"There are 73,000 unemployed Philadelphians whose jobless benefits are expiring. Our city's unemployment rate was 11.2 percent in September, more than a point above the national rate. Almost one in every four residents of the Second Congressional District lives in poverty. Families out of work through no fault of their own are fearing foreclosure on their homes.
"These Philadelphians need help, here and now. They are waiting for us to act. They cannot wait for the "perfect' solution from an imperfect and divided Washington. President Obama's proposal to maintain unemployment benefits through 2011 and the soon-to-expire tax cuts though 2012 will provide that help.
"As Chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus I have worked closely with our nation's mayors on issues from poverty to infrastructure to energy efficiency. An impressive list of mayors from coast to coast, including my hometown's Michael Nutter, New York's Michael Bloomberg and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles have strongly endorsed the President's plan as critical to the issues facing our metropolitan areas.
"The President acknowledges there is something in this compromise for almost everyone to disagree with. In fact I expect to be working with my House colleagues to alter the provisions of the estate tax portion of the compromise plan to make it more equitable. More importantly, however, there is plenty -- $238 billion worth of tax relief, basic benefits and job creation for the middle class, working families and the poor, as well as a two-year extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college students that I authored -- to help almost every struggling family in these hard times.
"I have consistently opposed extending the tax cuts for the top 2% and still believe that is not the right choice. The reality of the legislative process, and my commitment to working families, compels me to support the framework of this proposal in spite of its imperfections.
"We need a long term solution to our nation's debt, which is why I will reintroduce the Debt Free America Act in January. But the issue before us is a short term solution to family budgets, and the President's plan provides that relief. I will work during the coming weeks in Washington for its enactment."