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Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (Part 19)

Congress, Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, tax reform

(This post directly follows the previous post which now focuses on discussion and debate of the new tax bill.)

Mr. BRADY of Texas: Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut: Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee), the voice of Houston.

Ms. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Speaker, this is not the American Dream tax plan. This is the American nightmare, a tax scam of the worst proportion.

With over 8,000 of my constituents last evening on a teleconference town hall meeting, overwhelmingly they disagreed with a tax plan that cuts Medicare or Medicaid to finance tax cuts, eliminates the mortgage tax deduction, so that those who are suffering from Hurricane Harvey, trying to rebuild their lives, seeking a new home cannot, in fact, deduct their mortgage.

The same thing with the 200,000 Texans who are going to pay more because we are eliminating the deduction for State and local taxes, and eliminating deductions for student loans, casualty losses; by next year, $25 billion in Social Security cuts.

My seniors on the phone last night asked me about those cuts. They asked me about the medical expenses cuts for seniors. All of that is eliminated.

Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a sample of tele-townhall survey questions and answers:

            Tax Tele-Townhall Survey Questions and Answers

(1) Do you agree that a tax bill should cut tax at the expense of Medicaid and Medicare? 95 percent said no.

(2) The current tax reform bill will eliminate the tax deduction for student loan interest and the lifetime learning credit. Do you support the elimination of these tax credits? 91 percent said no.

(3) The current tax code allows homeowners to deduct interest on mortgages. Would you support a tax plan that includes a reduction in credit for first-time home buyers? 95 percent said no.

Ms. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Speaker, this plan will show no growth. The neutral tax policy entity said you will get no growth, no growth in wages, and you will send jobs overseas in waves.

It is a tax scam and it is an American nightmare. Vote against this tax scam

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Budget Committee, I rise in strong and unyielding opposition to H.R. 1, the so-called “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” which more accurately should be called the “Republican Tax Scam Act.”

I oppose this cruel and immoral $1.7 trillion tax giveaway to wealthy corporations and the top one percent because it raises taxes on poor, working, and middle class families; explodes the deficit by adding an additional $2.2 trillion over ten years; and will require an estimated $5.4 trillion cut in funding for the programs ordinary Americans depend on for health security, educational opportunity, and economic progress.

Mr. Speaker, Americans are not fooled; they know trickle-down economics has never worked, and they see right through this phony tax plan and recognize it for the scam that it is.

That is why Americans reject this Republican tax giveaway by an overwhelming 2:1 margin according to a poll released yesterday by Quinnipiac.

Specifically, 61 percent think the Republican tax scam will benefit the wealthy the most; only 16 percent say the plan will reduce their taxes.

59 percent think it is a very bad idea to eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes.

Nearly half of respondents (40 percent) think it a bad idea to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

This Republican tax plan is even more toxic to my constituents in the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas.

Mr. Speaker, as you may know, my constituents and others in Texas are still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the worst storm ever to make landfall in the continental United States.

Yet last evening, nearly 8,000 of them took time out of their busy schedules to join me in a tele-townhall to discuss the tax scheme that has been rushed to the floor for a vote by the Republican leadership in the hope of passing it before the American people learn its insidious details.

But I have got news for them: too late.

My constituents understand and let me know that they believe it is important that the United States has a tax system that is fair, balanced, smart, and provides the resources and opportunities to allow all Americans to reach their potential.

And by margins exceeding 90 percent, they reject:

  • Any cuts to Medicare or Medicaid to finance tax cuts for wealthy corporations and the top 1 percent;
  • Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction;
  • Eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes;
  • Eliminating existing deductions for student loan interest or making taxable college endowment funds or college fellowships expenses.

Mr. Speaker, my constituents, and Americans across the country, oppose this unfair Republican tax giveaway because nearly half of the $1.7 trillion tax cut goes to just the top one percent.

In fact, the average annual tax cut for the top one-tenth of one percent is $320,000; for the top one percent it is $62,000, and for those earning $1 million a year it is $68,000.

Nearly 25 percent of the tax cut goes to households in just the top one-tenth of one percent, who make at least $5 million a year (2027).

While super-wealthy corporations and individuals are reaping windfalls, millions of middle-class and working families will see their taxes go up:

  • 13 million households face a tax increase next year.
  • 45 million households face a tax increase in 2027.
  • 29 million households (21 percent) earning less than $100,000 a year see a tax increase.

On average, families earning up to $86,000 annually would see a $794 increase in their tax liability, a significant burden on families struggling to afford child care and balance their checkbook.

It is shocking, but not surprising, that under this Republican tax scam, the total value of tax cuts for just the top one percent is more than the entire tax cut for the lower 95 percent of earners.

Put another way, those earning more than $912,000 a year will get more in tax cuts than 180 million households combined.

The core of this Republican tax scheme is a massive tax cut from 35 percent to 20 percent for corporations, but that is not the only way that the wealthy are rewarded.

The massive tax cuts for corporations are permanent but temporary for working and middle-class families.

Another immoral aspect of this terrible tax scam is that it abandons families that face natural disasters or high medical costs by repealing deductions for casualty losses and medical expenses.

Mr. Speaker, in what universe does it make any sense to eliminate, as this bill would, a deduction for:

  • Teachers who purchase supplies for their classroom;
  • Moving expenses to take a new job and taxes employer-provided moving expenses; or
  • Dependent care assistance, making it harder for families to afford day care, nursery school, or care for aging parents?

