Larsen Statement on Bipartisan Tax Compromise

Jan 1, 2013

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement today on the bipartisan tax compromise passed by the Senate early this morning.

“A few weeks ago I asked people in my District what a $2,000 tax cut means to them. Patrick from Langley told me $2,000 pays his annual electric bill. Cathy from Eastsound said she would use the money to help her daughter pay for college. Annette said she would spend the money to support small businesses in Sedro-Woolley.

“The people I represent spoke, and I listened. For that reason, I support passage of this bipartisan bill making middle class tax cuts permanent. House Republican leaders should let the House vote on this bill so we can send it to the President and stop tax hikes on all working Americans that take effect today.

“This compromise is not perfect, but it is necessary.

“This bill preserves tax cuts for all middle class Americans while letting tax cuts for the highest earners to expire. The bill limits tax deductions for the wealthiest Americans. The end result will be the most progressive tax code the United States has seen in decades.

“My top priority is to grow the economy and create jobs. This bill preserves tax credits that help the middle class and help students pay for college. The preservation of research and manufacturing incentives ensures businesses will keep investing in future growth. Coupled with legislation I authored in the recent defense bill that supports small business innovation, these measures ensures the United States continues making the investments it needs to create jobs in the long run.

“The bill does not include cuts to Medicare and Social Security which would hurt seniors. While entitlement reforms continue to be part of the discussion as we address the deficit, we must make sure that any changes to these critical programs protect the guaranteed benefits that seniors are due.

“The extension of enhanced unemployment insurance benefits will make sure that folks who are out of work through no fault of their own are able to stay in their homes and provide for their families.

“This bill only gets half the job done. I am disappointed it does not deal with across-the-board spending cuts or the debt ceiling.

“The debt ceiling must be raised immediately. Raising the debt ceiling does not allow more spending, but instead makes sure the United States can pay for the debts that it has already incurred.

“Congress still needs to tackle the deficit in a meaningful way. I continue to support a bold and balanced plan to cut $4 trillion from the deficit through a combination of targeted spending cuts and increased revenues. We must replace across-the-board spending cuts in the sequester with a balanced plan that preserves vital investments in infrastructure, education and research that make our economy grow.

“None of my constituents deserve to be forced to endure this economic brinksmanship. Congress has a responsibility to work in a bipartisan manner to prevent future manufactured crises like the fiscal cliff. I commit to working with my moderate Republican and Democratic colleagues to forge bipartisan compromises that make our economy stronger.”

The tax agreement includes the following provisions:

  • Permanently extends income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and married couples earning less than $450,000.
  • Extends the state sales tax deduction for 2012 and 2013, allowing Washington residents to deduct the amount of sales tax they pay on their federal tax return.
  • Extends enhanced unemployment insurance benefits for one year.
  • Extends tax credits that support families with children, low-income working people and students in colleges and universities.
  • Provides a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax to exempt the middle class.
  • Provides a one-year fix to the sustainable growth rate for Medicare, meaning seniors will be able to continue seeing their doctors.
  • Extends the farm bill for nine months.

A full summary of the bill is available here.