Congress should immediately extend Middle Class Tax cuts

Nov 28, 2012

Congress should immediately extend Middle Class Tax cuts

The President’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that failing to extend the middle class tax cuts will negatively impact consumer spending by 1.7 percentage points next year, slow economic growth by 1.4 percentage points, and reduce consumer spending by $200 billion.

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the middle class tax cut represents nearly 45% of the reduction in economic growth expected at the end of the year if Congress does not act on the end of year fiscal year issues.

Levin said, “We should agree to do what we agree on – extend the middle class tax cuts.  They should not held hostage to Republican intransigence on the tax cuts for the very wealthiest.

Unemployment Benefits caught up in end of year issues

You’re going to be hearing a lot about the “fiscal cliff” over the next few weeks.  The “fiscal cliff” refers to the expiration of a number of tax cuts at the end of this year and deep across-the-board spending cuts automatically scheduled to take effect in January.  Rep. Levin supports addressing these end of year issues and setting the stage for further deficit reduction and tax reform in 2013.  

One especially dire impact of the fiscal cliff is that federally-funded unemployment benefits will completely stop on December 29 unless Congress acts.  “You have here a human cliff,” said Rep. Levin, “On Day 1, two million-plus people would lose [their unemployment benefits] entirely.”  Rep. Levin and other Ways and Means Committee Democrats released a new report on the impact the loss of unemployment benefits would have on American families and calling for an extension of the current emergency program.

Lawmakers Raise National Security Concerns Over Chinese Company’s Bid to Acquire U.S. Battery Maker

On November 20, a bipartisan group of 13 lawmakers from the Michigan congressional delegation wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to urge him to direct the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review a bid by China based Wanxiang Group Corp. to acquire A123 Systems.  A123 manufactures advanced lithium-ion batteries and maintains contracts with both the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of Energy.  

The lawmakers’ letter states, “We are concerned that the acquisition of A123 by Wanxiang might constitute a potential threat to U.S. national security.”

The Week Ahead

The House of Representatives will take up legislation [H.R. 6429] this week to issue up to 55,000 so called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) visas to immigrant students who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities.  The bill is controversial because it would also eliminate another long-standing legal immigration program that makes visas available to immigrants from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States.  On Thursday, House Democrats will hold leadership elections for the upcoming 113th Congress.