Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Visclosky and Donnelly split in vote on tax cut extension bill

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Duneland’s Congressional delegation has split-vote in the matter of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance, and Job Creation Act of 2010: otherwise known as the compromise tax bill, which includes a two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, voted against the bill. U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd—whose district includes Pine and Jackson townships—voted for it.

The bill passed the House by a vote 277 to 148 and now awaits President Obama’s signature.

In a statement released today to the Chesterton Tribune, Visclosky noted that he objected specifically to the extension of tax cuts for wealthier households and to the additional federal borrowing which he said the legislation would require. “I find it objectionable that those who are suffering the most, the unemployed, are being held hostage for the benefit of those who need help the least,” Visclosky stated. “To do so by borrowing another $1 trillion over the next two years while reducing the solvency of Social Security and creating a scenario to speed up the disinvestment in our nation’s intellectual and economic infrastructure is abhorrent to me.”

On Thursday Visclosky spoke from the floor of the House in opposition to the bill. “I have yet to find the equity in extending tax cuts for 24 months but the solvency of the unemployment fund for 13 months,” he said as reported by the Congressional Record.

“I oppose borrowing nearly $1 trillion over the next two years when we have a debt today of $13.8 trillion.

“I oppose borrowing nearly $1 trillion over the next two years when our projected deficit for Fiscal Year 2011 is $1.1 trillion.

“I oppose borrowing nearly $1 trillion over the next two years when we will pay $438 billion in interest on the national debt this year alone. I can’t imagine what this figure will look like when interest rates inevitably head higher.

“I oppose borrowing nearly $1 trillion over the next two years for an agreement that fundamentally weakens Social Security through a payroll tax ‘holiday.’ The holiday means we we’ll be paying less money than anticipated into Social Security, thus reducing its solvency. In fairness, we’re told that the government will ‘find’ the money to make up the loss. Where?

“But what’s the big deal if this is only temporary? If the debate around the expiration of the Bush tax cuts has taught us anything, it is that, fair or not, a so-called ‘temporary’ tax cut can be quickly re-characterized as an impending tax hike.”

Donnelly

“I voted for the legislation before the House tonight because we need to provide tax relief to Hoosier families,” Donnelly said in a statement released after the vote. “No legislation is perfect, but I believe this compromise will best provide continued tax relief for all working Americans and will continue to move our economy forward by providing important tax incentives for businesses. Additionally, this bill provides much-needed assistance to our friends and neighbors still looking for work. I trust the president will sign this bill into law quickly so every American family and business can look to the future with confidence.”

Beyond the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates for all income levels for two years, other provisions in this legislation include the following, Donnelly’s statement said:

•Extending unemployment benefits: “The bill extends unemployment benefits at their current level for 13 months, preventing an estimated 7 million American workers from losing their benefits as they continue to look for work.”

•Reducing the employee-side payroll tax rate by 2 percent: “The legislation includes an employee-side payroll tax rate cut of 2 percent for over 155 million American workers.”

•Providing 100 percent expensing for businesses: “The bill allows businesses to expense 100 percent of their investments in 2011 and 50 percent of their investments in 2012.”

•Reinstating the Research & Development (R&D) tax credit: “The bill reinstates the R&D tax credit for two years.”

•Extending the child tax credit: “The legislation continues the child tax credit of up to $1,000 per child for an additional two years.”

•Ensuring there is no marriage penalty: “The bill ensures that the standard deduction for couples is exactly twice that for single filers and maintains an expanded 15 percent tax bracket so that the amount of income in that bracket for joint filers is exactly double that for single filers.”

•Continuing the American Opportunity Tax Credit: “This partially refundable $2,500 tax credit that helps more than 8 million students and their families afford the cost of college continues for two more years under this bill.”

•Extending the ethanol tax credit: “The bill extends through 2011 the per-gallon tax credits and outlay payments for ethanol. The bill also extends through 2011 the existing tariff on imported ethanol and the related tariff on ethyl tertiary-butyl ether (ETBE).”

 

Posted 12/17/2010

 

 

 

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