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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. I will say to the gentleman, as I said before and as reflected by the vote that just occurred on the motion to instruct conferees, we, too, desire a resolution of this issue next week. I think the gentleman knows that we've been on this floor before in the same discussion where it is imperative for us to send a signal to the hardworking taxpayers of this country that they're not going to have their taxes go up. So it is my hope that we're going to see some productivity out of the conference committee.

I think the gentleman knows my position as to why there has been no productivity. Frankly, last week, I urged the gentleman to point his ire to the other side of the Capitol because it is that side of the Capitol and Leader Reid who have been unwilling to come forward with a resolution to this issue.

As the gentleman knows, the House has taken its position. We believe we ought to extend the payroll tax holiday for a year and do so in a responsible manner so as not to raid the Social Security trust fund. But there's been no willingness on the part of Leader Reid and his conferees to even offer a suggestion as to how to resolve this impasse.

So, again, I say to the gentleman, we are committed to making sure taxes don't go up on hardworking people in these economic times.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, I would just say, really it's not productive to engage in politics and division. We ought to be about multiplication here. We ought to be about growing the economy. We ought not be talking in the way that the gentleman suggests, that somehow we Republicans prefer one group of people over another. That's not true. We're here fighting for the hardworking taxpayers.

I just said, Mr. Speaker, to the gentleman, that we, as Republicans in this House, do not support taxes going up on anybody. We believe that Washington spends too much money. We don't believe you ought to tax anybody, especially the job creators, the small businessmen and women who we're relying on to create jobs and get this economy back to where it needs to be, in a growth mode.

So the gentleman knows very well my position, and it is the position of our conference. We do not want to see taxes going up on hardworking taxpayers. I said it before, and I will say it again: We hope that the conferees can produce something for us to vote on, but we are not in any way, shape, or form advocating for taxes to go up on hardworking people. No. We are for making sure that doesn't happen. So, Mr. Speaker, I don't know how many times I can say that to underscore our commitment.

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Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for his recommitment to that proposition.

Let me ask the gentleman, therefore, given the fact, am I correct that you do not believe the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts need to be paid for? Is that still your position?

Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, again, the question has to do with the gentleman and his side's and the President's insistence that somehow the math requires us to raise taxes on small businessmen and women. We don't believe that. We don't believe that we ought to let tax rates go up and create a tax hike on the small business people of this country because, number one, that exacerbates the challenge that we're already dealing with in trying to get this economy growing. And number two, it will put more money into the hands of Washington to begin spending that money without paying down the debt.

The gentleman knows very well our commitment to making sure we get the fiscal house in order. He knows very well that we believe you've got to fix the problem and not go in and ask the small businessmen and women to pay more taxes to dig a hole deeper. We believe you ought to fix the problem, stop taking small business money away from the men and women who make it, and let them continue to put it back into their enterprises and create jobs. That's what we're trying to do. And I look forward to working with the gentleman to make sure we accomplish that end.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I'd say to the gentleman, he has answered the same question in two different ways. And he's also gone off not in seven different directions but nine or ten when he starts talking about the former President George Bush. George Bush has nothing to do with this debate, has nothing to do with the issue before it.

What I'm asking, Mr. Speaker, is, number one: Does he not agree that if we pay for the extension of the Federal tax holiday, we are making sure that we attempt to address the raid on the Social Security trust fund? And is that not different than talking about marginal rates on small business men and women? Is that not different than talking about keeping the capital gain rates the same on investors and entrepreneurs in America? We need to put investment capital back into the economy, the private economy. And so my point was not seven different directions, my point is just that.

Again, I would say to the gentleman that it bothers me to hear that the gentleman just wants to rely on an IOU. The public is tired of saying, yes, we'll owe it. We'll owe it. We'll pay it later. What we're saying is let's make sure that we don't dig the hole any deeper. Let's make sure we don't raid the Social Security trust fund. That's why we are saying let's pay for it.

But again, to the gentleman's point about trying to expedite things so we can have a result out of the conference committee, there has been no activity, no activity on the part of the Senate. They're not serious. They're not serious on wanting to address the issue--at least, they've not been thus far--and we're running out of time.

