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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Senator Conrad Backs Middle Class Tax Cut Framework

Conrad Voices Support for Plan to Extend Tax Cuts

Tax Relief Package Necessary to Strengthen Economic Growth, Senator says

Washington - Senator Kent Conrad today announced that he will work to improve  — and eventually support — a broad proposal to extend expiring tax cuts in an effort to create jobs, strengthen economic growth, and avoid tax increases for millions of middle-class Americans.

"I think the President did the right thing in compromising with Republican leadership.   The hard reality is this economy remains mired in unemployment and underemployment that affects one in every six Americans," Senator Conrad said.  "The economic analysis available to the President — and to us — indicated that this package is necessary to strengthen economic growth next year.  A failure to get an agreement on this overall package — and I stress overall package — would have reduced economic growth in a very significant way, some economists say cutting it by about half in 2011."

The compromise proposal would provide a two-year extension of all the tax cuts that are set to expire December 31; continue long-term unemployment benefits through the end of next year; give businesses a tax break to encourage capital investment; and provide working families a one-year, partial payroll tax holiday.

Economists estimate that the package would inject an extra $300 billion into the economy next year.  Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics — and a former advisor to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign — predicted that the package would accelerate economic growth, adding more than 1.6 million jobs next year and driving unemployment down to 8.5 percent by the end of 2011.  

"I think the President did what is necessary, and I personally agree with his decision.  The one place I am disappointed is on the estate tax, where I believe this agreement goes too far.  But the President did what he had to do. I applaud him for working with Republicans to achieve a bipartisan agreement," Senator Conrad said.

"What really matters is what comes next.  There needs to be a comprehensive plan to deal with America's deficit and the debt long-term. At its core, this plan must involve fundamental tax reform.  That is what the deficit commission recommended — along with spending cuts — as a way to tackle the nation's debt," Senator Conrad said.  "We must now work to put in place a long-term deficit reduction plan that restores confidence in America's fiscal future."