Sen. Chuck Schumer plans to urge fellow Democrats in a Tuesday speech to resist extending tax cuts for the wealthy, instead suggesting they embrace "serious" entitlement reform in the negotiations over looming year-end spending cuts and expiring tax cuts, according to prepared remarks.
"Over time, our tax code has widened the nation's wealth gap," the third highest-ranking Senate Democrat plans to say. "Reversing this trend ought to be a top goal of tax reform."
Schumer plans to argue against using money saved from closing tax loopholes to finance upper-income tax cuts. Instead, the money should be used for much-needed deficit reduction, he says. Otherwise, numerous deductions and tax credits would have to be eliminated to pay for both across-the-board tax cuts and paying down the deficit.
"And because middle-income earners so rely on these expenditures, the cost of losing them would likely exceed the benefit they would receive from a lowered rate," Schumer plans to say.
The proposed course of action is a departure from the plans offered up by the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission and the bipartisan Senate Gang of Six, he says, because "the old style of tax reform is obsolete in a 2012 world."
His remarks echo a similar speech delivered by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in July, urging fellow Democrats to resist extending the upper-income cuts.
Republicans have fought hard to extend the Bush-era cuts for all Americans before they expire at the end of the year, though there have been signs that they may be prepared to cede ground should Obama win.
Schumer's full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are after the jump.
This post, originally published at 10:10 a.m., has been updated.