Pelosi challenges House Republicans to bring middle-class tax cut bill to a vote

As the nation moves closer to the fiscal cliff, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi strongly urged House Republicans to bring up the Senate’s middle-class tax cut for a vote.

“100% of the American people will receive a tax cut when we pass the middle-income tax cut,” Pelosi said yesterday. “The wealthiest people in our country will receive a tax cut up to their income of $250,000. We’re asking them to pay a little bit more for what they make over $250,000 a year to help reduce the deficit, to help grow the economy. That growth is what is essential.”

Pelosi expressed confidence that the Senate-approved bill to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for incomes below $250,000 would be supported by a least two-thirds of the House members.

Her appeal on the House floor was met with a smirk from Rep. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

“Oh, do I detect your smirk to mean that you don’t think Republicans will vote for middle-income tax cut, Mr. Sessions?” Pelosi challenged. “Do I take it to mean that you will continue to hold middle-income tax cuts hostage, giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country? The unfairness of it is appalling.”

Pelosi argued that House members should not be allowed to recess for the holidays unless the middle-class tax cut is passed.

“It matters that we get a job done. It is relevant to the lives of the American people,” she said. 

Pelosi pointed out that extending the middle-class tax cuts now will help boost consumer confidence and holiday sales. Families are hesitant to spend money on holiday gifts when “they really don’t know if they’re going to be able to pay the bill in January for the purchases in December,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi criticized the Republicans for rejecting the Democrat’s offer of $1.6 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for over $1 trillion in additional revenue by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for incomes exceeding $250,000 a year.

(Note: Pelosi’s $1.6 trillion spending reduction figure includes last year’s $1 trillion cut to discretionary spending imposed by the Budget Control Act plus about $600 billion in new entitlement and health care savings.)

“Where is the revenue that the Republicans are willing to bring to the table?” Pelosi asked. “All we’ve seen from them is a letter. All we’ve heard from them is that they don’t want to tax the rich.”

Republicans oppose raising tax rates even for the very wealthy, insisting that any additional tax revenue be generated by eliminating so-called “tax expenditures” or tax deductions and credits. The GOP’s approach could spell the end of popular tax preferences that benefit the middle-class, such as the mortgage interest deduction.

Unless Congress takes action before Jan. 1, 2013, the country will fall off what’s known as the “fiscal cliff” – a combination of tax increases and steep spending cuts that economists warned would result in a recession.


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One Comment on “Pelosi challenges House Republicans to bring middle-class tax cut bill to a vote

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Nancy Pelosi's floor statement on the middle-class tax cut & fiscal cliff | What The Folly?!

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