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Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Sen. Richard J. Durbin

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Mr. President, I will only take a moment to say that we have an opportunity now, before we leave for Christmas, to not forget people across America who are struggling in this economy.

A payroll tax cut, instituted by President Obama and supported by Congress, basically gives more working families a little bit extra money each month. For the average working family in Illinois, it is about $1,500 a year. For some of us in the Senate, that may not seem like an enormous sum of money, but for families struggling paycheck to paycheck it makes a big difference.

We need to make certain we restore this payroll tax cut which is going to expire at the end of this year. How terrible it would be for us to impose an additional burden on working families, to impose a new payroll tax on working families when they are struggling in this economy that needs their spending power. Every economist taking a look at this has said the two best things Congress can do to help this economy move forward and not fall back is to make sure this payroll tax cut is protected and that this new payroll tax is not imposed on families; and, secondly, to extend unemployment benefits for the millions across America who are still struggling to find a job.

We need to call on our colleagues--Democrats and Republicans. For goodness sake, how can we in good conscience go home to celebrate the holiday season with our families and say to the millions of working families across America: Incidentally, on January 1, your taxes are going up. That is wrong. It is not fair. Whatever our rationale politically, it makes no sense in the family rooms and neighborhoods of America that we would impose a new payroll tax on working families who are working so hard to keep their heads above water. Before we leave, let us follow the lead of Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania who is sponsoring this legislation. Let us extend this payroll tax cut to help working families and help our economy. We should not go home for Christmas without that extension and without some help when it comes to extending unemployment benefits.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

The Senator from Arkansas.