Democrats defend tax increase in jobs bill, say GOP must compromise
October 18th, 2011
01:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Democrats defend tax increase in jobs bill, say GOP must compromise

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Tuesday staunchly defended their decision to include a tax increase in a bill designed to prevent teachers and firefighters from getting laid off, even though they know the revenue hike is a poison pill for most Republicans and some Democrats making it highly unlikely the measure will pass.

"The choice is very stark with our colleagues across the aisle," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said at a news conference. "Do you want to employ teachers and firefighters or do you want to protect those who earn over a million dollars a year from paying a small amount more in taxes."

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The legislation, which is likely to face a Senate vote later this week, is one component of President Obama's controversial jobs package. It would provide $35 billion to states to prevent layoffs of teachers and first responders. It includes a half-percent (.5) surtax on incomes over $1 million to offset its cost.

Asked why Democrats aren't seeking a compromise approach to pay for the legislation, in order to win GOP support and actually get the money approved, Schumer argued that Democrats have compromised again and again with Republicans over the tax issue and it's time Republicans to do "what's fair."

"We've cut spending dramatically. We have not raised revenues a nickel," Schumer said.

On the Senate floor, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky blasted the latest approach to passing the president's jobs bill. He said approving a "bailout" for states to pay for teachers and firefighters hasn't worked in the past to turn the economy around and won't work this time either.

"It's perfectly obvious why the president would find the path of division appealing – because on the number one issue we face, jobs and the economy, the president's policies haven worked as advertised," McConnell said.

"He wants people to think that the problem isn't his policies. It's those mean Republicans in Congress who oppose them," he said.

Schumer took offense to the term "bailout."

"I guess we're talking in totally different languages," said Schumer who pointed to polls that appear to show broad public support for the funding. "Most Americans – 75% - don't consider this a bailout."

At the Democratic news conference in the Capitol, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, spoke emotionally about the positive impact teachers had on him as a youth. He grew angry over the prospects of the bill going down because Republicans won't accept a small tax increase on wealthy Americans.

"As part of this process, we are saying there is time for some new revenue for very specific purposes - purposes that the American people overwhelmingly support. Governing is about compromise and negotiation. It seems to me we have compromised a great way towards the Republican view and we have seen no reciprocal compromise," he said.

Also see:

The president goes on the road to promote jobs


White House says aid to teachers will face first Senate vote

Senate Dems consider votes on parts of Obama package


Filed under: Congress • Taxes
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Victoria

    Of'course they do. Because it's fair!

    October 18, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. FLPatriot

    “We’ve cut spending dramatically. We have not raised revenues a nickel,” Schumer said.

    Where! Federal budget (estimated) 2009 – $3.1 trillion, 2010 – $3.5 trillion, 2011 – $3.8 trillion.

    Maybe the problem is that Democrats don't understand what cutting the budget means.

    October 18, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. California Conservative

    Tax increases = Tea Party was correct.

    You can spin it any way you want libs but that's a fact.

    October 18, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. sgurdog

    Republicans will ignore anything that doesn't come with a check attached.

    October 18, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Mitch McConnel ought to get out of his Country Clubs & Board of Directors offices fro one week & go mingle w/coal miners for one week before he says, "What the American people want is ..."

    October 18, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. dirtygopfleabaggers

    I so hope the teabaggers take this lousy country over and put the final nail in our coffin.

    October 18, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. tee66

    Republicans just want more tax cuts for the rich.

    October 18, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Patriot Awesome

    Why do the Republicans hate school teachers so much?

    October 18, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would go for it. If teachers are employed, they are there to educate the people that are going to be future employees. The companies that hire need to think about it like that.

    October 18, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    "The choice is very stark with our colleagues across the aisle," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said at a news conference.

    Yes it is. We can borrow and spend the money to buy off Union support, or the government can become as responsible with its finances as the average American household.

    Apparently, the democrats addition to increased taxes, more borrowing, and uncontrolled spending remains the cornerstone of their existance.

    October 18, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The vast majority of Americans (a) want the jobs plan passed and (b) believe the only "compromise" to be made is for the GOBP to stop caring only for the greedy and not the needy. In other words, the vast majority of Americans want the 1%ers to pay more taxes. Those in the neocon deathcult need to listen to the people or get swept away.

    October 18, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. A Repulbican

    As usual every Republican will vote no, why not just put monkeys in Congress we could train them all to say no!. How can every Republican think exatly the same, there's no independant thinking going on in Washington. If we had some disenting votes it would make sense! But all this voting the same is what is causing the American people to think Washington is broken for sure. It's eigther outright dumb, or worse outright just trying to win at all costs! Geez, STOP the press releases of insults and work together!!!

