Harlem’s Rangel, Lone NY Voice Against ‘Terrible’ Tax Bill

charles-rangelMembers of Congress will be home for the holidays, but not before they decorate a Christmas tree with a massive assemblage of tax breaks.

The dean of the New York delegation told Crain’s he is “damn sure” he will vote against the package and that his fellow Democrats are settling for “crumbs.”

The cuts were billed as temporary when they first passed in 1988. But the tax-extender legislation has become a Washington tradition that seems to get costlier when renewed every year or two. The latest price tag is more than $700 billion (with a B) over 10 years.

This year’s bill, not yet finalized, could make some of the tax breaks permanent, such as one for research and development that will cost the Treasury $80 billion in the next decade, according to the watchdog Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Most of the city’s representatives in Washington expect to support the package if it includes permanent benefits for poor families, such as the earned-income tax credit, while their counterparts across the aisle get big tax breaks for business.

“Don’t count me in. Take out the EITC, take out the child tax credit. These are crumbs compared to what this bill is going to cost.”

“The minority should say, ‘I’m not going to have that blood on my hands, dammit,’” Rangel said. “Don’t count me in. Take out the EITC, take out the child tax credit. These are crumbs compared to what this bill is going to cost.”

Among the city’s delegation, all of whom are Democrats except for Daniel Donovan of Staten Island, Rangel is alone in his outright rejection of the plan, according to a Crain’s survey answered by all but three members. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn said he would not support the bill if it leaves “our most vulnerable communities behind.”

But Rangel said Democrats who support the cuts are falling into a Republican majority’s trap to reduce federal revenue.

“This tax package is really obscene, and while people are negotiating for low-income people’s credit, what the Republicans are really doing is ‘starving the beast’ by $700, $800 billion,” Rangel said. “Which means when it comes to discretionary spending, there won’t be any money there.”

“I don’t know why the minority should help the majority to pass this terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible tax bill,” he added

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