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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3996, Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Massachusetts for yielding.

And to my good friend from Missouri with whom I serve on the Ways and Means Committee, I would hope that as this process moves forward, we can get together and have an honest discussion of what needs to be offset, what should be extended, and how we are going to provide tax relief to 23 million Americans who would otherwise get caught up in the creeping alternative minimum tax.

And that's why today I rise in support of the rule and the underlying bill, and I commend the chairman of the
Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Rangel, for helping us bring forward a bill that is not only fiscally sound but morally responsible.

There are some elements of common agreement. We all here agree that we want to stop the AMT from hitting 23 million more Americans, 56,000 in my congressional district alone in Wisconsin. The big difference is we pay for it; they don't. We did, as we promised the American people we would do when we became the majority this year, reinstitute pay-as-you-go budgeting rules, something that was in place in the 1990s that gave us 4 years of budget surpluses. We are paying down the national debt rather than adding to it.

But with the expiration of pay-as-you-go budgeting, we've had the fastest and largest accumulation of national debt in our Nation's history under their watch, under their economic plan: Over 3 trillion new dollars added to the national debt, and by the time this President leaves office, it will be 4 trillion. We went over 9 trillion in accumulated debt this week for the first time in our Nation's history, and there are consequences.

Let's make no mistake about this debate today. This bill will be paid for. The question is, is this generation going to have the moral responsibility to pay for it, or are we going to stick it to our children and grandchildren with more deficit financing? They are borrow and spend; we are pay-as-you-go.

And I don't know how many of my colleagues noticed this week, but the dollar went into a free fall. And the main reason that the dollar went into a free fall is because there was a rumor on the market that the Chinese are going to start unloading their high dollar reserves and start buying euros. And the only tools we could possibly have to counter that was in hoping another Chinese official would step up and say, no, that's not true, it's just a rumor. Fortunately, they did; otherwise the Federal Reserve would have to tighten the money supply to prop up the dollar, and we know the consequences to economic activity if that happens.

This is the economic dilemma that they have put us in by saddling us with huge debt. And they can talk all they want about percentage of GDP, but as long as more deficit is being accumulated, China will remain the number one purchaser of our debt today. And that is wrong for the future economic growth of our Nation, and it's especially wrong for our children.

So the question is, do we adhere to pay-as-you-go budgeting? We can have an honest discussion of what appropriate offsets should be in order to pay for the tax relief for 23 million families. But what shouldn't be on the table and what shouldn't be debated today is more deficit financing, which is the easiest thing to do. I'll be curious to see what type of substitute they want to offer, what their plan is, because it has got to be under pay-as-you-go budgeting. And we will see if there are some areas of common agreement with that. But what shouldn't be debated and what shouldn't be open for consideration is pay-as-you-go budgeting so we don't leave a legacy of debt to our children and grandchildren.

I encourage my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying bill.


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