Now President Obama and the Democrats who control 2/3 of Washington have no more excuses. They can no longer ignore the urgent need to tackle the deficit crisis, fix our broken tax code and find a way to save Social Security and Medicare for every generation. These are the real challenges facing our country."
Brady helped lead House Republican efforts this summer to extend all current tax rates, cut federal spending and take necessary steps to save Social Security and Medicare -- two important seniors programs that are on shaky financial ground.