    October 18, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Asked why Democrats aren't seeking a compromise approach to pay for the legislation, in order to win GOP support and actually get the money approved, Schumer argued that Democrats have compromised again and again with Republicans over the tax issue and it's time Republicans to do "what's fair."

    "We've cut spending dramatically. We have not raised revenues a nickel," Schumer said
    -------------------------------------------------
    Although I think the increase that they are seeking is not as high as I'd like, I nonetheless am OVERJOYED at Democrats finally having purchased much needed cojones, and UNITY OF PURPOSE in facing down the GOPee Teatard bullies.

    It's been a looooong time coming Dems. I'd almost given up hope of you guys pulling together and acting in concert, and supporting our President and our country.

    Thanks, at last.
    Try not to cave, eh?!

    October 18, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. nagrom

    0.5% on those over a million dollars and they blink?? Cry??? Moan??? Groan??? Give me a break. WTF. Get those repukes out of the White House and let's get America moving forward again. The time to stop putting road blocks in every way Obama tries to go to bail out the country is NOW!!! Vote them repukes out and Vote America on.

    October 18, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    There is no defence for raising taxes on an already suffering economy–people and corporations are already hurting enough as it is.

    But the Dems are convinced that they're smarter than mere citizens and that they know how to spend our money better than we do.

    October 18, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    I would go for the throat. Make the Republicans "show their love." Have them vote on a 3% tax increase for income. You know, that same margin cut by the BTCs, the Bush Tax Cuts. But, this time make it the cutoff at a much higher income than one million; like five or even ten million.

    Force their hand. Make them bluff, posture, and whine. Raising taxes above that level would have the support of most Americans. It would also be very difficult to defend voting against it. If they complain about Democrats playing politics, then agree with them. The name of the game is "Truth or Consequences."

    October 18, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. The Poor > The Rich

    Wait a minute, I thought first responders were America's heroes since 9-11... Why don't Republicans care now if these fine men and women lose their jobs? Who will put out the fires?

    October 18, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. California Conservative

    Someone has their facts mixed up.

    FleaBaggers are liberals.

    October 18, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. 1crusader

    Many classrooms in this country already have too many students, and inadequate facilities for our children. Cutting teachers exacerbates the problem. It's not helpful to the children's ability to learn, nor teachers First responders are also very important.We need them.If this bill gets voted down, it will show us where Republicans', and a couple of Democrats, priorities are; and it won't be with the American people.

    October 18, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    There is no justification for the tax increase on the rich. None. The rich already pay 70% of all income taxes.

    If the Democrats want to increase spending in one place, they have to cut spending in another place, and they have to do that, within the same timeline. No spending NOW, for cuts LATER! Not going to happen.

    In the words of a Wall Street company......if Americans want a better America, they have to EARN IT! It doesn't come on a silver platter, as a welfare hand out! If Americans aren't willing to work, then they need to just get out of the way.

    October 18, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    phoenix86 wrote:
    Apparently, the democrats addition to increased taxes, more borrowing, and uncontrolled spending remains the cornerstone of their existance.
    -------------
    Excuse me, but it has been Republicans who have defined the art of deficit spending, which put us on our current path of borrowing to balance the budget. It has been Republicans who unbalanced the revenue stream, and now refuse to restore tax fairness. It has been Republicans who committed us to expensive unfunded policies, which has led to our current trillion dollar annual deficits.

    October 18, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. nagrom

    Once again I say 0.5% tax increase on those making over a million dollars and the repukes are crying fowl? It is time to vote them out of office. The only thing they know is cut cut cut from the elderly and the poor and cut taxes for the rich and wealthy. When is it all going to end?? They keep touting Obama's failed policies but who keeps failing them? Repukes and TBaggers who don't believe in compromise. It is their way or no way!!! They are determined to choke America to death to try to overthrow the President and dems in office. REPUKES Where is your jobs bill???

    October 18, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    GOP response: "It's only compromise if the only things it contains are things that WE like, even if you don't like them. Anything that contains something we don't like is automatically going to be labeled 'partisan' and a 'non-starter' and 'games,' even if it contains things that we like and you don't."

    October 18, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Tax increases = Tea Party was correct. "

    Tax increases = what every expert economist in the country has stated, without caveat and without condition, must be done if we're to dig ourselves out of the hole that the GOP's "cut taxes without cutting spending" policies dug for us.

    October 18, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Lee

    During the great depression, not everyone suffered. In fact, many people got very rich due to the depression. In more recent years, the same thing has occurred during recessions, people and corporation with capital have made boat loads taking advantage of adverse economice times.
    Remember that when you start to question why corporations are sitting on their capital instead of hiring and why republicans are fighting for the rich people.

    October 18, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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