Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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In Tax Debate, Garamendi Defends Social Security, Rejects Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires

December 17, 2010
Press Release

Garamendi Continues to Support Tax Relief for Working and Middle Class
Families, Votes for Better Estate Tax Compromise



Twice yesterday (first and second), Congressman Garamendi spoke up on the House
floor i
n opposition to the Obama/GOP tax plan that threatens Social Security and wastes
$70 billion dollars of borrowed money on the fabulously wealthy.

WASHINGTON, DC – After today’s vote on the Obama/GOP bill, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) said the following:

"Public policy is about choices, and there were better choices than this bill. I fought for a bill that would have worked for the American people. 

"Our alternative proposal called for a $250 rebate for seniors. Instead of draining the Social Security trust fund, it called for a reduction in the income tax rate for working and middle class Americans. And instead of borrowing from China and our children to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, we offered a compromise that would have made sure every American earning up to $1,000,000 would not see a tax increase over the next two years. With the money saved, we would have invested in infrastructure and paid down the deficit. This plan would have created hundreds of thousands of jobs and been more fiscally responsible.

"Furthermore, on December 2nd, I voted with my Democratic colleagues for a good tax cut bill, one that extends tax relief for the middle class, helps families with children, and offers assistance to students, while not wasting borrowed money on the richest Americans least likely to spend their money on job creating American goods and services. While I support the extension of unemployment insurance and many of the tax provisions in this bill helping working and middle class families and small businesses, I believe a much better deal could have been crafted to help struggling families and create desperately needed jobs for 17 million Americans out of work through no fault of their own.”

Congressman Garamendi voted against the Obama/GOP plan, because it gives the richest two percent of Americans $65 billion a year, threatens Social Security, and drives up the deficit. Garamendi opposed the legislation that takes $150 billion out of the Social Security trust fund, exposing Social Security to cuts in the future. The plan passed by a vote of 277-148.

Earlier this month, Garamendi voted for a better tax reduction bill that would create jobs and help middle class families, and he also supported an amendment, not included in final votes, that would have replaced tax cuts for the fabulously rich with infrastructure and debt reduction.

Garamendi continued:

"President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.’ Congress failed this test.

"Congressional Republicans took hardworking American families and people out of work through no fault of their own hostage to make sure that rich millionaires and billionaires got huge tax breaks they don’t need. The hostage takers won."

Garamendi did have an opportunity to vote for an amendment authored by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) that would have reduced the estate tax to 45 percent for individual estates exceeding $3.5 million in value. That amendment failed by a 194-233 vote.

Here are some of the reasons Congressman Garamendi is opposed to the tax bill in its present form:

  • A reduction in the withholding tax for Social Security undermines the solvency of Social Security and threatens the ability of seniors to retire with dignity. A reduction in the withholding tax also excludes 5.7 million middle class public sector workers. Garamendi pushed for replacing the reduction in withholding tax with extending the Make Work Pay tax credit or lowering the income tax for working and middle class Americans.
  • Extending a reduction of tax rates for income above $250,000 costs $80 billion, without effectively spurring job creation. Garamendi pushed for replacing the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires with investments in infrastructure and education and reducing the deficit.
  • A cut to the estate tax forces Americans to borrow $25 billion, just to pay the heirs to the wealthiest 6,600 estates. Garamendi pushed for an amendment that would have created a fairer estate tax, one that permanently keeps the rate at 45 percent for estates valued above $3.5 million.
  • According to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, making the Bush income tax cuts permanent is the least effective form of stimulus available to policymakers, recouping only 32 cents for every dollar borrowed from foreign countries. The most effective strategies for economic recovery include food assistance ($1.74 in economy for every $1 invested), assistance for people out of work through no fault of their own ($1.61 for every $1), infrastructure investments ($1.57 for every $1), and aid to states for education and other vital services ($1.41 for every $1). Garamendi pushed for investments in America instead of borrowed tax giveaways for the wealthy.
  • While the Obama/GOP tax bill gives wasteful tax breaks to millionaires and the billionaires, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided targeted tax incentives for the middle class and made smart investments in infrastructure and scientific research that will strengthen our economy in the decades to come. Garamendi pushed for the investments that grow the American economy and create jobs instead of borrowing money from foreign countries to give the rich an average tax cut nearing $100,000 a year.