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Pelosi Statement on AMT Bill That Provides Tax Relief to 23 Million Middle-Class Families

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 3996, the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007, which will provide tax relief to 23 million middle-class families by preventing them from being subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  The bill passed by a vote of 216 to 193.  Below are her remarks:

'Thank you, Mr. Rangel, thank you so much for your leadership in bringing this important legislation to the floor.  It enables us, as Members of Congress, to plant a flag for fiscal responsibility.  To plant a flag for the middle class in our country and to plant a flag for competitiveness, to keep America number one. 

'This legislation is important because it provides long overdue middle-class tax relief.  Preventing a tax increase that will fall upon the middle class come this next year.  The bill is about tax fairness, it's about fiscal responsibility, and again, it's about keeping America competitive. 

'When we talk about fiscal responsibility, it unfortunately always seems necessary, after listening to my Republican colleagues, to set the record straight.  The Democratic Party is the party of fiscal responsibility.  When President Clinton was President, his four final budgets were in surplus.  He left office with a budget that was on a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus.  Sadly, the Bush Administration reversed that, taking us to over $3 trillion in deficit, a swing of about $10 trillion.  A swing that is greater than anyone has ever seen in history, in terms of fiscal responsibility.  And what did the Congressional Budget Office, under the Republican leadership, say was the leading cause for that?  Tax cuts for the wealthy.  Don't blame it on the war.  Don't blame it on anything other than what it really was.  Tax cuts for the wealthy. 

'And so today, we see a change.  Tax cuts for the wealthy under the Bush Administration and a Republican Congress paid for by the middle class.  Today we reverse that.  Tax cuts for the middle class.  Paid for by the wealthiest people in our country. 

'And as we give this tax break, who is getting it?  Think of it: 23 million middle class families are protected from higher taxes due to the alternative minimum tax; 30 million homeowners will receive property tax relief; 12 million children will benefit from the expanded child tax credit; 4.5 million families will get help affording college education. 

'This is in addition to our earlier investment of the largest expansion of college affordability since the GI bill in 1944.  Thousands of our men and women in uniform will receive tax relief under the earned income tax credit.  They were prohibited from qualifying for that because our Republican colleagues would not disregard combat pay in that consideration.  So fiscal responsibility, tax cuts for the middle class, and competitiveness for our country. 

'This weekend, as we go into observing Veterans Day, we all know the great debt of gratitude we owe our veterans.  For their service to our country, their sacrifice, their patriotism, the sacrifices they and their families are willing to make.  What they have done with veterans over the generations have done is to protect our democracy.  Essential to the success of a democracy is, though, a thriving middle class.  And this legislation is in furtherance of supporting that middle class and therefore supporting our democracy. 

'In keeping with our pay-as-you-go rules with no new deficit spending, this legislation will ensure that our children will not inherit a legacy of debt.  In terms of competitiveness, this legislation extends the R and D tax credit, a new markets tax credit among other things.  But I mention those two because they're directly related to our Innovation Agenda, our commitment to competitiveness to keep America  So again, fiscal responsibility, favoring the middle class, keeping America competitive and number one.

'Democrats are committed to putting middle-class families first.  The choice is simple:  Tax relief for millions of middle class families or protecting tax loopholes, the Wall Street loophole, that allows a privileged few to pay a lower rate than America's teachers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, police, and our men and women in uniform fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

'It's about the people who are the backbone of America.  The choice is a simple one.  Today we Democrats say: 'Join us in voting in favor of America's middle class.'  I urge the passage of this legislation.  Again, I commend the distinguished chairman and the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. Neal, for their leadership.  My colleagues, I'm proud of the courage that you have shown to protect our middle class and to do so in a fiscally sound way and in a way that keeps America competitive, honoring the service of our men and women in uniform, to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.'