So again, I guess the gentleman's solution is go ahead and raid the Social Security trust fund and let's extend the payroll tax holiday. And if that's the gentleman's position, then we know the position I would imagine of the minority on this position.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I'll just wrap it up by saying I don't think there was anybody, any working American that did not benefit from the '01-'03 tax relief. So again, the gentleman's attempt to divide this country, saying that some benefit from this and others benefited from that, it's not the way that I think most Americans look at it. We're all in this together, okay.

So again, we're trying to make sure that taxes don't go up on anybody. We're trying to do it responsibly. And the gentleman does, and acknowledges, that the payroll tax holiday involves a tax that is dedicated to the viability of the Social Security trust fund. And the gentleman knows that if we pass that bill because of his insistence and the insistence of the leader on the Democratic side of the aisle in the Senate, the majority leader in the Senate, that if we have to go ahead and just do it unpaid for, then we have created more of a problem and raided the Social Security trust fund.

So again, if that's the choice, if the gentleman is saying that his side is not going to support an extension of the Federal tax holiday unless it's unpaid for, then I guess we know where we stand, and the American people know where we stand, because they'll force a raid on the Social Security trust fund.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman knows where I'm going on that last comment, because I will just point out the fact that, when he was the majority leader, that bill, the STOCK Act, had sat dormant, and he refused as the majority leader to pick up the bill and bring it to the floor of the House.

Given the vote that we just saw, I think that there was probably legitimate work to improve and strengthen the bill, which indicated and was reflected in the vote that we just had on the STOCK Act. As for the gentleman's suggestion that somehow I'm confusing this bill with others and his reference to the Affordable Care Act, the public doesn't like that bill; right? It doesn't. I'm thinking that perhaps the gentleman is confusing this bill with one that came up during his term as majority leader when the cap-and-trade bill was filed at 2 a.m. and then we were asked to vote on it at 10 o'clock the next morning.

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman knows that we have provided for over a week's time and then some for Members to take a look at the full version and to give Members time to prepare their amendments until next Monday so that we can have a full and robust debate on this bill.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I am just marveling at the fact that I don't understand what the gentleman is seeing here. The Washington Post has just done extensive coverage and a story on that transportation bill and the 5,000-plus earmarks that were involved in the bill that he is bragging about.

We're in a new day here. We're shining the light of day. We're saying no more earmarks. We're not doing things the way we used to do them, and that is exactly what the people want. They want a reformed Congress that belongs to them, that works for them, and not the other way around.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman that I look forward to his amendments that he submits for Monday to be considered by the Rules Committee so that we can proceed, as we have on so many bills, in an open debate on the floor of this House, unlike we ever experienced in majorities past. I would say to the gentleman, let's really try and agree. We have to reform this system. We are standing up for reform, whether it be no more earmarks, whether it be continued positing of positions online so that Members have enough time to review, with an open announcement of how long the amendment deadline is, with a continued pattern of allowing for debate on amendments on both sides of the floor. We're trying to change this institution so it can actually live up to what the people are expecting and for us to be able to abide by their trust.

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Mr. CANTOR. I believe that what is needed, Mr. Speaker, is some certainty so that the agencies at the State level can operate with their plans going forward for infrastructure needs. I believe that the private sector that is heavily involved with the infrastructure industry can know how to plan so they can make investments necessary so that we can see the maintenance, repair, and expansion of our infrastructure system in this country.

We're about trying to say let's grow. Let's grow. Let's try and work together so we can grow this economy. The economy is dependent upon an infrastructure future that is certain.

The gentleman also knows that we have in the bill a pay-for that is derived from the expansion of the ability to explore in the deep ocean off our coasts because it's an energy resource that we should be utilizing. That, as well, holds a potential for thousands of new jobs.

So, Mr. Speaker, we are all about job creation. And I hope that the gentleman can join us in what is titled the American Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman just heard what I said: we can create jobs if we open up the ability for more energy exploration. We can create jobs if we provide some certainty to the industries and the State agencies--as well as the Federal agencies--that are involved in planning and charting the course for infrastructure maintenance, repair and expansion in this country.

Growth requires infrastructure that is at top notch, and we know we're a far cry from that in this country. So the gentleman understands my point: growth comes from better infrastructure; growth comes from expanding the ability to explore our natural resources off our coast, something that, unfortunately, most Members on his side of the aisle have not been supportive of in terms of charting a more certain and responsible energy future.

Does the gentleman have any more scheduling questions?

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