By Tom Tillison
Orlando Political Press
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Republicans said they would not agree to proceed on any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and prevent “the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.”
“One thing I think we all agreed on at the White House is that we ought to do first things first,” Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in an interview with ABC News. “And what the American people want to know is, are our taxes going up, and how are you going to fund the government. Let’s do those things first, and see what kind of time is left.”
Asked whether that meant the Senate would have time to tackle all the other issues like repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” passing the DREAM Act, or extending unemployment benefits, McConnell said: “No, I don’t think so.”
Released from the Senate Republican Communications Center today;
Senate GOP Letter To Majority Leader Reid On
“We Cannot Agree To Prioritize Any Matters Above The Critical Issues Of Funding The Government And Preventing A Job-Killing Tax Hike”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following is a letter signed by all 42 members of the Republican Caucus that was delivered to Senator Harry Reid earlier today. The letter states “we write to inform you that we 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. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”
Full letter to Senator Reid:
Dear Leader Reid,
The nation’s unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said “we owe” it to the American people to “focus on those issues that affect their jobs.” He went on to say that Americans “want jobs to come back faster.” Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities.
For that reason, we write to inform you that we 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. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.
Given our struggling economy, preventing the tax increase and providing economic certainty should be our top priority. Without Congressional action by December 31, all American taxpayers will be hit by an increase in their individual income-tax rates and investment income through the capital gains and dividend rates. If Congress were to adopt the President’s tax proposal to prevent the tax increase for only some Americans, small businesses would be targeted with a job-killing tax increase at the worst possible time. Specifically, more than 750,000 small businesses will see a tax increase, which will affect 50 percent of small-business income and nearly 25 percent of the entire workforce. The death tax rate will also climb from zero percent to 55 percent, which makes it the top concern for America’s small businesses. Republicans and Democrats agree that small businesses create most new jobs, so we ought to be able to agree that raising taxes on small businesses is the wrong remedy in this economy. Finally, Congress still needs to act on the “tax extenders” and the alternative minimum tax “patch,” all of which expired on December 31, 2009.
We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation’s small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.
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