Washington, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin wrote to President Bush today asking that he put middle class families ahead of the special interests and multi-millionaires.
The full text of the letter follows below:
December 15, 2005
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, Congress is scheduled to reconvene later this month. We are writing to urge you to work with us in the remaining days of this congressional session to address the tightening squeeze on the middle class and to reject ideologically-driven budget legislation that would harm ordinary Americans and increase the debt burden on our children in order to provide tax breaks for special interests and multi-millionaires.
Middle class families are suffering from declining wages and rising prices for everything from energy to health care to college tuition. The onset of winter and higher home heating bills will only exacerbate this problem. Unfortunately, Washington has done little to address the needs of working families and that neglect almost certainly will continue unless you exert strong personal leadership.
Democrats have long advocated a variety of policies that can help middle class families. These include proposals to improve student aid, to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, to end energy price gouging, and to provide middle class tax relief. It is disappointing that Washington Republicans have blocked these proposals repeatedly.
Instead of making middle class families and their needs our top priority, Washington in recent years has focused largely on enacting expensive tax breaks that reward special interests and multi-millionaires. This has led to record deficits at a time when our nation should be saving so the federal government can keeps its promises to millions of Americans entering their retirement years. Many Washington Republicans now are seeking to partially offset the costs for special interest tax breaks by cutting student aid, health care, housing, and other programs that assist the most vulnerable Americans. These cuts would harm working families who are struggling to make ends meet, and would compound the serious problems facing hundreds of thousands of hurricane survivors. Yet even these spending cuts would not be sufficient to pay for all of the tax breaks in the Republican budget. As a result, the cumulative effect of the tax and spending proposals currently under consideration in Congress would be to hurt millions of working Americans and significantly worsen this nation’s already troubling fiscal situation.
In our view, and in the view of many of our nation’s top religious leaders, this ideological approach to budgeting is not only wrong; it is immoral. While it may reflect the perspective of an elite group of ultra-conservative special interests in Washington, it certainly does not represent the values of most Americans.
As Congress completes its work on the budget in the coming days, we are eager to work with you to adopt reasonable, bipartisan approaches to address the needs of the middle class, while rejecting the radical and ideologically-driven budget proposals moving forward in the Congress.
Thank you for your consideration.
Harry Reid Senate Democratic Leader
Richard J. Durbin Assistant Senate Democratic Leader