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(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) responded to the Republican Tax Reconciliation Bill.

Senator Murray's statement follows:

With their latest tax plan, Republicans are showing once again that they care more about giving tax breaks to millionaires than helping working families.

Republicans said this week would be "Health Care Week." While it's insulting to devote only one week to such a critical issue, it's even more troubling that Republicans pulled the plug on Health Care week in favor of even more tax breaks for the rich. This tax bill and the Senate's failure to help families with the soaring cost of healthcare are further proof that Republicans have the wrong priorities.

If we want to make America strong again, we need to invest here at home. Today, middle class families throughout Washington state and the country are struggling to pay for the skyrocketing costs of gas, college tuition, and health care. Instead of helping these hardworking families, Republicans have once again decided to leave the middle class behind.

While I'm pleased that this bill includes a one-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, there is not much else to be pleased about in this bill. According to the Tax Policy Center, this tax bill would provide middle income families an average tax cut of just $20, while millionaires would get an average tax cut of $42,000. Rather than extending the middle class tax cuts that have already expired or will expire at the end of the year, Republicans have again turned their backs on the middle class. The Republican bill also denies families in my home state the ability to deduct their state sales taxes. It blocks teachers from deducting the cost of classroom expenses they pay out of their own pockets. It denies businesses access to the Research and Development tax credit, which I helped extend in September 2004.

On its own, this bill has the wrong priorities, but when you look at the bigger picture a more disturbing pattern is clear. This tax bill is the second part of last year’s budget resolution. The first part of the budget resolution, which was enacted in February, cut $39 billion from important areas like healthcare and education. When we passed that bill, we were told that the bill was necessary to reduce the deficit. Yet today we are presented with a tax bill that in fact increases the deficit by $30 billion and adds to our massive debt.

We need a tax system that is fiscally responsible, helps business grow, and provides maximum relief to the middle class, but this bill achieves none of this. Instead, it takes out a loan against our children’s future and adds to the deficit. This tax bill makes it more difficult for us to address other important priorities like homeland security, paying for the war in Iraq, our nation’s infrastructure, health care, and education. This is the wrong tax plan, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons.