Washington D.C. (December 17, 2010) – Congressman Ellison voted in favor of an amendment which would have instituted the 2009 estate tax rates, but that amendment failed by a vote of 194 to 233.
I fully support extending unemployment insurance for Americans who are diligently looking for work as well as tax cuts for middle class families. I support these measures and have voted for them repeatedly in the past. However, I could not support legislation (compromise tax bill which passed the House late December 16) that holds these benefits hostage to the demands of the wealthiest few in our society. This legislation is a needless giveaway to people of great means, at the expense of those in great need.
The primary goal of this Congress should be reducing unemployment and creating as many jobs as possible. This legislation fails that test. While economists of every stripe agree that handing over more money to the rich doesn’t create jobs, Congressional Republicans insisted on egregious tax breaks for wealthy estate owners. The estate tax provision in this bill provides $23 billion to 6,600 of the wealthiest families in America; 6,600 families holding up tax cuts and benefits for 155 million Americans. This compromise certainly doesn’t meet any test of fairness either. This $23 billion giveaway increases our deficit by eight percent next year while failing to create jobs or reduce unemployment.
Sadly, Republicans have proven, once again, that they have no real interest in reducing the deficit or creating jobs for unemployed Americans. Their top priority, as always, is to give the rich more money while adding hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt.