Dear Leader Reid,
The nation’s unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said “we owe” it to the American people to “focus on those issues that affect their jobs.” He went on to say that Americans “want jobs to come back faster.” Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities.
For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.
Given our struggling economy, preventing the tax increase and providing economic certainty should be our top priority. Without Congressional action by December 31, all American taxpayers will be hit by an increase in their individual income-tax rates and investment income through the capital gains and dividend rates. If Congress were to adopt the President’s tax proposal to prevent the tax increase for only some Americans, small businesses would be targeted with a job-killing tax increase at the worst possible time. Specifically, more than 750,000 small businesses will see a tax increase, which will affect 50 percent of small-business income and nearly 25 percent of the entire workforce. The death tax rate will also climb from zero percent to 55 percent, which makes it the top concern for America’s small businesses. Republicans and Democrats agree that small businesses create most new jobs, so we ought to be able to agree that raising taxes on small businesses is the wrong remedy in this economy. Finally, Congress still needs to act on the “tax extenders” and the alternative minimum tax “patch,” all of which expired on December 31, 2009.
We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation’s small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.
Recently Gallup found that keeping estate taxes aka death taxes from increasing significantly topped the list with 56 percent of Americans saying that is very important, 26 percent saying it is somewhat important to deal with during the lame duck session of Congress, and 50 percent saying that extending Bush tax cuts in some form is very important with 31 percent saying it was somewhat important, came in second.
All other questions came in below 50 percent in the "very important" category with unemployment benefits at 48 percent, somewhat important 28 percent, START treaty at 40 percent,very important,33 percent saying somewhat important, DADT repeal at 32 percent,very important, 24 percent somewhat and DREAM Act at 31 percent, very important and 29 percent somewhat.
The two top issues that are most important to Americans deal with taxes.
Reports from today and yesterday show that the Senate GOP, 42 members (which increases by 5 in January as newly appointed senators are seated after midterm election gains) have signed the letter (shown and linked above) which vows to block any other Senate issue until those found to be the most important, Bush tax cuts and some type of spending bill which would keep government running and prevent a shutdown, are dealt with.
Throwing down the gauntlet, all 42 members of the GOP caucus are sending the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warning him that they will bring matters to a standstill unless he swiftly brings those tax-and-spending issues to the floor.
While Reid/Democrats still have a majority in the Senate, if all 42 GOP Senators stay united, Reid will not be able to bypass a filibuster, which would require 60 votes.
Although the spending bill to keep government running was not surveyed in the Gallup poll linked above, the tax issues were and they, by far, are the most important to Americans during the lame duck session.
Reid has previously stated a desire to try to pass the DREAM Act, extending unemployment benefits and DADT repeal during the lame duck session and while all three of those issues were surveyed in the Gallup poll, the Bush tax cuts were stated as the biggest concerns, so the GOP's vow seems to be an acceptable position that should prove to be popular with the American public as well as another indicator that they have listened and will abide by their promises to prioritize what Americans want.
[Update] The Hill reports:
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) highlighted the new strategy in an interview with ABC. McConnell and other congressional leaders met with President Obama at the White House Tuesday to try to reach a deal on the tax cuts.
"One thing I think we all agreed on at the White House is that we ought to do first things first," McConnell said in an interview with ABC News. "And what the American people want to know is, 'Are our taxes going up, and how are you going to fund the government?' Let's do those things first, and see what kind of time is left."
Asked whether that meant the Senate would have time to tackle all the other issues, like repealing "Don't ask, don't tell," passing the DREAM Act or extending unemployment benefits, McConnell said: "No, I don't think so."
[Update] The left is having a cow, The Atlantic headlining with "The Dickishness Of The GOP," other far left liberals whining about the GOP holding legislation "hostage".
Well NEWFLASH leftist liars, lets be honest about the last two years, shall we?
The Democratically controlled Congress has shoved massive legislation down the throats of Americans which each and every single poll conducted at the time, showed the American people DID NOT WANT (Obamacare as one example), but Democrats went right ahead and bribed, wheeled, dealed, twisted the arms of their own party members forcing them off the November 2, 2010 cliff, head first, without a parachute and then tried to call those betrayals against the American people, "achievements".
Polling is clear here, Americans find taxes as the number one priority and after the midterms, John Boehner, who will be the next Speaker of the House, said "The people's priorities will be our priorities; and the people's agenda will be our agenda. This is our pledge to American and this is our pledge to you....."
He spoke for the Republican politicians, and I, for one, am very happy they are keeping that promise.
Obviously the left, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi nor Barack Obama heard the message Americans sent and if they did, they are simply ignoring it as they ignored Americans for the last two years... they work for us, not the other way around and Americans got damn tired of Democrats ignoring them and pushing their own agenda through by hook and by crook.
Now the progressive liberal left is crying because Harry Reid cannot push DADT, START, and the DREAM Act amnesty bill through the Senate before addressing the number one concern for Americans... taxes.
Poor freaking babies.
Thank you Senate GOP for keeping Boehner's promise and as long as you continue to keep American's priorities as your priorities, we will continue to support you.
(Correction made to post- Thanks to commenter Nedd)
Related, via Memeorandum:
In Tax Cuts, the Options Run Short
After meeting, Obama and Republicans hopeful about a deal on Bush tax cuts
Commission's final deficit report preserves controversial spending cuts; panel to vote Friday on whether to endorse plan
Vast Majority Wants Some Aspect of Bush Tax Cuts Extended