Democrats: GOP forsaking working class
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nine days after Congress adjourned for the holidays without passing an economic stimulus bill, a ranking House Democrat accused his Republican counterparts of abandoning the U.S. working class in a time of great need.
"I have ... seen bipartisanship fall apart as it did in the case of the economic stimulus package. Republicans tried to leave working people behind," U.S. Rep. David Bonior, D-Michigan, said in the Democrats' weekly radio address.
"In times of war and economic turmoil, it has always been working people who rise to the occasion with their patriotism, hard work, courage and generosity," he said. "And, as always, it is working people who take it on the chin during rocky economic times. We need to stick by them."
President Bush, in his weekly radio address, praised U.S. legislators for passing tax relief and an overhaul of the education system, but he expressed disappointment at "the failure of the Senate to act on my proposals to help laid-off workers and to stimulate job creation."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and his supporters prevented a scaled-back version of the economic stimulus bill passed by the GOP-led House from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.
"The economic stimulus package ... gave out billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest and did nothing to shore up our health-care system," Bonior said of the GOP-backed bill. "In Congress, the battles were fierce because Republicans tried to leave working people behind."
He added, "And when we leave working people behind, when we cater to special interests or corporate greed, bipartisanship breaks down every time.
"When we grant $25 billion in retroactive tax rebates to big corporations at a time when hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are being laid off, people are going to stand up and they're going to say, 'This is wrong.'
"At this difficult time when Americans are being asked to do more, to give more, to sacrifice more, we have a responsibility to make sure that working families don't get left behind," Bonior said. "They founded this country. They built this country. It's working people who put on uniforms every day and defend this country and keep it moving."
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