Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Republican plan to pay for a payroll tax extension by killing jobs and attacking the middle class. Below are his remarks as prepared:
Yesterday on the Senate floor my friend, the Republican Leader, said he supports an extension of the payroll tax cut that was enacted last year.
I was glad to hear that he had experienced a change of heart since Tuesday, when he said our legislation wouldn’t “do a thing to help the economy.”
But I noticed my friend was careful to say only that he supports existing cuts, not that he supports Democrats’ plan to cut taxes for 160 million American workers and every business in this country.
And last night I found out why. I was disappointed to see Republicans’ alternative proposal was actually a backdoor route to protect the very rich while shortchanging the middle-class and small businesses.
Our proposal would provide deeper relief for working families and expand existing tax cuts to benefit businesses as well.
The Republican proposal rejects this new tax relief. It doesn’t provide a penny of additional tax cuts for working families. And it does nothing for small businesses – the “job creators” Republicans claim to care so much about.
Republicans seem to think our plan – to put $1,500 back in the pocket of nearly every American family and give small businesses the boost they need to hire new employees – goes too far.
They are willing to fight for ever-deeper tax cuts for the wealthy. But when it comes to the middle class, Republicans believe the status quo is good enough for families struggling to get by.
The Republicans plan goes directly against the budget agreement we reached just a few months ago. And while Democrats have been working tirelessly to create new jobs, the Republican plan goes in precisely the opposite direction. Instead of creating jobs, it would cost jobs.
Under their plan, many more middle class families around the country would lose their jobs. That includes Americans dedicated to public service – hard working people committed to educating our youth, or to keep our streets safe.
Do the Republicans really believe that the way to revive the economy is to lay off more FBI agents? Or to fire more border patrol officers? These cuts won’t revive the economy, they’ll only slow it down and cost even more jobs.
While targeting the middle class, the Republicans propose to do nothing to cut back on excessive subsidies for many of the large corporations that benefit from government contracts. Employees at some of these taxpayer-supported corporations are being paid almost $700,000 a year, even while many public servants struggle to make ends meet.
But the Republicans seem uninterested in going after those high income earners. As usual, the only real target of the Republican meat axe is the American middle class. And that’s just wrong.
America’s middle class has been hurting for too long. They’re the people who are struggling. They’re the ones who need help. Not multi-millionaires. And not large, profitable government contractors.
So, M. President, the Republican proposal is unacceptable. And it won’t pass the Senate. We can do better, and we must.