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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Slaughter Speaks Out Against the Republican Tax Cut Bill for the Wealthy on the House Floor

December 19, 2017
Press Release
Legislation would raise taxes for the middle class and set the stage for cuts to social safety net programs

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) took to the House Floor today to speak out against the Republican tax cut for the wealthy ahead of a vote on the legislation this afternoon. This bill would provide a massive tax cut for big corporations and the wealthy while raising taxes for 86 million middle class families and increasing the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion. Because the tax bill is unpaid for, federal law requires cuts to programs Americans depend on to pay for these tax cuts for the rich, including a $25 billion cut to Medicare. Video of her remarks is available here.

“This is really a remarkable time in the United States, knowing that we are on the brink of passing a bill that will adversely impact virtually every American except the wealthy. The Majority has the votes and there’s not much Democrats can do to stop it. But it is an insult to the word reform to associate it with this bill,” Slaughter said on the floor. “This bill hurts the middle class, children, and the elderly by limiting or outright eliminating many of the deductions they rely on.”

“For years, I have heard members of the Majority come to this floor talking about the need to address the national debt. Apparently, that was little more than a talking point. This bill explodes the deficit by $1.5 trillion. And it’s completely unpaid for,” continued Slaughter. “Soon they will be back here talking about reforming Social Security and Medicare to pay for what they are doing here. Let’s call it what it really is: a systematic dismantling of the social contract. It will impact everyone from children to veterans to the disabled. And it begins today with this bill to help the wealthy.” 

Slaughter’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

Emergency procedures were used to bring up the bill before us today. What matter requires such urgent attention? Is it reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health care to more than 9 million children across the nation?

Or reauthorizing Community Health Centers, which serve more than 25 million people? Or renewing the Perkins loan program, which many low-income students rely on for their education?

All of these programs expired on September 30th. But they are not what we are considering today. Instead, despite a record 86 months of job growth and an unemployment rate that remains steady, the Majority is prioritizing tax cuts.

Not tax cuts for the middle class, people who work hard to make ends meet. But tax cuts for the wealthy. So the middle class will see their money go right to the rich.

That is what this bill was designed to do. You can tell by who wrote it. There’s not a single Democratic fingerprint anywhere to be found. Instead, it was crafted by the lobbyists who virtually run Washington under the Majority’s leadership.

Consider this: there are 11,000 registered lobbyists in Washington, DC. More than half of them reported working on issues involving taxes during the first three quarters of this year. Each of the 20 organizations that hired the most lobbyists to work on tax issues have reported lobbying specifically on tax reform, covering the very matters included in this bill.

The New York Times has reported that travel industry lobbyists directly emailed those writing this bill to kill an amendment on tourism because a competitor who favored it has been critical of President Trump. Business lobbyists, after already securing a lower corporate tax rate in an early version of this bill, called members of the Majority and made it even more favorable to them.

They secured the removal of the corporate alternative minimum tax, a provision designed to prevent the very rich from gaming the system.

The Majority has been very clear about who this bill is written for. One member of the Majority, Congressman Chris Collins, has said, quote, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” end quote.

But M. /Speaker, what about the average American – workers and members of the middle class – who can’t write the biggest campaign check or have an army of lawyers scour the tax code on their behalf?

Those are the people who will be forced to pay the price for providing the wealthy with these tax cuts.

This is really a remarkable time in the United States, knowing that we are on the brink of passing a bill that will adversely impact virtually every American except the wealthy. The Majority has the votes and there’s not much Democrats can do to stop it. But it is an insult to the word reform to associate it with this bill.

The American people know they are not getting what was promised by the Majority.

This bill hurts the middle class, children, and the elderly by limiting or outright eliminating many of the deductions they rely on.

Under this bill, the personal exemption is eliminated, the mortgage interest deduction is limited, the State and Local Tax deduction is limited, and the moving expense deduction for individuals has been eliminated.

Even the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is eliminated.

That will cause premiums to go up by 10 percent for those in the individual market. And 13 million people will be uninsured.

All the tax cuts made for individuals will expire by 2025 while the tax cuts for corporations are permanent. That is not reform. That keeps our tax code complicated by design.

Wealthy families and big corporations can continue taking advantage of a system they helped create.

President Trump promised over and over again that carried interest would be eliminated. Right up to the time it was left in this bill. Because despite some small technical changes, it’s alive and well here.

Broken promises like this are embedded throughout this legislation.

For years, I have heard members of the Majority come to this floor talking about the need to address the national debt. Apparently, that was little more than a talking point.

This bill explodes the deficit by $1.5 trillion. And it’s completely unpaid for. Because of that, federal law requires cuts to programs Americans depend, including a $25 billion cut to Medicare.

This isn’t fear-mongering, this is fact. Speaker Ryan said just last week, quote, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” end quote.

Let me say this to the public watching today: when the Majority speaks of reform, you should be very worried about your future. Because they pushed this scam under the guise of so-called reform and it’s simply a corporate giveaway.

Soon they will be back here talking about reforming Social Security and Medicare to pay for what they are doing here.

Let’s call it what it really is: a systematic dismantling of the social contract. It will impact everyone from children to veterans to the disabled. And it begins today with this bill to help the wealthy. 

 

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