Casey Statement on Support for Tax Cut Compromise

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on his intention to support the tax cut and unemployment insurance compromise:
“Any compromise, by definition, is not a perfect piece of legislation and there are aspects of this bill that I do not like.  I will support this compromise because it is in the best interest of the economic recovery and the people of Pennsylvania.  On the whole, this bill addresses my top priorities of economic growth, job creation and providing tax relief and certainty to millions of Americans in a fragile economy.
“This bill will provide an added boost to the economy.  The payroll tax credit will put additional money in people’s pockets that can flow back into the economy.  Similarly, the unemployment insurance extension, which I tried to pass as separate legislation, will help those who lost their job through no fault of their own and put money back into local economies.  This legislation will also extend tax cuts that have created jobs in Pennsylvania like the R&D tax credit, the biodiesel tax credit which is essential to companies like Hero BX in Erie, the New Markets Tax Credit that finances job-creating development projects in hard-hit communities and a renewable energy incentive program that has sent over $200 million to Pennsylvania for projects that create jobs and invest in new technology.  It also contains provisions I fought to include that would continue the expanded child tax credit and EITC which will provide significant relief to working families, especially those with kids.
“In recent months, I spoke with both business owners and economists to get their views on how Congress should handle the expiring tax provisions.  What I heard is that certainty and consistency are needed when the economy is in such a fragile condition.  That is why I can accept a short-term extension of upper-income tax breaks.  I could not support a permanent extension of these provisions that would further add to the debt.
“I voted to ensure that the tax relief for middle-income families was extended for longer than two years and wanted that longer extension in this bill.  The estate tax changes are far too generous and costly.
“Following the release of the framework of the compromise, I heard from a wide variety of constituent groups in the Commonwealth.  There was widespread agreement that, while the compromise is not perfect, it is in the best interest of Pennsylvania and the country in order to create jobs for many of the 560,000 Pennsylvanians out of work.
“The country faces many challenges.  The people of Pennsylvania and the United States expect their public officials to work together to address those challenges.  I hope that spirit prevails in the coming year.”
Last month, Senator Casey organized an effort joined by 28 senators to call for a vote to preserve unemployment insurance for another year.  Without action, these benefits for workers who lost their job through no fault of their own have begun to expire.  The letter sent to Senate leadership urges a continuation of the unemployment benefits program through December 31, 2011.  He also made a request, blocked by Senate Republicans, to pass a stand-alone bill to preserve unemployment insurance benefits.  An estimated 140,000 Pennsylvanians will lose their benefits this month alone and 413,000 would lose benefits by April 2011.  
Senator Casey had also called for an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit and the reduction in the EITC marriage penalty that help working families and 18 million children including over 500,000 in Pennsylvania.
Senator Casey also wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid calling for the reauthorization of the Section 1603 renewal energy grants to be added to the tax cut framework announced at the beginning of the week.  This provision was added to the final bill.