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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Response from Senator Durbin UPDATED

I had signed a petition for my Senators and my House member to back the President’s tax deal.  I did get a response that is pretty interesting.  

This is my first diary here, so if I’m missing some common protocol let me know.

Here’s the response in it’s entirety:

December 15, 2010

Dear IL JimP:

Thank you for contacting me about the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

I voted in favor of the bill, but this is not the bill that I would have written. There are sections of this bill that do not honor my values and principles. The provisions in this bill that give tax benefits to the wealthiest among us are awful, but we have to accept reality. Members from the other side of the aisle made this unfortunate subsidy for the rich a requirement in exchange for their support for helping working families and the unemployed.

This bill will help working families. It will ensure that our fragile economy doesn’t slump further and that we provide the benefits that unemployed people and the middle-class need.

In Illinois, the tax provision will protect six million middle-class families and prevent 135,000 workers from losing unemployment benefits during the holiday season. Specifics of the bill and a full overview can be found at:…

Some important provisions include:

Extension of Unemployment Benefits. Approximately 135,000 people in Illinois would have lost unemployment assistance by the end of December. Another 68,000 people would have exhausted their benefits by the end of January and an additional 58,000 by the end of February.

The bill reauthorizes the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, and temporarily extends 100 percent federal financing of the Extended Benefit (EB) program, both of which expired on December 1. The bill will allow unemployment compensation to continue being provided for up to 99 weeks. It does not provide additional benefits for anyone who already or will exhaust the full 99 weeks of coverage.

Reduce Individual Income Tax Rates. The bill preserves current individual income tax rates through 2012. This ensures that 97 percent of Illinoisans, with reported income under $200,000, will not see their tax rates increase in 2011.

Reduce payroll taxes. The bill will reduce payroll taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. The average person earning $50,000 will save approximately $1,000 on top of the other savings in the bill.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The bill extends the refundable tax credit available to eligible low-income workers through 2012. In Illinois, 954,070 families claimed the tax credit last year, receiving an average $2,074 tax break.

Extend the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). This bill extends the Child Tax Credit that provides important tax benefits to low- and middle-income families and would have expired. More than one million families in Illinois claimed this credit last year, an average tax cut of $1,238.

Individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Relief. The AMT increases in this bill will prevent 866,565 middle-class families in Illinois from paying higher taxes in 2010.

American Opportunity Tax Credit. The bill extends the tax credit for 382,000 Illinoisans to make college more affordable.

These tax provisions are expensive, but this is necessary relief that our middle-class families and small businesses need as our economy slowly recovers from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. At the same time, we have to realize that these provisions are adding to our national debt and deficit, and these problems must be tackled. I will continue to work to find common sense solutions to rein in our ballooning debt without sacrificing economic progress. Finding a solution to the growing debt problem is not a partisan problem, it is an American problem.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to stay in touch.


Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator


I think it shows at least some of our legislators live in reality.

The bill passed the House and is off to the President for signature:

A massive bipartisan tax package preventing a big New Year’s Day tax hike for millions of Americans is on its way to President Barack Obama for his signature Friday.…


  1. jsfox

    Before I go and read your diary. I would make the strong suggestion that you take your actual name and address out of the letter from Durbin. This is protect your privacy more than anything else.

    Now back to reading

  2. HappyinVT

    Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is less about any economic impact as it is about sticking it to them.  Sure it shows the deficit hawks to be hypocrites and it is self-serving for most (all?) members of Congress but, assuming Sen. Durbin is correct and I have no reason to doubt him, it seems worth in the long run.

  3. I don’t think most people will see it that way. If we get DADT and START through in this session then the President should get a big bump in the polls. That’s what worries me. The GOP may fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening.

  4. HappyinVT

    A massive bipartisan tax package preventing a big New Year’s Day tax hike for millions of Americans

    My local paper’s top story today led off with this:

    Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont was selected by colleagues to led the House floor debate Thursday for Democrats who oppose President Barack Obama’s proposed extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.

    After some kind of typo or misprint the article does mention the “bill would also extend jobless benefits for 13 months, reinstate the estate tax and cut payroll taxes for a year.”

    (Yes, that’s my employer.)

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