Democrats defend tax increase in jobs bill, say GOP must compromise
October 18th, 2011
01:52 PM ET
9 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. vic , nashville ,tn

    Now occupy wall street next remove republicans from congress

    October 18, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. MTATL67

    McConnell is one major s.o.b. He sure as heck did not obect to give $260K to the rodents of his state but not $1 to keep teachers and firefighters.

    October 18, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "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."

    Yes, those poor poor rich b-stards and their horrible treatment by the oppressive government that molded the nation and economy that allowed them to become so painfully rich in the first place. It's so hard for them that it's almsot the eighth wonder of the universe that they don't just give all their money away and simply choose to be poor and subsidized and a welfare queen and live a life of thrilling deprivation and squalor, which is apparently so much easier and pleasant and fulfilling than ownin a Ferrari and a yacht and having 3 mistresses and 4 homes and a helicopter to commute to work with. You know...I'm shocked every single day we go without hearing about the rich committing mass suicide to silpy end their communal pain.

    October 18, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Canuck

    I saw Michele Bachmann interviewed last weekend – she was asked if she thought the GOP was out of touch with the American public, 76% of who , in the poll cited, supported tax increases for the wealthy. She totally ducked the question and implied that was President Obama who was out of touch – and the interviewer never pressed her to answer the question (big surprise). It is really disheartening to see so many people still supporting the GOP. Seems to me that some Americans would vote for their chosen party however disastrous that vote might be for their well-being.

    October 18, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Sniffit

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

    Sorry, but if the rich were paying their "fair share" then all the wealth in the country wouldn't be pooling at their feet while everyone else goes thirsty. We've watched for 4+ decades while the country's wealth, income and assets have been redistributed to the already wealthy and corporations at an ever accelerating rate...all while they held middle class salaries stagnant such that middle class salaries failed to compete with inflation and are now effectively lower than they were...all while the profits produced by the blood, sweat and tears of the middle class and then hoarded by the rich and corporations grew exponentially.

    Two words, pal: SWEAT EQUITY. It's going to happen one way or the other and the rich and corporations fighting tax increases while refusing to raise salaries and the standard of living for everyone else appear to have chosen to learn it the hard way...even to the point that they have ramped up the effort to break the back of the middle class in an attempt to cow us all. So, taxes or salaries? What will it be? Neither? Well, you can pony up the sweat equity or pay the blood price. CHOOSE. NO QUARTER.

    October 18, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Drew

    It's simple by denying school teachers we keep dumbing down Ameicans, keeps the ruling class in place, and by cutting back on police we keep the crime rate up and fill those "for profit" jails and prisons and by cutting down on first responders we lower the healthcare budget. These people do not live in the real world somebody needs to give them a wake up call America. If you aren't making $200,000. a year VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!

    October 18, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. John

    To get the Republican and the Tea Party to Compromise. Well good luck on that one , because the Republican and the Tea Party don't know what that work mean. Now put something In there that help protect the Rich and Big Business and than they will get right on It.

    October 18, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. mark

    i hope mitch mcdumbell's house catches fire. Then he'll need a "bailout." It's obvious repubs don't need teachers!

    October 18, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    We pay taxes to provide for; national defense, roads and bridges, quality of life workers like policemen and firemen, airports and air traffic controllers, and a host of other stuff. My point is that we get a return on what we pay in taxes. Let's look at how much return on those taxes each economic class might get.

    The rich and the poor benefit equally from national defense.
    The rich get more out of the roads and bridges than the poor.
    The rich get more out policemen, firemen, and sanitation workers.
    The rich get more out of our airports and other facilites.
    The rich get a bigger return out of the tax system not so much because of where they live, but more because of their lifestyles and how they earn their incomes.

    That is why the rich should pay a higher effective rate than the middle class or the poor. That is the argument that Republicans used decades ago when they first introduced the progressive tax system that we have today.

    October 18, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Mr. Miller certainly has swallowed a lot of Kool-aid judging from the lies he's posting today. First, avoiding unhealthy wealth disparities is a policy for many countries, and is embodied in the tax code. Adam Smith himself warned against it. Second, he lies some more when he claims the rich are paying their fair share. They are not. Note the percentages posted by others which, unlike Mr. Miller's claims, are accurate. Last but not least, he parrots the deathcult lie about the poor paying no federal taxes. Again untrue. SS and FICA are all paid by the poor.

    October 18, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Russ in Md

    If you give the Dems and inch........

    October 18, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Drew

    Obviously the conservative element in this country has forgotten how important the developement of American people and the employment of American people is to the country's well being. I guess they think that the wealthy can sit on their hands forever, unless we give them tax free repatriation on the almost $11 Trillion they socked away overseas. As far as I am concerned we should tax the daylights out of them for holding this country hostage.

    October 18, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Waaawaaa. The incessant whining from the 'right' is just plain nausiating! FLPatriot, Henry Miller, Rick McDaniel, phoenix86: your tired old rightwing fairytales, mindless talking points, and factually challenged 'truisms" have been repeatedly challenged by a number of posters on here via reference to facts and reality. Yet I have seen no repsonses from any of you slack-jaws to further flesh out or defend your positions. You Teatards refuse to engage in any dialogue or debate....and I think we all know why that is. You are like Limbaugh or your local preacher: there is to be no questioning of the dogma of your rightwing either believe it or you don' is NOT based on facts. And you dimwits really think that America should be infested with that kind of FAILURE once again?

    So for starters, stop presenting your empty rightwing mantras as facts. It is just drivel. And it speaks to your low intellectual life that you try to present them as otherwise. You are not on some FoxNews blog when you come on here, and you embarrass yourselves and your points of view when you act like an uninformed 6th grader. And you call yourselves "conservative"...what a joke!

    October 18, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Bessy

    @ Patriot Awesome
    " Why do the Republicans hate school teachers so much? "
    It is not that they hate them, it is that school teachers try to educate our young. Republicans do not want the average children educated because if that happens they then will go after them. They want to keep the poor and middle class as dumb as possible so that they do not see exactly how they are only for the rich and that they don't care about destroying America to achieve their purpose. They never have to worry about their young rich children because they either school them at home with private hired teachers, or, they send them to private schools.

    October 18, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. bearced

    All of those complaining about the 47% that pay no federal income tax please don't forget they pay State and Local taxes as well as Social Security. I would dare say they pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes than most "rich" people do.

    October 18, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Independent Voters

    It more poor and middle class american then republican we all going to get together and vote republicans out of the office.

    October 18, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Russ in Md

    This is nothing but political fishing. The Dems put out this minuscule number just so they can say "See the Republicans won’t compromise” Well I for one won't bite and neither will the Republicans. You want to fix teachers and first responders, shut down the unions that take all their money so that they can launder it back to the liberals for political favors.

    October 18, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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