Pelosi Floor Speech Calling on House GOP to End Economic Uncertainty by Preventing Tax Hike on Middle-Income Families

Aug 1, 2012
Press Release

Contact: Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today calling on House Republicans to stop obstructing tax cuts for middle class Americans. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his legislation on the floor today to strengthen the backbone of our democracy, the great American middle class. Today we can do just that by passing President Obama’s middle-income tax cut, which is on the floor today as the Levin substitute. It has already passed the Senate, it could be signed into law by the President before the weekend. We have an opportunity to give a tax cut to 100 percent of the American people. We have an opportunity to relieve some of the uncertainty that exists in our economy as to how we’re going to pay the bills and how America’s working families are going to pay the bills. We have an opportunity for fairness – it is an all-American value. For fairness for our families, for our businesses, for our budget. We must not, as some people always accuse the Congress of doing, miss an opportunity. We have to take advantage of the opportunity that is here today.

“The bill provides for fairness to the middle class and ends uncertainty, as I mentioned. The Republican alternative, which says: ‘not only do we want to give 100 percent of the American people a tax cut, we want to give a bigger and better tax cut to people making over $250,000 year.’ Two percent of the American people. In order to do that, we greatly increase the deficit, we would incur borrowing from other countries including China, and to top it all off, in order to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our country, we have to increase taxes for the middle class in order to pay for it. If you make over a million dollars a year the Republican tax proposal will give you a tax cut of $160,000 on average. And on average America’s middle-income families would have to pay $1,000 more in taxes. You know, we work for the American people, you’re our bosses. So, as our bosses, what would you instruct us to do when it comes to reducing the deficit, giving a tax cut to 100 percent of the American people, which will inject demand into the economy and therefore create jobs? So we’re reducing the deficit, we’re creating jobs, we’re having fairness as a principle of how we go forward. Make no mistake, refusing to vote for the Senate passed bill, House Republicans are giving more tax breaks to the richest two percent, tax breaks they don’t need and we can’t afford. At the same time as they cut taxes for the rich, as I’ve said, they would raise an average of $1,000 on 25 million American families. Families who rely on the money for day to day needs to pay the bills. That isn’t fair and Democrats will fight to prevent these tax increases on middle-income families in order to give a tax break to the wealthiest people in our country.

“Today is the day that we can end some uncertainty. People are talking about the cliff – ‘are we going to go over the cliff come January?’ Let’s not even go anywhere near the edge of that cliff. Let’s pass that bill today, it will save about just under a trillion dollars, because we’re not giving those tax cuts to the high end. That’s almost all the money that is needed to avoid the sequestration come January. So, again, again we’re addressing the uncertainty, not only in the lives of the American people, but in the life of our economy. For today, which is the day that Republicans will continue to hold the middle class hostage to tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country.

“I urge my colleagues to join Mr. Levin, join the President of the United States, join all of us. There isn’t a person in this room, in this body, I think, who doesn’t support tax cuts for the middle class. Why can’t we just do that? Do what we can agree upon right now. Tax cut for the weekend, alleviating uncertainty for our economy as we go forward. And then we can have a debate about what a tax code should look like that has fairness, simplification, and again, keeps us competitive, innovative, and number one, allowing the private sector to create jobs. Again, jobs, jobs, jobs. Then we reduce that deficit by having additional revenue, by creating growth, by addressing spending so that we’re investing in those initiatives that grow our economy. Pretty soon when we end this debate, it will be around the time America’s families sit down to dinner at the kitchen table, or wherever, and they will have these discussions about how they pay the bills. The bills to stay in their home, or their apartment, wherever. Bills on how they’re going to pay for their children’s education, how their pensions are affected by all of this. The list goes on and on.

“With one vote we can alleviate that uncertainty. We’re not going to eliminate it, but we can lessen it. We have that responsibility. Let’s not miss the opportunity and miss an opportunity to do just that. So, I thank you Mr. Levin for your leadership and Members of the Committee for all of yours. And I yield back the balance of my time. Thank you.”