The unemployment rate in October, the latest data available, was 9.6 percent.
That marked 15 consecutive months we were at or above 9.5 percent unemployment in this country – the longest period since the Great Depression.
All told, 48 out of 50 states have lost jobs since the so-called $1 trillion stimulus bill and nearly 15 million Americans remain unemployed.
What is the Democrats’ answer to the Great Recession? Increase taxes. But not just any taxes. Democrats, in the bill before us today, are targeting half of all small business income in the country. Democrats are targeting the very employers we need hiring more workers and buying more equipment – not paying more taxes.
Let’s face it – this bill is as misguided as it is futile. This is the wrong policy at the wrong time and the Majority is wrong to bring it to the floor today. In fact, many of their own members agree with me. I have here in my hand a letter signed by over 30 Democrat members of the House. Let me read what they wrote.
“In recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced their concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth. Given the continued fragility of our economy and slow pace of our recovery, we share their concerns.”
I want to repeat that: “…raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth.”
Madame Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be submitted into the record.
Set aside for a minute the economists and the political rhetoric and let’s look at what small businesses say about the impact of this tax-hiking legislation. According to the National Federation of Small Business, “the businesses most likely to face a tax increase by raising the top two rates are businesses employing between 20 and 250 employees. According to U.S. Census data, businesses with between 20 and 299 workers employ more than 25 percent of the total workforce.”
Those who are most likely to be hit by these tax increases employ 1 out of every 4 workers in this nation. This Democrat tax hike is putting a target on the back of every worker in every small business in America.
As for the futility of this exercise, it would be comical if it weren’t so irresponsible. Democrats can barely muster the votes for this bill in the House. I’m told they had to whip the bill and hold a special caucus this morning just to move forward. Their position is so precarious they won’t even allow Republicans to offer amendments or any alternative. Why? Because Democrats know the Republican bill to extend the current tax rates for all taxpayers would pass with broad bipartisan support.
So, once again House Democrats have closed down the amendment process in order to pass a bill that will never see the light of day in the Senate. Just yesterday, 42 Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid and stated in no uncertain terms that they “will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.” Madame Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be entered into the record.
Clearly, this bill is going nowhere. Democrats are wasting time, while Americans look for work. Democrats are playing games, while Americans struggle to make ends meet. The American people did not send us here to posture; they sent us here to provide solutions.
I had hoped that after the election we would get down to working together to solve the serious problems Americans are facing. That is why I was encouraged by the President agreeing to have Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate members sit down with his Administration to hammer out a deal on these expiring tax rates. I thought: maybe we have turned a corner.
Instead of letting that process work itself out, instead of working with Republicans to prevent job-killing tax increases, House Democrats are back at it again – putting politics ahead of everything else. This is a time for serious negotiations and solutions, not political stunts. Far too much is a stake, far too many families are out of work and far too many families will soon see real and sizeable amounts of money taken out of their paychecks if the Democrats continue with these games.
I urge my colleagues to reject this Democrat tax hike, this job-killing tax hike.