Congress will adjourn this week, leaving behind a lot of important unfinished business — basic things like passing a budget and extending tax cuts that will hit working families and small businesses across the nation. Without a budget, families can’t track their spending and maintain financial responsibility in their households. Government is the same way. If we don’t extend the tax cuts put in place nearly a decade ago, taxpayers at every income level will experience significant increases. Neglecting this legislation is only adding needless confusion to an already fragile economy.
Needless to say, failing to pass a budget is not a sound financial strategy. But the Democratic leadership in Congress has made a decision not to submit a budget for the year because they say it’s too difficult for them to do so. If a business functioned in this way, it would be bankrupt.
Rather than passing a budget, Congressional Democrats simply plan on extending the existing record spending levels into the next fiscal year until they get their act together. It is not only irresponsible because there are no accurate debt assessments, but it also creates uncertainty in our private markets.
If there is no vote on the tax cut extension legislation before the end of the fiscal year, taxpayers at every income level face significant tax increases. Virtually no one will remain unaffected. Without this extension, American families and small businesses will incur a $3.8 trillion tax increase — over $200 billion of which comes next year. The increase will hit millions of small businesses and threatens to take more money out of the private sector.
The pending tax increases will impact every American who pays taxes. In addition to eliminating the lowest tax bracket, the tax increases include reinstating the marriage penalty, cutting the child tax credit and resurrecting the death tax.
That is why I, along with many of my colleagues, wrote a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking that she have an up-or-down vote on the expiring tax provisions before Congress recesses. Unfortunately, Pelosi rejected this request and plans to recess the House without considering this issue at all.
In all the time I have travelled across the First District, I have never had a single person approach me and say that our nation is suffering because our taxes are too low. I have had a lot of people tell me that government spends too much and it’s about time we got a handle on this runaway spending. I agree with them. We need to rein in frivolous spending and extend tax cuts to help businesses thrive and strengthen our economy.
Rep. Phil Roe represents Tennessee’s First Congressional District.