As the 111th session of Congress prepared for adjournment, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX/4) applauded House Republicans' solidarity in voting to cut taxes for all Americans and cut federal spending levels. "Creating jobs, cutting spending, and changing how Congress does business are the goals for the Republican Majority in the House next year, and these votes are a good first step," Hall said.
Today Hall joined a nearly unanimous Republican Conference in voting against a resolution that would continue to fund the federal government at current high levels, but the bill passed by a vote of 193 -- 165. "We needed a bill that cuts spending and puts our nation on the path for a balanced budget," Hall said. "Republicans were not able to offer an alternative bill with spending cuts, but we were able to extract a short-term funding bill, through March 4, 2011, instead of a year-long funding bill at elevated spending levels."
"Republicans will have the opportunity to eliminate wasteful spending as early as March of next year, and as the Chairman-Elect of the Committee on Science and Technology, I will work with my Committee Members to suggest some of those cuts," Hall noted. "House Speaker-Elect Boehner is proposing a plan to cut spending back to pre-bailout and pre-stimulus 2008 levels, which would save taxpayers nearly $100 billion a year, and the Republican Conference also has adopted a ban on earmarks in the next Congress."
Last week, the House approved H.R. 4853, a bill to prevent the January 1sttax hikes that would have affected every taxpayer and would have further weakened the economy. "Republicans in the House and Senate made sure that extension of the Bush tax cuts applied to all Americans -- from the lowest to the highest income brackets -- to help boost the economy and prevent more job losses," Hall said. "With almost one in ten Americans out of work, we need to stop all tax hikes and provide incentives for small businesses to stay in business. We also need to work to permanently eliminate the death tax that affects small businesses, farmers, and families."
Specifically, the tax bill provides a two-year extension of all current tax rates, as well as the 15 percent rate on capital gains and dividends. It also extends the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, marriage penalty relief, and the American Opportunity tax credit. The bill sets the death tax rate at 35 percent with an exemption amount of $5 million and provides a one-year payroll-tax reduction, a two-year AMT patch, 100 percent expensing for small businesses, extension of the R&D business tax credit, and continues a number of refundable tax credits. It also provides additional unemployment insurance benefits.
"Republicans made a Pledge to America in the last election, and we will work to honor that pledge to create jobs, reduce the deficit, and change how Congress works," Hall said. "House Republicans have adopted new rules to increase transparency and accountability and ensure that the 112thCongress is focused on the priorities of the American people -- especially reducing spending."
A new Cut-Go rule will prohibit consideration of any suspension bill that creates a new program unless it eliminates or reduces a program of equal or greater size. Republicans also will prohibit any suspension bill that increases authorizations, appropriations, or direct spending unless fully offset, as well as bills that are commemorative or congratulatory in nature. In addition, bills and votes will be posted on-line for the American people to review.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues in the 112thCongress to strengthen the economy, create jobs, and return the federal government to fiscal responsibility by cutting spending and working towards a balanced budget," Hall said. "I also look forward to repealing the disastrous health bill passed by this Administration."
"The American people expect -- and deserve -- the best from their elected representatives. We have been given an opportunity to meet their expectations in the next Congress."