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



Congressional Record - Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 5

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter from the Congressional Budget Office, which details out the other shoe to fall in this legislation.

Congressional Budget Office, U.S. Congress,

Washington, DC, November 13, 2017

Hon. Steny H. Hoyer,Democratic Whip, House of Representatives,

Washington, D.C.

Dear Congressman:

This letter responds to your request for information about the effects of legislation that would raise deficits by an estimated $1.5 trillion over the 2018-2027 period, specifically with respect to a sequestration–or cancellation of budgetary resources–in accordance with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO; Public Law 111-139).The PAYGO law requires that new legislation enacted during a term of Congress does not collectively increase estimated deficits.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is required to maintain two so-called PAYGO scorecards to report the cumulative changes generated by new legislation in estimated revenues and outlays over the next five years and ten years. If either scorecard indicates a net increase in the deficit, OMB is required to order a sequestration to eliminate the overage. The authority to determine whether a sequestration is required (and if so, exactly how to make the necessary cuts in budget authority) rests solely with OMB.

CBO has analyzed the implications of enacting a bill that would increase deficits by $1.5 trillion over a 10-year window, without enacting any further legislation to offset that increase. In accordance with the PAYGO law, OMB would record the average annual deficit on its PAYGO scorecard, showing deficit increases of, in the example provided, $150 billion per year. If the bill were enacted before the end of the calendar year, that amount would be added to the current balances on the PAYGO scorecard, which for 2018, show a positive balance of $14 billion. (For years after 2018, the balances range from a $14 billion credit to a $1 billion debit.)

Without enacting subsequent legislation to either offset that deficit increase, waive the recordation of the bill’s impact on the scorecard, or otherwise mitigate or eliminate the requirements of the PAYGO law, OMB would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion. However, the PAYGO law limits reductions to Medicare to four percentage points (or roughly $25 billion for that year), leaving about $111 billion to be sequestered from the remaining mandatory accounts. Because the law entirely exempts many large accounts including low-income programs and social security, the annual resources available from which OMB must draw is, in CBO’s estimation, only between $85 billion to $90 billion, significantly less than the amount that would be required to be sequestered. (For a full list of accounts subject to automatic reductions, see OMB Report to the Congress on the

(Joint Committee Reductions for Fiscal Year 2018, https://go.usa.gov/xnZ3U.)

Given that the required reduction in spending exceeds the estimated amount of available resources in each year over the next 10 years, in the absence of further legislation, OMB would be unable to implement the full extent of outlay reductions required by the PAYGO law.

If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be pleased to provide them.

Sincerely,

Keith Hall,

Director

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, let me begin by preempting our distinguished chairman and, for the Record, state that a middle class family in the State of Connecticut, from West Hartford, with a combined income of $125,000, with a mortgage and a kid in college, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and to the Department of Revenue Services in the State of Connecticut, will see a tax increase of $767 next year. Then with the clever claw back provision–that Grover Norquist kind of claw back provision that gives with one hand and takes away with the other–in 2023, that hardworking family in the middle class will see a $1,667 increase. So why are we here? It is pretty easy to figure out this.

These are honorable people, but sometimes they are called upon to do a political task, or as Mr. Collins put it: My donors are basically saying, “Get it done or don’t ever call me again.”

Speaking of New York, my colleagues in New York and New Jersey, because we are donor States and because we make itemized deductions, we find ourselves in the situation where we are paying double taxation. Don’t take our word for it. Just ask a member of your own caucus. Ask Peter King, who describes this as the most massive redistribution of wealth at the expense of teachers, machinists, and people who are of the professional class whom you have found that you want to tax their success.

But what adds insult to injury above all else, aside from being a donor State and double taxation, is the cruelest cut. We take a Pledge of Allegiance. We pledge allegiance to the Constitution. But some of you pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist. In doing so, you want to make sure that you can shrink Social Security and Medicare up so small you can drown it in the bathtub. That is what this does: $25 billion will come out of that.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are advised to direct their remarks to the Chair.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds. I would note that families in Connecticut’s First District will see an average tax cut of $3,858 and grow jobs by 11,000 jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to enter into a colloquy with the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Curbelo).

Mr. Curbelo, you and Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon have been tireless advocates for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. I appreciate the hard work you have done to help our fellow citizens on the island. I agree, this tax reform bill is a good first step, and I look forward to working with you on ideas to best serve the people on this island.

Mr. CURBELO of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Brady for that.

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer), who is one of the most thoughtful Members of Congress, a leader in the field of renewable energy, and my friend Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter from 17 environmental organizations opposing this legislation.

