Domestic Taxes

Hoyer: Extending tax cuts for the wealthy a ‘mistake’ that would worsen debt

In a speech on the economy
and jobs, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Friday reiterated his
party’s call to extend the Bush middle-class tax cuts and deemed Republicans’
call to extend breaks for the wealthy a “mistake [that] would be putting
ourselves even deeper into debt.”

“Republicans claim that we
can’t afford $34 billion for the unemployed, but then, in the same breath, they
demand $676 billion in debt-finance tax cuts for the wealthy,” he said.

Conservative lawmakers such as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have recently claimed that extending tax cuts for the
wealthy should not be paid for. Under pay-as-you-go rules, an extension of
these tax breaks would have to be offset. 

The Tax Relief Coalition
earlier Friday blasted the PAYGO rule in the context of extending tax cuts for
the wealthy. 

“Unyielding adherence to
paygo virtually ensures that every discussion of tax policy becomes mired in
the rhetoric of class warfare,” it stated in a letter sent to Congress. 

Tax-writers in both chambers
are grappling with how to handle extending the Bush tax cuts. Democratic
leaders have dug in on their position that only the middle-class tax breaks
should be extended, while a growing number of their caucus members believe that
all of the breaks should be maintained until the economy gets stronger and the
unemployment rate returns to a more acceptable level. 

In his speech Friday, Hoyer
noted that the Bush tax cuts, which were enacted within a few months of former
President George W. Bush taking office, did not create many jobs compared to
his predecessor. 

“Over eight years of President Bush, our economy added just 1
million private-sector jobs — versus 21 million under President Clinton,” Hoyer
said. “And it was President Bush who ran $2.13 trillion in deficits and wiped
out the biggest surplus in American history.”

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