Floor Statement on Legislation to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff

Jan 1, 2013

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) tonight made the following statement on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 8:

As we are here today on January 1, hours away from people returning to work, markets reopening around the world and all eyes focusing on whether this institution can govern, this legislation allows us to get done what we need to get done. This bill is vital for our nation’s economic well-being and – I want to emphasize – for its standing as the world’s most important economy.

  • It is vital for 114 million middle class families, whose tax cuts are made permanent.
  • It is vital for two million unemployed American workers who need continuation of their insurance while they continue to look for work.
  • It is vital for 30 million middle-income Americans who otherwise would have been hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • It is vital for 25 million working families and students who benefit from the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps families pay for college.
  • It is vital for physicians – and millions of their patients -- who would have been hurt by drastic cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates.
  • It is also vital for businesses – through an extension of important tax provisions such as the research and development credit, renewable energy incentives and bonus depreciation to encourage business investments.

I want to emphasize this: This legislation breaks the iron barrier that for far too long has prevented additional tax revenues from the very wealthiest. It raises $620 billion in revenue by achieving the President’s goal of asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay more while protecting 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses from any tax increase.

And lastly – this package is vital for future deficit reductions efforts, setting the stage for a balanced approach from here on out, by delaying sequestration through 1-to-1 revenue-to-spending cuts.  

Yesterday President Obama again said that he is committed to deficit reduction, but he emphasized several times that “we’ve got to do this in a balanced responsible way,” with additional revenues, as well as spending cuts. This bill sets that important precedent. 

The time is urgent. The time is now. We should support this legislation.