Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez made the following statement today after voting against a Republican tax bill that will increase the federal deficit by $70 billion:

It is an insult to middle class Americans to tell them they cant get the tax cuts they desperately need unless they agree to keep tax breaks to big oil companies and give even more breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

This bill shows loud and clear why so many Americans have lost faith in the Bush Congress. They could have brought us a bill that helped families pay for college, helped teachers who are dipping into their own pocket to pay for classroom supplies, encouraged businesses to invest in new research and innovation, and gave workers incentives to save for their retirement. They could have brought us a bill that repealed billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks for the big oil companies who are earning record profits on the backs of Americas drivers. Every one of those provisions was in the bill that I voted for in February, and every one of them was stripped out of the version that passed today.

I strongly support the provision in this bill to give middle class families relief from the alternative minimum tax. I fought successfully for my amendment to this bill because too many New Jersey families are being bitten by this stealth tax, and had the Republicans presented us with a bill that just extended the AMT, I would gladly join them in voting for it.

Instead, they have larded up a bill that should have given middle class families the tax relief they need with yet another round of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans who dont need them at all. The president and his Congress have already showered those with billions of dollars of tax cuts that have left us with a mountain of debt and deficits that will burden our children and grandchildren for years to come. They dont need and we cant afford yet another round.

I will keep fighting for legislation that not only gives middle class families immediate relief from the AMT, but fixes it forever, so no New Jerseyan has to worry about a stealth tax. And I will keep fighting to repeal tax breaks given to Big Oil that should go to average New Jerseyans instead.

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