March 05,2014

Press Contact:

Lindsey Held: 202-224-4515

Wyden Calls for Renewed Focus on Middle Class, Job Growth in Budget

Finance Chairman Says Increasing Opportunity and Innovation Must Be Priorities

WASHINGTON –At a Senate Finance Committee hearing today with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to examine the administration’s fiscal year 2015 budget, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the budget must address the problems facing middle class families and the economy.  Senator Wyden pointed to the tax code as a critical tool to help reinvigorate the middle class by sparking job growth, stem the tide of inequality and restore opportunity to millions of Americans.  He also encouraged Congress to come together to tackle these issues in a bipartisan fashion.

“For the first time in nearly three years, we’re not lurching from one crisis to the next. This is a chance to pivot away from the budget battles and focus on the big challenges facing our country, such as sustaining and expanding the middle class, encouraging innovation that will create good jobs, and addressing the widespread inequality of opportunity,” Senator Wyden said.  “Reforming the tax code can provide solutions to many of these issues. The Obama administration’s budget includes a proposal for business tax reform.  I believe a broader approach that comprehensively overhauls our broken, antiquated tax code would do more to give all Americans the opportunity to get ahead.”

Senator Wyden discussed a number of policies that would help ordinary Americans and boost the economy. He said investment in research and development is a key part of creating new jobs by turning smart ideas into thriving businesses. Senator Wyden noted expiring tax provisions, such as the research and development tax credit, present an opportunity for the committee to invest in the future and create a springboard for taking on comprehensive tax reform.

Senator Wyden said savings policy is another area where the budget can lead the way by helping people achieve higher education and homeownership, establish a base of economic security, and build a nest egg for retirement. He commended the President’s attention to this issue with the inclusion of the MyRA and auto-IRA programs in the budget, and touted the recent proposal to create a savings account for every American child. Senator Wyden also said education incentives can be simplified and improved through the tax code.

Senator Wyden also stressed the importance of investing in infrastructure, not only to make the U.S. a more attractive place to do business but also to give American exporters greater access to foreign markets. He argued the committee can play a key role by ensuring the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund in the long run, and utilizing private sector funding for transportation projects.

Video of Senator Wyden's opening statement can be viewed here: