Congress took up more than one controversial measure this week before it goes on August recess today. One is the debate over extending the Bush-era tax rates. WRVO's Catherine Loper spoke with central New York Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle about the controversial policy.
In an election year divide, the House and Senate passed dueling tax bills this week.
The Democrat-controlled Senate voted to extend the Bush-era tax rates only for the middle class and to let them expire for upper income brackets, in an effort to lower the deficit. Tax rates for higher earners would revert back to the levels they were before 2001.
The Republican-led House passed a measure that extends all the current tax rates for one year. All Republicans but one voted for the measure.
Republican Ann Marie Buerkle voted for the extension and says that the one-year extension would allow people to plan ahead
"You know, one of the things I hear form so many of the businesses is this uncertainty. They don't know how the affordable care act is going to affect them, they don't know what their tax rate is going to be or tax dividends or estate taxes," said Buerkle.
Buerkle went on to say that raising tax rates on those with higher incomes would affect small business owners who file as individuals.
"You're talking about effecting the job creators and the people who hire. So these tax rates really go right to the people that we want to empower, those are the job creators, in an economy like we have right now," said Buerkle.
Buerkle's opponent in the November election, Dan Maffei, agrees with most other Democrats that taxes should be kept at the current rate only for those earning $250,000 or less. Maffei has called on Congress to pass the extension for those at that income level
“For once, everyone seems to agree that we should not raise taxes on people making under $250,000 a year," said Maffei in a written statement. "We need to pass this tax cut for all income up to $250,000 so that the middle class and small businesses can have confidence that their taxes are not going to go up.”
President Obama has said he would veto any attempt to extend the tax code for all income levels. The law is set to expire at the end of the year.
So while the tax rates weren't extended this week, it appears the election year impasse was.