Senator Coons Makes the Case for Balanced Deficit Reduction
As President Obama has made clear, this year’s elections represent a clear choice between two very different paths for America. Yesterday, the Senate’s vote on two competing tax bills made this choice clear. The Democratic bill extended middle-class tax cuts, while allowing higher-income cuts to expire. The Republican version would have extended high-income cuts, while raising taxes on 25 million of America’s working poor.
Before the votes were cast, Delaware Senator Chris Coons gave a speech from the floor of the Senate in which he staunchly advocated for American values. He explained that while the deficit and national debt are huge problems that must be solved, they cannot be solved by cuts alone. Deep cuts have already been made to essential programs, and “pennies are already being pinched from programs that...serve the people who can least afford them.” In Delaware, for example, programs such as home heating assistance for low income families and Community Development Block Grants have already seen severe cuts. Coons said:
In previous generations that served in this chamber, when they came together and reached the resolutions that solved our country's fiscal problems...they put a circle of protection around the most vulnerable Americans. They chose not to slash, or cut, or eliminate those programs that are focused on the most vulnerable in our society: the disabled, low-income seniors, children in the early stages of life.
We need a balanced approach to deficit reduction, in which the most successful Americans are asked to pay their fair share. As Coons said, that’s the only way for us to “significantly reduce our deficit and debt, make it possible for us to sustain the Earned Income Tax Cut, the Tuition Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and frankly reflect our values.”
The Democratic version of the bill passed 51-48 while the Republican version was defeated. In a statement, Senator Coons said, “this bill is not a substitute for the comprehensive tax reform our nation truly needs...But the bill we passed today is the best chance we've got at retaining these important tax credits and opportunities for the working poor, while bringing some sanity to the rates at the highest end and asking those who have benefited the most to contribute to solving our problems.”
(Watch a video of Senator Coons’s speech here.)