President Obama praises the Senate vote on middle-class tax cuts — which have been coolly received by Democrats because they also extend Bush-era tax cuts for rich Americans. Here’s what Minnesota Senator Al Franken said about the tax cuts:
“I don’t like extending the excessive Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, I don’t like the explosion in the deficit it will create, and I don’t like how the President made this deal. But I would hate even more to see Minnesota families get hurt. There’s a lot in here to help create jobs and to help middle-class Minnesotans weather this recession: tax cuts for working families, a payroll tax holiday, energy tax credits, and the extension of Recovery Act initiatives that are already making a difference. And a lot of harm would come to working families if unemployment insurance isn’t renewed. So I’m voting for this reluctantly and will continue to fight passionately to get our economic policies on the right track.”
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THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. I am pleased to announce at this hour the United States Senate is moving forward on a package of tax cuts that has strong bipartisan support. This proves that both parties can in fact work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people.
Once the Senate completes action on this bill, it will move over to the House of Representative for its consideration. I’ve been talking with several members of that body. I recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and I understand those concerns. I share some of them. But that’s the nature of compromise — sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us. Right now, that’s growing the economy and creating jobs. And nearly every economist agrees that that is what this package will do.
Taken as a whole, the bill that the Senate will allow to proceed does some very good things for America’s economy and the American people.
First and foremost, it is a substantial victory for middle-class families across the country who would no longer have to worry about a massive tax hike come January 1st. It would offer hope to millions of Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own by making sure that they won’t suddenly find themselves out in the cold without the unemployment insurance benefits that they were counting on.
And it would offer real tax relief for Americans who are paying for college, parents raising their children, and business owners looking to invest in their businesses and propel our economy forward.
So I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly on this important matter. Because if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s the urgent work of protecting middle-class families, removing uncertainty for America’s businesses, and giving our economy a boost as we head into the new year.
Thanks very much, everybody.