With President Obama set to appear at a press conference in just over an hour, the two leaders of the House's liberal Democratic coalition announced they're holding steady in opposition to an extension of high-income Bush tax cuts, despite Obama's outlining of a compromise deal last night.
Congressmen Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Keith Ellison (MN), the two incoming co-chairs of the House Progressive Caucus, released this statement:
We call on our Congressional leaders in the House and Senate to hold firm on passing a middle class tax cut with no strings attached. We also call on Congressional Republicans to stop using unemployed Americans as bargaining chips in exchange for another tax break for the wealthy.
Tax breaks for billionaires don't create jobs. The George W. Bush presidency and the Republican recession are proof of that. Giving rich people more money just for being rich does nothing to help the economy. It only increases the national debt. No amount of Republican rhetoric can change that fact.
We simply cannot afford to borrow another $700 billion to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who aren't paying their fair share, especially when there are millions of Americans still looking for work. Just 1 percent of that $700 billion would pay for almost 142,000 elementary school teachers for an entire year. That money should be used to create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure and educate our children, not for the wealthy to buy more yachts.
We agree with the President that there is no time to delay - the recovery is fragile, and American families are hurting. We need to make the right decisions right now to boost our economy. The unemployment crisis is a harsh reality for millions of Americans, and giving more money to the super-rich won't do anything to solve it.
This holiday season should be about supporting middle class Americans, not another taxpayer-funded present for the wealthy.
The sentiments are widely shared among House liberals, according to a caucus aide, but the statement does not indicate how caucus members will vote on the tax cuts. The Progressive Caucus has yet to meet as a body to discuss the proposed compromise, the aide said.