November 8, 2017

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we write to urge you to oppose the Republican leadership’s tax legislation, the misnamed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). This plan would lavish huge and permanent tax cuts to the richest 1% and corporate polluters that are destined to be paid for by the health and environmental well-being of communities across the country. The bill’s debt-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest are sure to mean deep cuts to federal and state programs and safeguards that protect our air, water, lands, and wildlife that benefit people across this country every day. The plan puts at risk our clean energy future by preserving tax breaks for dirty energy sources while slashing them for cleaner forms of energy. And if the tax plan itself weren’t harmful enough, it is also being packaged in the Senate with unrelated, controversial legislation that hands over the pristine and sacred Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploitation by Big Oil.

This plan steers most of its tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country and corporations and adds at least $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Americans across the country will suffer because those tax cuts are likely to be paid for by slashing services and safeguards that our government provides, from healthcare to education to environmental protection. The health of communities across the nation will suffer if the Environmental Protection Agency is further

hampered in its mission to protect public health and hold polluters accountable for violating laws like the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. The people who work in and benefit from America’s thriving outdoor recreational economy will take a hit if the national parks and other lands stewarded by the Department of the Interior are forced to suffer further cuts because of this reckless tax plan.

This tax plan also steers our nation’s energy policy in the wrong direction by leaving in place the vast majority of existing tax preferences for polluting industries like oil, gas, coal and nuclear and reducing, phasing-out, and eliminating incentives for cleaner sources of energy.

Permanent tax breaks for fossil fuels dwarf those for renewables by a margin of 7:1, yet this bill would suddenly eliminate the tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle, disrupt the wind industry by reducing the credit for future projects by a third and placing into jeopardy the eligibility of existing projects, and eliminate the commercial solar investment credit. While some clean energy technology credits are reintroduced, they, too, are set to phase out. Meanwhile, oil companies will receive a new billion dollar hand out while only the smallest of existing preferences for fossil fuels are eliminated–leaving more than $14 billion in permanent annual federal subsidies untouched. Despite rhetoric from GOP leaders that the tax code shouldn’t pick winners and losers, this bill very clearly picks polluting energy sectors as winners yet again, putting at risk the impressive growth of clean energy and robbing us and our children of a cleaner future.
The GOP leadership’s plan is to package this tax legislation in the Senate with unrelated, controversial legislation that would open up the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. This legislation would irreversibly damage one of America’s greatest wild places and is only being included in a desperate attempt to secure enough votes in the Senate for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The Arctic Refuge’s spectacular landscape of rugged mountains, boreal forests, and wild rivers supports more than 250 species including polar and brown bears, musk oxen, and birds that migrate from all 50 states and 6 continents each year. The indigenous Gwich’in people call the refuge’s coastal plain “The Sacred Place

Where Life Begins,” an area that serves as the calving grounds for the Porcupine Caribou Herd which they rely on as a primary source of food, and for cultural and spiritual needs. This provision is being included in an attempt to generate $1 billion in government revenue to pay for the package’s tax cuts for the wealthy, but multiple analyses show that it is unlikely to raise anywhere close to that amount. In short, including drilling in the Arctic Refuge in the tax legislation is both environmentally and fiscally irresponsible.

For these reasons, we urge you to oppose H.R. 1 and instead work together on legislation that will truly benefit our communities, power our economy with clean, renewable energy, and protect the environment that we all depend upon for our health and well-being.

Sincerely,

350.orgAlaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Hip Hop Caucus, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, Voices for Progress.

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, Donald Trump is going to be on Capitol Hill rallying Republicans to vote for his tax bill perfectly designed for his benefit: eliminating the alternative minimum tax, one of the few ways he pays any tax at all; abolishing the inheritance tax, allowing him to pass on tax-free hundreds of millions of dollars to his family; and expanding access to the lower pass-through tax rates for many large and profitable businesses. Donald Trump lists hundreds of pass-through entities on his financial forms. Donald Trump is the king of debt, and this monstrosity of a tax bill  is fueled by increasing the national debt $2.3 trillion and cutting taxes for the wealthy financed by increased debt burden on our children and grandchildren.

Of course, details are starting to leak out, such as special deals for baseball teams. Breaking a bipartisan commitment to the wind energy industry is already causing their stock prices to fall, jeopardizing billions of dollars of projects and putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk with the only retroactive provision in the bill breaking a bipartisan commitment that many of us worked on with the energy industry.

The Republican proposal showers riches on the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations who are not going to create jobs and raise wages. What they are going to do is buy things and make more money. What is going to happen is that, in the years ahead, taxes are going to rise for millions of Americans and even more in the future.

Now, this tax perhaps has the most cruel element–what I call the Alzheimer’s tax–repealing the medical expense deduction used by over 9 million middle class Americans who saved almost $90 billion in 2015—gone. This stunning action places additional burdens on many elderly and vulnerable middle-income Americans trying to plan ahead for the crushing financial burden dealing with Alzheimer’s. We never had a hearing on anything like this. It wouldn’t stand the light of day. The American public will be cranky about this.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that families of four, the average family in Oregon’s Third District, will see a tax cut of $2,200.Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling), who is the chairman of the Financial Services Committee and a dear friend of mine.

(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)

 

 

 

 

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