Oppose Boehner “Plan B” and Mulvaney (HR 6684)
Advocacy Letter - 12/20/12
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 210 national civil and human rights organizations, we urge you to oppose the amendment to H.J. Res. 66 known as “Plan B,” which is being proposed by Speaker Boehner in the midst of his year-end budget negotiations with President Obama. It represents a highly unbalanced approach that puts most of the burden on the people and communities that can least afford it.
We also urge you to oppose Rep. Mulvaney’s bill, H.R. 6684, which takes an even more extreme approach by mandating that all of the 2011 budget agreement sequester cuts be borne by non-defense discretionary programs only. It would mean severely cutting spending on education, food assistance, airline safety, infrastructure, health care, and much more.
The Plan B amendment would extend the Bush-era tax rates, including the ordinary income tax rates and the lower dividend and capital gains rates, on the first $1 million of income. It would also repeal limits on tax expenditures, namely the Personal Exemption Phase-out (PEP) and the Itemized Deduction Phase-out (also known as the Pease deduction phase-out), even for households with incomes over $1 million.
Through these changes, the Plan B amendment would only raise about $300 billion from high-income households. Not only does this fall drastically short of the revenues offered by Speaker Boehner, it even falls short of the roughly $400 billion in revenues that would be raised from repealing all of the Bush-era tax rate for incomes above $1 million. Moreover, 70 percent of the $400 billion lost by increasing the expiration threshold from $250,000 to $1 million would be kept by households that are making more than $1 million.
At the same time, the Plan B amendment would result in higher taxes on middle-class American families. It would eliminate a tax incentive for college education, effectively raising the taxes of 11 million families by an average of $1,100. It would reduce the refundability of the Child Tax Credit for 12 million working families, effectively raising their taxes by an average of $800. And it would eliminate the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit for larger families and increase the EITC marriage penalty, effectively raising taxes on 6 million families by an average of $500. Moreover, the Plan B amendment does nothing to address a number of the other “fiscal cliff” issues that are looming, such as the sequester or emergency unemployment insurance.
As such, the Plan B amendment is not even a remotely serious effort at reaching a bipartisan compromise. Instead, it is an effort to protect as much of the income of the wealthiest Americans as possible while leaving other draconian cuts intact.
The amendment is even more troubling because it is being proposed at the same time that negotiators are discussing a reduction in cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. The so-called “chained CPI” would cause benefits to decline over current rates by 3 percent after 10 years, about 6 percent after 20 years, and close to 9 percent after 30 years. At the same time that the Plan B amendment goes to great lengths to protect the income of the wealthiest Americans, the chained CPI would make it even harder for the oldest, poorest, and most vulnerable Americans to make ends meet.
For these reasons, we strongly urge you to oppose the Plan B amendment. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact either of us, or Senior Counsel Rob Randhava, at (202) 466-3311.
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