This Republican tax scam jeopardizes American innovation and competitiveness by eliminating the deduction for student loan interest, which affects 12 million borrowers, and cuts total education assistance by more than $64 billion.

Under the extraordinary leadership of President Obama and the determined efforts of ordinary Americans, we pulled our way out from under the worst of the foreclosure crisis when the housing bubble burst in 2007.

Inexplicably, Republicans are now championing a tax scheme that will make the homes of average Americans less valuable because deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes are much less valuable than under current law.

A tax plan that reduces home values, as this one does, puts pressure on states and towns to collect revenues they depend on to fund schools, roads, and vital public resources.

Mr. Speaker, an estimated 2.8 million Texas households deduct state and local taxes with an average deduction of $7,823 in 2015.

But this is not the end of the bad news that will be delivered were this tax scam to become law, not by a long shot.

The proposed elimination of the personal exemption will harm millions of Texans by taking away the $4,050 deduction for each taxpayer and claimed dependent; in 2015, roughly 9.3 million dependent exemptions were claimed in the Lone Star State.

Equally terrible is that this Republican tax scam drastically reduces the Earned Income Tax Credit, which encourages work for 2.7 million low-income individuals in Texas, helping them make ends meet with an average credit of $2,689.

The EITC and the Child Tax Credit lift about 1.2 million Texans, including 663,000 children, out of poverty each year.

So to achieve their goal of giving more and more to the haves and the “have mores,” our Republican friends are willing to betray seniors, children, the most vulnerable and needy, and working and middle-class families.

The $5.4 trillion cuts in program investments that will be required to pay for this tax giveaway to wealthy corporations and individuals will fall most heavily on low-income families, students struggling to afford college, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

America will not be made great by financing a $1.7 trillion tax cut for the rich by stealing $1.8 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid, abandoning seniors and families in need, depriving students of realizing a dream to attend college without drowning in debt, or disinvesting in the working families.

America will not be positioned to compete and win in the global, interconnected, and digital economy by slashing funding for scientific research, the arts and humanities, job retraining, and clean energy just to pay for a tax cut to corporations and individuals who do not even need it.

Mr. Speaker, the tax scheme presented here by Republicans is not a plan but a scam that represents a betrayal of our values as a nation.

This tax scam is not a revenue policy adapted for the real world that real Americans live in but a fantasy resting on the monstrous belief that the wealthy have too little money and that poor, working, and middle-class families have too much.

Our Republican friends continue to cling to the fantasy belief that their tax cuts for the rich will pay for themselves despite all precedent to the contrary and evidence that their tax scheme is projected by experts to lose between $3 trillion and $7 trillion.

Mr. Speaker, in evaluating the merits of a taxing system, it is not enough to subject it only to the test of fiscal responsibility.

To keep faith with the nation’s past, to be fair to the nation’s present, and to safeguard the nation’s future, the plan must also pass a “moral test.”

The Republican tax bill fails both of these standards.

I strongly oppose H.R. 1, the “Republican Tax Scam Act,” and urge all Members to join me in voting against this reckless, cruel, and heartless proposal that will do nothing to improve the lives or well-being of middle and working class families, and the poor and vulnerable `caught in the tentacles of circumstance.’

Mr. BRADY of Texas: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.

So I note that constituents in the 18th District of Texas, the past speaker’s district, that average families will see a tax cut of nearly $1,000, and Texas will grow 81,000 new jobs and see higher paychecks as a result of this tax reform bill.

We are proposing a Tax Code so fair and simple, 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file using a simple postcard system. There is a fairness and equality for each American–knowing what each others’ deductions are because we have exactly the same ones.

This simplicity, this fairness, these larger paychecks, this is what the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is all about.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut: Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. BRADY: Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Washington (Mrs. McMorris Rodgers), the leader of the Republican Conference.

Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for his tremendous leadership on this important legislation this morning.

I am proud to rise in support of enacting tax reform, tax relief to millions of Americans. We have been waiting a long time, more than 30 years. And while everything else has changed over 30 years, our Tax Code, unfortunately, has only gotten old, outdated, bigger, and more complicated. It has become a burden, a burden that we are going to lift.

Now, there are some defenders of the status quo who think that the Tax Code is just fine. Well, that is not what the American people sent us here to do, to defend the status quo. We are here to do the big things.

Our plan rewrites the Tax Code to put American families first, including families who have children with disabilities. For these families, who may have saved for their son’s or daughter’s college tuition, which is no longer needed, our plan carries on the legacy of the ABLE Act by allowing them to roll over from a 529 account to a 529A account, an ABLE account, to pay for things like medical bills or workforce development instead.

With this bill, we are making it easier for everyone to reach their full potential. We are lifting the tax burden for everyday, hardworking Americans. An extra $1,182 for middle-income families in places likes eastern Washington could make all the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and saving for retirement or making that car payment.

Mr. Speaker, this is a historic moment, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me on the right side of history by voting in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts. Let’s help our hardworking men and women all across this country.

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 1)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 2)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 3)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 4)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 5)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 6)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 7)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 8)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 9)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 10)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 11)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 12)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 13)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 14)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 15)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 16)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 17)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 18)

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