Hoyer: Democrats Welcome Debate on Fairness, Impact of Competing Economic Plans

WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today in response to Vice President Cheney's speech in defense of the Bush Administration's economic plan and today's report that the economy lost 101,000 jobs in December:

"This Administration is so adept at denying the undeniable that it's no surprise that Vice President Cheney today tried to defend the indefensible. Just this morning, the Labor Department reported that the economy lost 101,000 jobs in December. Under this Administration, our economy has now lost approximately 2 million jobs, and the unemployment rate has risen from 4.2 percent to 6 percent.

Practically everyone agrees that our stagnant economy needs to be jump-started - everyone that is except top Administration officials who believe the time is right to plunge forward with a budget-busting dividend tax cut that will do little to help the economy and working American families.

The Administration's economic proposal is not only a non-stimulus, it's a non sequitur. It utterly fails to respond to the needs of Americans, both those who are working and those who have lost their jobs.

The facts cannot be disputed. Under the President's plan, the top 1 percent of income earners [those making more than $374,000] would receive nearly one-third [32.4 percent] of the benefit. In contrast, the bottom 60 percent of income earners would receive 8.4 percent of the benefits of the Bush plan.

Republicans charge that such comparisons constitute "class warfare" and that their plan has something for everyone. But they ought to remember that every time they point their finger, there are three pointing right back at them. It's time the GOP demonstrated intellectual honesty and moral courage, and accepted the fact that the Bush plan is designed to benefit the most affluent and that 39 million taxpayers would receive nothing at all.

House Democrats have proposed an economic stimulus that is fast-acting, fair and fiscally responsible. Our plan has nothing to do with class warfare and everything to do with providing relief to all taxpayers in the form of a $300 rebate. Unlike the President's proposal, our plan would immediately boost the economy and create an estimated 1 million jobs. Democrats welcome a robust and honest debate on these competing plans, which illustrate precisely where each party's priorities and hearts lie."

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