We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, reluctantly and cautiously support the Senate Amendment to HR 8. We are pleased that we were able to reach a compromise for the following:
- Permanent extension of the middle class tax cuts: This provides certainty for 114 million households including lower tax rates, an expanded Child Tax Credit, and marriage penalty relief—steps that prevent the typical family of four from seeing a $2,200 tax increase next year. In addition, it includes a permanent Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) fix.
- Extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits: The agreement prevents 2 million people from losing UI benefits in January by extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits for one year.
- Extension of tax cuts for 25 million working families and students: The deal extends President Obama’s expansions of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the new American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps families pay for college and prevents income taxes from increasing by an average of $1,000 for 25 million working families and students.
However, the Congressional Black Caucus continues to have serious reservations about any attempt to diminish Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Additionally, the CBC is united in our commitment to evaluate the impact of the funding used to pay for the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR or “doc fix”). The CBC specifically opposes cuts to services for diabetes, end stage renal disease, and other illnesses disproportionately impacting our constituencies. These cuts primarily impact medical services in under served communities.
Although CBC Members voted overwhelmingly in support of this measure, concerns remain regarding the impact of potential cuts on communities of color and other vulnerable populations in the ongoing negotiations on sequestration and the debt ceiling. The 2-month extension does nothing to assuage our concerns about these dangerous and detrimental cuts. The Congressional Black Caucus remains committed to serving as the “Conscience of the Congress” and protecting the most vulnerable Americans.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4) released the following statement following the passage of Senate Amendment HR 8, also known as the “Fiscal Cliff” deal in the House that will prevent tax hikes for the middle class:
“While it was not the grand deal I was hoping for, I am pleased that we were able to move forward with a deal that will ensure that tax rates will not go up on the middle class and the most vulnerable of our nation – the poor.
“I am particularly pleased that this deal included provisions that will extend unemployment insurance and ensure the wealthy pay their fair share both on their annual as well as investment-related incomes.
“Unfortunately, the deal won’t solve all of our problems. In two months we will once again have to debate raising the debt ceiling and address the automatic spending cuts included in the sequestration. It is my sincere hope that the GOP does not try to take a hatchet to the much needed social programs that will be necessary in keeping our economy moving forward.
“Make no mistake our economy is growing, but that growth cannot be sustained on the backs of the middle class and the poor. We have already cut nearly $1.5 trillion to critical programs. We must continue to take the necessary steps towards closing tax loopholes and taking common sense steps to resolve our debt crisis and continue to move our economy forward.
“I will continue to do all in my power to continue to work on behalf of the least of these. Those whose voices have been ignored time and time again by this Republican controlled ‘do-nothing’ Congress. Let’s hope the New Year brings new beginnings for the way that we govern on behalf of all Americans.”