Washington, D.C.- Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the fiscal cliff. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
It took four months, but Republicans are finally realizing the way back from the fiscal cliff has been right in front of them all along.
In July, the Senate passed legislation to give economic certainty to 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses – to every American making less than $250,000 a year.
For four months we’ve been one vote away from a solution to this looming crisis.
And for four months, House Republicans have refused to act.
Instead they have held the middle class hostage to protect the richest 2 percent of taxpayers – people who have enjoyed a decade of ballooning income and shrinking tax bills.
Now reasonable Republicans are coming around to what Democrats have said all along: let’s reassure millions of middle-class Americans their taxes won’t go up by $2,200 on January 1.
Prominent Republicans are calling on Speaker Boehner to end the suspense for millions of American families.
Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma urged his caucus to pass the Senate’s legislation keeping taxes low for those making less than $250,000.
And conservative, Republican Congressman Tim Scott of South Carolina admitted yesterday that if the Speaker brought our bill to a vote, it would surely to pass.
It’s time House Republican leadership listened to the will of the American people – and the advice of reasonable members of their own caucus.
The way out of this standoff is clear.
Yet we’re left wondering how long Republicans will force middle-class families to wait and worry.
Unfortunately, resolving this standoff won’t eliminate every conflict over our fiscal future.
If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, it will take a balanced approach.
Last year, we successfully worked across party lines to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending we just couldn’t afford.
Now, even our Republican colleagues acknowledge budget cuts alone won’t solve our fiscal challenges.
A majority of Americans – 60 percent – want to end needless tax breaks for the richest Americans. Democrats couldn’t agree more.
But we can argue over whether to give more unnecessary handouts to the wealthy tomorrow.
We can discuss balanced, responsible ways to reduce our deficit tomorrow.
Let’s take care of the middle class today.