Republican Rep. Mike Simpson said the tax package approved by Congress this week is a clear example of misguided spending and legislative deal-making. Simpson was one of three dozen Republicans to oppose the plan, while outgoing Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick supported the plan. Minnick has said recently that it will boost the economy.
The package, headed to President Barack Obama’s desk, extends current tax rates on income and some investments for two additional years, thus preserving the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts. It also extends federal unemployment benefits for 13 months and brings back the estate tax for individuals with more than $5 million. Payroll taxes would be reduced by 2 percent.
Simpson wants to make the lower tax rates permanent. “Instead of providing our nation’s job creators with the certainty they need to jumpstart our economy, this bill only creates more uncertainty and piles even more debt on our children and grandchildren through its inclusion of countless extraneous provisions,” he said in a news release. He opposed some additional tax breaks in the plan for alternative energy producers and film and TV projects.
“Given the enormity of the fiscal crisis facing our nation, Congress can’t continue to produce so-called compromises where everyone simply gets everything they want,” Simpson said. “Regrettably, this bill represents the ‘borrow and spend’ mentality that has enabled our fiscal crisis and is a product of a broken legislative process that disgusts the American people.”
Minnick wrote in a Christian Science Monitor editorial that the tax package is needed, despite adding billions to the federal deficit.
“While the jobs outlook is so bleak that the deal makes economic sense in the short run, it is irresponsible for Congress to pass it without simultaneously committing to take the political castor oil required to rein in the deficit longer term,” Minnick wrote.
Minnick said the U.S. can’t afford the lower tax rates long term, and that Congress will need to reform taxes to bring in more revenue.