Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The Obstruction Of Bills To Extend Tax Relief To Middle Income Americans While Capping Tax Breaks For The Wealthiest Taxpayers

In votes Saturday morning, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) voted for cloture – against a filibuster – in support of a bill to extend the expiring tax cuts for middle-income Americans, while capping tax breaks on incomes over $250,000.  When cloture failed on that plan, Leahy voted for a compromise that would cap tax breaks for incomes above $1 million.  Cloture also failed on the compromise version.  Below are his comments on the outcome of the votes.

Cutting taxes is the easiest vote in the world for elected officeholders.  As proof we need look no further than at how easy it was to maintain this entire package of temporary tax cuts over the last decade, even when the nation has been fighting two wars.  We have never before sent our war bills to our kids and grandkids, yet that is what has been done in borrowing for these wars.  I voted against the Bush-era tax cuts that were tilted heavily toward the very wealthiest Americans.  I also voted against going to war in Iraq.  Those may not have been the most popular votes at the time, but the relative few in the Senate who cast them were voting for a path that would have averted much of the economic turmoil that has roiled the economy, the budget and the lives of ordinary American families since then.

This is a time when sensible choices are necessary to protect the public’s interests and our national interests.  Many of them will be far more difficult than this choice is.  The responsible choice is to extend tax relief for the middle-income Americans who need it most, and not to renew tax cuts for the upper incomes of the wealthiest, who have benefited the most for so long.

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