As Congress continues to debate complex issues around the looming “fiscal cliff,” they can, and should, act immediately on one quick, easy step to help working families – extending tax cuts for the middle class. Middle class tax cuts are set to expire in a few weeks. If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, a typical middle-class family of four will see its tax would protect 98 percent of American families making less than $250,000 a year and 97 percent of small businesses from paying higher taxes next year.
President Obama has called on Congress to act immediately to extend the middle class tax cuts. And, the Senate already passed a bill to do so earlier this year. But, the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Boehner (R-OH), has refused to act on this important legislation, choosing to hold middle class families hostage while fighting to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent in the nation.
In addition to extending tax cuts for the middle class, Congress must also act quickly to stop the impending across-the-board cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 2. If these cuts go into effect, more than nine million students will lose critical education services, and nearly 80,000 education jobs could be lost. This week, NEA members joined other union members in a joint lobbying day, meeting directly with Members of Congress. Their message: education has already taken a hit and children have already done more than their share toward deficit reduction. Any deficit reduction deal must be balanced, and that means finally asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Read more.
Take Action Today:
- E-mail Congress and tell them to act immediately to extend tax cuts for the middle class.
- Take the “Kids Not Cuts” pledge today-- to speak up for America’s kids and working families, and to make sure Congress makes the right choices. Already took the pledge? Share it with at least five friends and ask them to join the fight to stand up for America’s kids and working families.
- Join union members across the country in our December 5 National Call-in Day: Call our new Educator Connector Line –1-866-293-7278. You will hear brief talking points and will then be asked to enter your zip code to be connected to your elected officials.
- Share your story. Tell us how “fiscal cliff” budget cuts would affect your students, you, your schools and your school colleagues. Make sure Congress hears your voice and knows you will hold them accountable. Read some of the stories already submitted by educators.
- Find the latest news on the current debates on our “Kids Not Cuts” pageon the Education Votes website.
Cheers to: Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), who this week urged his Republican colleagues to move forward on extending tax cuts for the middle class before the end of the year.
Representative Pat Meehan (R-PA), who indicated that he would not be held to a pledge not to raise taxes even on the wealthy, saying “The most important pledge is the one I make to my constituents when I'm sworn in…I'm going to do the very best I can to avoid the fiscal cliff and keep our economy strong."
Representative Bob Dold (R-OH), who stated his support for acting quickly to extend tax cuts for the middle class, saying, “Let’s make sure we aren’t raising the taxes on the vast majority first.”
President Obama, who in another speech this week reiterated his calls for a middle class tax cut, saying “if both parties agree we should not raise taxes on middle-class families, let’s begin our work with where we agree. The Senate has already passed a bill that keeps income taxes from going up on middle-class families. Democrats in the House are ready to vote for that same bill today. And if we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way. I've got to repeat, I've got a pen. I'm ready to sign it.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who this week continued his call for extending tax cuts for the wealthy and for more spending cuts, while refusing to move an extension of middle class tax cuts.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who made comments this week indicating she might support a deficit reduction deal that includes more spending cuts, saying “The details of the package are less important than the fact that we can reach a compromise and would be $4 trillion in long-term debt reduction. That means everybody's going to hurt a little and everyone is not going to get their way."
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who at his Excellence in Action Summit this week took aim at teachers’ unions, saying, “We have a system to reward teachers that’s based on an industrialized, unionized model that is completely inappropriate for the 21st century.” Bush also reiterated his support for private school vouchers and for “parent trigger” laws.