Let's give everyone a tax cut (Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.)

A stalemate in Washington is nothing new. We certainly cannot afford one now especially since the tax cuts that went into effect in 2001-03 are due to expire at the end of the year.

So to my colleagues in Congress getting ready to reconvene on Nov. 15, how's this for an ice-breaker we can all support? Let's give everyone a tax cut.

The lady working behind the deli counter? She'll get a tax cut. Donald Trump? He'll get a tax cut, too.

This has been my prevailing thought as I proposed a compromise for extending the tax cuts. My plan would continue the cuts for five years on the first $200,000 of every individual's annual income or $250,000 of every family's annual income.

So, theoretically, if Mr. Trump files an individual tax return, the tax cut will apply to the first $200,000 he made this year.

This idea had strong bipartisan support in Congress before the current recess. No wonder. Nearly every American would benefit from this extension. The annual income of 98 percent of the nation's individuals and small businesses falls below the $200,000/$250,000 threshold.

Achieving America's economic potential begins with a revitalized middle class. An obvious first step is to continue to minimize the tax burden on working American people and families.

We must also help benefit seniors' retirement holdings and other long-term investments, which is why I also propose a five-year extension of the current tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.

Finally, my plan calls for a one year extension of the current tax rates on income earned in excess of the $200,000/ $250,000 threshold, but below $500,000 annually. The result would be that 99 percent of all individuals and small businesses tax rates would not change, and only income in excess of $500,000 would be taxed at the same rate it was in the 1990s.

Throughout this year, I have repeatedly stated my opposition to permanently extending tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who constitute the smallest percentage of our national population because of the costs the nation will continue to incur. In fact, permanently extending tax cuts for the top two percent of all earners will cost us 38.8 billion dollars per year, $700 billion over ten years.

I will not ignore the many conversations I have had with my friends and neighbors or the clear message sent by voters across the nation on Nov. 2. People want this nation to be the economic powerhouse it has been in the past. They want jobs. They want prosperity. I do too. Frankly, there is no one on either side of the aisle in Congress who disagrees with us.

The point of my compromise is to get Congress to accomplish the middle-class tax cuts for the vast majority of American taxpayers. At the same time, the plan gives Congress time to make a long-term decision on the remaining tax cuts based on what is best for the entire country.

This will facilitate, not end, discussion among all members of Congress by focusing on where we all agree and acknowledging what our nation cannot afford. It is a short-term solution to meet an impending deadline, and could be the first step toward continuing bipartisan efforts to revitalize our economy.

It is my hope that my colleagues in Congress as well as the Obama administration will embrace this opportunity to work for the American people. Americans have had enough of Congresses that are gridlocked by members obstinately clinging to party loyalty.

Lets revive the lost art of compromise.