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. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    Rick, as usual, misses the point. Income disparity been rich and poor has increased. This, historically, is always bad. Raising the top tax rates addresses this. In addition, the top 1% own something like 60%-80% of all the wealth. Their should bear, as their tax burden, the same portion of the budget.

    October 18, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Nathan

    LOL look at all the democratic losers blaming everything on the republicans and the rich. Sounds like those loser occupy wall street protestors.

    October 18, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The Poor > The Rich asked:
    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?
    --------------
    Down in Georgia there somewheres, they propose to have inmates provide the manpower for what used to be munincipal fire departments. For some curious reason, they cannot find enough volunteers to man a volunteer department after they laid off entire fire departments.

    So, they have decided to conscript the inmates in state prisons and turn them into firefighters. I wonder how much the training and new fire fighting apparel will cost. They are actually moving forward with this. You would think that their would be enough patriots supporting the idea to man a firehouse.

    But, I guess the lack of volunteers is a sign of solidarity with the laid off firefighters. I guess being against big government is a good idea until you get your neighbor fired, and he dares you to go out there and be a volunteer.

    October 18, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. a6102658

    Why does Republicans and Teabaggers hate teachers so much?

    October 18, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Victoria

    @rick mcdaniel your missing the whole point. tax codes were put in place so one sector of the community could not control all the wealth and now they have been manipulated so that 1% of the country is controlling most the wealth. They should not get taxes breaks that the rest of hard working americans do not get. Great for them they built a factory and got rich... well WE paid for the roads they drive products on WE paid for the education to teach their workers, WE paid for the police & fire people who protect them and their factory so THEY need to pay us back now.

    October 18, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Why don't Republicans care now if these fine men and women lose their jobs? "

    Because there's a Dem in the WH. Period. I don't know how much clearer I can state it...it's the one and ONLY reason boiled down to as few words as I can make it. Next question.

    October 18, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "The rich already pay 70% of all income taxes. "

    Go get your stats right, and THEN come back.

    October 18, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. BinFL

    Why are so many Repubs against increasing taxes on the wealthy...I just don't get their thinking. Are there really that many of you that are millionaires?? The Bush Tax cuts were not set up to be permanent but obviously they are now being used as a political tool to create the so called "class warfare". Are the Repub/TeaBaggers so blinded by their hatred of President Obama that they can't see that the Bush tax cuts have not created jobs? We've had these cuts for over 10 years and yet where are we? Corporations are making record profits...where are the jobs? These same corporations and millionaires/billionaires did not suffer when their taxes were higher. Also, it is so hypocritical to claim "Country First" then rail against giving more to help your country. What gives Repubs??

    October 18, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. FLPatriot

    Not one Dem-Sheeple can defend Shumur's lies. Why should Americans raise taxes if the government already has enough of our money?

    If you vote Democrat in 2012 you are voting for less freedom and more government intrusion in to your lives. Do any of you lunatic lefties understand that when taxes are raised on any Americans it hurts all Americans?

    Live free or die!!

    October 18, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Victoria

    @ nathan atleast we are not so naive to believe that trickle down economics actually works. Did you know the ten poorest least educated states in our country are republican states? thats not an accident, it is by design, and will be the epidemic nationwide if we dont vote these greedy people OUT of office in 2012. People before corporations. Vote the repubs out

    October 18, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "We've cut spending dramatically...," Schumer said.

    That, by the way, is a lie. Federal spending is up $120 billion compared to this time last year–that's about 5%–and the deficit is up by $23.5 billion.

    October 18, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Peace

    I urge Dems in both chambers to be bold and stick to their guns. Don't show any sign of giving up. Make Repubs vote NO as many times as they wish (they love it) even if it will go through to Nov. 2012! You were sent there to work and people are watching.

    October 18, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "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!"

    That's funny. Do you realize that citing some anonymous Wall Street company sitting on trillions in capital as having told the 99% of the country that's struggling to make ends meet that they are all welfare wh-res who expect a handout simply because they want the tax code to stop being used by Wall Street, corporations, the rich and our government as a tool for redistributing wealth UPWARDS...that such a statement from that source is more likely to become a rallying cry for liberals/progressives who are sick of the plutocracy the GOP's economic policies have helped create than by corporate sycophants in the conservative movement?

    October 18, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:
    There is no justification for the tax increase on the rich. None. The rich already pay 70% of all income taxes.
    --------------
    No, they don't. Top 2% own 60% of the wealth in this country, but pay only 40% of all taxes. The top 0.1% own 40% of the wealth, but yet they pay only 20% of the taxes. Since conservatives like to whine about 50% pay no taxes, then let's use that number since you are so fond of it.

    If 2%, who own 60% of the wealth pay only 40% of the taxes, it means that some 48% (the middle class) pays 60% to make up the difference, but own somewhat less than the remaining 40% of the wealth. That 50% who pay nothing must own something, and it is estimated to be around 5%.

    October 18, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Excuse me, but it has been Republicans who have defined the art of deficit spending"

    Indeed. You know how you can tell that's the truth (and it 100% is if you look at the numbers)? Because the MSM pointedly avoids talking about it whatsoever.

    October 18, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Henry Miller, Libertarian wrote:
    There is no defence for raising taxes on an already suffering economy–people and corporations are already hurting enough as it is
    ------------
    Corporations are hurting? Since when? They have record amounts of cash sitting around. The executives have made record salaries, granting themselves 20-30% increases each years since the financial meltdown. Any suffering they are doing is in the form of stomach cramps from laughing so hard to the bank, which is located overseas.

    October 18, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Independent Voters

    Vote the republicans out of the office 2012 teach them a lesson not to go against american.

    October 18, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Why are so many Repubs against increasing taxes on the wealthy..."

    Because it's just not right, not fair, and not just to demand that some people be required to subsidise others, especially when a lot of those being subsidised effectively pay no federal taxes at all.

    One of the principles on which this country was founded is that we're all equal under the law. The "rich" don't get one set of laws and the "poor" another, and that should apply just as much to taxes as it does to anything else.

    October 18, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. BinFL

    @FLPatriot – where are you losing freedoms and what exactly are you referring to when you and your ilk spout such nonsense? You're still able to write your garbage on these posts, right? BTW, wasn't it Bush/Cheney that started the Patriot Act? Did you question your freedom then? You all need to remember one thing in life – DEATH & TAXES are certain. If you don't want to pay any taxes and contribute to the country's welfare then please go live on an isolated island.

    October 18, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Me

    Um, no, no compromise. The GOP stomps their feet and shouts "no" with every thing the President proposes and demands he compromise. When he does, they scream for even more. This is for the country's benefit. No compormise.

    October 18, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. CaliMafia

    Republican compromise is an oxymoron

    October 18, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Me

    @Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Because it's just not right, not fair, and not just to demand that some people be required to subsidise others, especially when a lot of those being subsidised effectively pay no federal taxes at all."

    Understand that these taxes will be paid. Ask yourself, if it isn't the rich finally picking up their fair share then who is it?Tthe middle class, once again. Enough.

    October 18, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "@rick mcdaniel your missing the whole point. tax codes were put in place so one sector of the community could not control all the wealth"

    Utterly untrue. Social engineering is not an identified characteristic of any tax code in the country.

    October 18, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Bill

    The GOP will lose their majority in the House in 2012 and certainly not gain the White House. Let them keep whining and saying no – it will only screw them next year.

    October 18, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    @Me "if it isn't the rich finally picking up their fair share then who is it?"

    The so-called "rich" already pay far more than their "fair share," especially since 47% of the population pay no federal taxes at all.

    October 18, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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