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Sanders: Continuing tax breaks for the wealthy 'dumb'

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the longest serving independent in Congress, on Monday hammered the Senate’s other independent, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, for his support for renewing Bush-era tax cuts for high income wage earners.

“At a time when this nation has a $13 trillion national debt and a widening gap between the very rich and everyone else, the dumbest thing we could possibly do is to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to some of the wealthiest people in America,” Sanders said.

The outspoken liberal senator also blasted Republicans for saying they will do everything in their power to block Democratic efforts to renew soon-to-expire Bush administration tax cuts for the middle class unless tax breaks also are renewed for the wealthiest taxpayers. 

“It is an outrage that the Republican leader in the Senate has pledged to filibuster legislation that would provide tax relief to 98 percent of American workers and their families,” he said. “The Democratic leadership has got to stand up to this filibuster no matter how long it takes.” 

Senate Republican leaders haven’t said specifically whether they would try to block the Democrats’ tax proposal with a filibuster. But Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he will introduce a bill that would prevent income tax hikes for people of all income levels.

A McConnell spokesman said that every Senate Republican has pledged to oppose President Obama’s tax plan. The president has proposed to renew the tax cuts most people but let the top income rate — individuals making more than $200,000 and couples and small businesses making more than $250,000 — to sunset.

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