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Mr. TIBERI. Mr. Chairman, what an honor and privilege it is to be a Member of this House, and what an amazement it is to me to hear this debate that I have heard so much in the past. The road to prosperity is not through tax increases. The road to prosperity in America is not through class warfare.
My mother and father came to an America, a United States of America, for a better life, for an opportunity--not a guarantee, an opportunity, for their kids to be successful, for their kids to do well and pay taxes and do well for their kids.
When you're voting on a bill tonight that extends current tax rates, the current Tax Code that represents, Mr. Chairman, three-quarters of this bill, that represents three-quarters of the, quote, spending in this bill, and Members of this body say we have to borrow to allow people to keep the money that they earned, where have we come?
My father was a steelworker who loved John F. Kennedy, who proposed similar types of tax increases. My mother was a seamstress. Neither graduated from high school. They don't believe in class warfare.
Do they support all of this bill? Certainly not. Do I? Certainly not. But the question now, Mr. Chairman, is: Do we allow, on January 1, the largest tax increase in American history? That's the question.
I didn't negotiate this bill. If I were king, I would have certainly negotiated it differently. Only in Washington, D.C., can people keep what they have today and not pay more taxes does it cost the government money.
Think about the farmer who is sick, who is trying to plan his estate. And would I support permanency in the estate tax? Absolutely. And let's eliminate it. But if this bill doesn't pass, a $1 million exemption occurs for that sick farmer trying to plan his estate. Will he have to sell his land, Mr. Chairman?
How about the single mom with two jobs trying to provide for her two kids? Her taxes will go up. How about the teacher and the police officer raising a family? The marriage penalty. How about the small business owner who pulled me aside on Wednesday and said: I can't even plan my business. I'd like to hire somebody. And you folks in Washington have known for how long that these tax rates were going to go up?
Last year, the majority party had 60 votes in the Senate, had a clear majority in the House. You could have passed something. And here we are, 15 days before Christmas, and the Grinch is about ready to steal it for so many Americans who will see their taxes go up, Mr. Chairman, if this bill isn't passed.
Now, there are a lot of things in this bill that I don't like. But the question today, Mr. Chairman, is: Do we let the perfect be the enemy of the good?
I could sit up here and pick apart pieces of this legislation. But when three-fourths of this is the current Tax Code, three-fourths of this allows for the current rates to continue so taxes don't go up on millions and millions of Americans, Mr. Chairman, it really comes down to this simple logic:
We cannot tax our way to prosperity. We cannot tax our way to fiscal responsibility. We must pass this bill and give 2 years for this Congress, this President, this Senate to come up with a better way, a more simple way to tax Americans; allow them to keep more of their money; provide for a way for capital to work in America's favor and allow America to be more competitive again, with a Tax Code that makes sense.
But the question today is: Do we allow taxes to go up, or do we allow Americans to have some certainty for the next 2 years?
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