Senate Democrats

Reid: Congress Could Avert The Fiscal Cliff For Middle Class Families

House Should Take Up Senate-Passed Bill to Freeze Tax Rates for Middle Class and Ask Top Two Percent to Pay More

Senate-Passed Bill is Only One With a Chance to Become Law

Washington, D.C.Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the bipartisan compromise needed to avoid the fiscal cliff. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

In the weeks since our country voted to return President Barack Obama to the White House and a Democratic majority to the Senate, I have spoken often about compromise.

And I remain optimistic that when it comes to our economy – when it comes to protecting middle-class families from a whopping tax hike come January 1 – Republicans and Democrats will be able to find common ground.

President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, once said, “People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable… There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface.”

Too often Republicans and Democrats in Washington face off from our entrenched positions – never realizing the solutions to this country’s problems rest not on one side of the aisle or the other, but somewhere in the middle.

However, as we continue to negotiate a responsible path forward, I remind everyone within the sound of my voice of one fact: this Congress is already one vote away from avoiding the fiscal cliff for middle class families and small businesses.

We could solve the greatest economic emergency facing the nation today – if only the House would consider the Senate-passed bill freezing tax rates for 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses.

As Thomas Jefferson said, we should not put off for tomorrow what we can do today.

Our legislation would give economic certainty to the middle-class, protect important tax deductions for families and businesses and restore balance by asking the most fortunate among us to pay a little extra to reduce the deficit.

It’s also the only bill with a chance of being signed into law by President Obama.

I was dismayed to hear Speaker Boehner once again urge the Senate to take up the House-passed bill extending more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

The Senate has already considered that bill – and rejected it on a bipartisan basis.

The Senate has spoken.

And President Obama has spoken. He has promised he will not sign any bill that mortgages our future to pay for handouts to the wealthiest 2 percent.

I only hope House Republicans have been listening.

I also hope my colleagues – Republicans and Democrats, members of the House and of the Senate – used the Thanksgiving break not only to give thanks but also to reflect on the monumental tasks ahead.

And I hope they took time to reflect on the effort it will take to complete those tasks.

As President Eisenhower said, there will have to be compromises.

And seeking the middle of the road isn’t just acceptable – it’s the only way forward.