Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ proposal to cut taxes for 160 million Americans and every U.S. business. Below are his remarks as prepared:
Republicans love to talk about taxes.
They like them low; we like them high. Or so they would have you believe.
By that logic, Republicans ought to be lining up to support our payroll tax cut legislation.
Democrats propose we cut taxes for 160 million Americans and every single business in the country. The average American family would save about $1,500.
Yet Republicans have appeared out of the woodwork to oppose our plan.
They don’t like these particular tax cuts because of how they’re paid for – with a small, 3.25 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year.
Come to find out, Republicans only care about keeping taxes low for one very small group of people: the richest of the rich.
Here is the contrast:
On one side, you have Democrats fighting to cut taxes for 160 million Americans who each make an average of less than $30,000 a year. On the other side, you have Republicans fighting to keep taxes low for fewer than 350,000 people who each take home about $3 million every year.
And what’s worse, if Republicans get their way – if they successfully side with the richest of the rich over the rest of Americans – taxes will actually increase by $1,000 a year for 120 million households.
Ninety-two percent of American families will be affected.
In other words, Republicans are increasing taxes on nearly every American family to protect people who make an average $37,500 a week – more than most Americans make in a year.
Nearly every household in this country will have $1,000 less to spend on food and clothing and diapers next year. All so Republicans can protect people who earn an average of $3 million apiece.
In Kentucky, home to my friend, the Republican Leader, 2.1 million middle-class workers will be hit with a tax increase if Republicans block our proposal.
But 1,345 Kentuckians who make an average of $3.5 million each will be protected thanks to the efforts of Senate Republicans.
So, why would Republicans throw 92 percent of American families under the bus, whacking them with a tax increase on January 1, to protect the richest of the rich? It sounds like political suicide, not to mention being shockingly callous policy.
So, one might assume there is some compelling reason for Republicans to stake out this seemingly indefensible ground – to take the side of the top two-tenths of one percent of American earners while raising taxes on 160 million others.
Here is their reason: Republicans say they want to protect “job creators.”
Of course, that claim is laughable on its face. Our bill would cut taxes for literally every business in the country. And for 98 percent of firms – including virtually every small business – it would cut payroll taxes in half.
I could quote virtually every member of the Republican caucus singing the praises of small businesses that create jobs.
You won’t hear any disagreement from Democrats. That’s why our bill cuts taxes for every small business in America, including 50,000 firms in Nevada.
Yet, a bill that will cut taxes for 92 percent of American families and every single business in the nation without adding a penny to the deficit may not get a single Republican vote because it would cost a few incredibly prosperous Americans two weeks pay.
And to top it all off, Republicans know the tax increase they’re foisting on middle-class families would be devastating for our economy.
The Economic Policy Institute says this Republican tax hike will reduce GDP by $128 billion and cost 972,000 jobs.
That would send our economy into a tailspin, and it’s impossible to tell how long we would take to recover.
Republicans often say we can’t afford to raise taxes on the top two-tenths of one percent of American taxpayers.
So I ask them this: How can we afford a tax increase on 92 percent of American families?