Larson: GOP Unified Around Romneycare

Statement

By:  Xavier Becerra John Larson
Date: April 17, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) held a press avail after the Democratic Caucus meeting today to warn of the dangers presented by the Republican majority's tax and budget plans. You can watch the avail here. Below is the transcript:

Rep. Larson: Well thank you for joining us. We just concluded a Caucus on our return from our districts. We're proud to announce that more than 1,000 forums, Congress on the Corners were conducted throughout our districts as we continue to make sure that we fight for Medicare, that we continue to educate the public with the assault that's taking place on women all across this great nation of ours, continue to push for the President's jobs bill, which has still not been brought to the Floor by the Republican-controlled House.

But also wanted to make sure that we took time to congratulate the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and also congratulate the Republicans for coming together around RomneyCare.

Now RomneyCare, in this world here that we operate in Washington, D.C., has become quite a phenomenon. I want to commend the Republicans for finally coming together around something. Because we've been trying to get them to come together around a jobs bill because we recognize that job creation equals deficit reduction. But instead, this week, we see that they are "deeming" a lot of things. Now, they would if they could, deem that Romney be President of the United States, but there's an election, of course, that has to take place in order for that to happen. But this week they're deeming the Ryan budget passed, not only in the House but in the Senate as well. This deeming of things, I think, is part of, you know, the embracing of the concept of RomneyCare.

Romneycare, you might ask, well what's that? RomneyCare is where the middle class pays for the tax breaks that are needed by the very rich amongst us. This has been a unifying element amongst the Republicans here in Congress and we're witnessing it here this week. This embrace of RomneyCare will allow Bain Capital to make sure it gets yet more tax breaks. It does, on the other hand, put a little onus on, well, Medicare and Medicaid. But as we've heard, under RomneyCare, people have just got to tighten their belts and understand that those who have wealth and those who have accumulated know better than you.

For you poor students that are out there, and witnessing as several of our Members experienced over the break, that your rates are going to double in 74 days. Not to worry. In RomneyCare, if we just take care of those people on Wall Street, we'll be all set.

And for you that have been worrying about gas prices, my God, don't you understand that under RomneyCare, we care for those oil companies? We care for those speculators to make sure that they're going to have the wherewithal to keep this economy going. Because God knows you can't make enough money here in these difficult times. And after all, shouldn't the middle class continue to bear these costs?

RomneyCare has brought the Republicans together.

Thank God, though, that there is still sanity in Congress and Democrats will continue to stand up and fight for fairness and make sure that we defend Medicare and not turn it into a voucher plan, get the President's jobs bill passed, a mere consideration that the Republicans should bring to the Floor and also allow the opportunity for us to make sure that students in the next 74 days don't see their rates double. Students are now paying more than credit card debt. This is wrong. It's wrong for their parents, it's wrong for the students too.

Bring up RomneyCare this week -- and there's no other way to explain this charade of messaging that goes on here in Washington than to treat it the way it should be. And then get to the heart of the matter and make sure that we're helping out those we're sworn to serve, the American people and especially the hard-working people of the middle class.

With that, our Vice-Chair, Xavier Becerra.

Rep. Becerra: Mr. Chairman, let's see if I can try to follow that and simply say 469.

That is the number of days now that the Republicans have ruled here in the House of Representatives. And 469 also happens to be the number of days that we have been in Congress since Republicans took control without a jobs agenda. And, once again, Americans pay the price.

We came back after the Easter Recess after working in our districts and talking to our constituents, who essentially were telling us throughout America that they want to see tax fairness, as we try to get this economy moving again. And yesterday, members of Congress had a chance to prove that they were listening to their constituents. And by a majority of 51 votes in the Senate, Senators voted for the "Buffett Rule," which simply says that no millionaire in America should pay lower tax rates than his secretary or anyone in the middle class. And that got a majority vote in the Senate, but, once again, as we have seen time and time again under this Republican rule: a majority doesn't win the U.S. Senate. And, so 51 votes did not send a bill to the President's desk. It died, because the Republican filibuster made it essential to have 60 votes. And, so, once again, the Republicans have killed another piece of legislation that the American public, by some 70%, says they would like to see move forward.

At the same time, this week in the Republican controlled House we will see legislation before us, right at the time that Americans are submitting their taxes, that essentially gives the wealthy a back door tax break once again--this time cloaked behind the skirt of small businesses in America. $46 billion deficit spending for the wealthiest in America. Not paid for. $46 billion in one year. Not over ten years, which is usually the way we score the price of this legislation, but in one year, $46 billion. If you were to extend it over the ten years that we usually count for scoring of legislation and it's cost, it would be half-a-trillion dollars in tax breaks mostly, once again, going to the rich and famous.

Who are these so called small businesses that Republicans would be helping in the bill that will be on the Floor this week? Paris Hilton from Beverly Hills with five to ten employees would get a tremendous tax break. My Los Angeles Dodgers, which recently sold for $2 billion, as we all know has a pretty significant payroll. Well, because they're under five hundred employees they would continue to get these tax breaks that we are told are meant for small businesses. Larry Flynt--Larry Flynt Productions--they do quite a bit of business in the adult entertainment industry, they would get this tax break. Kim Kardashian, another small business woman, would get this tax break. Bain Capital--and Bain Capital, of course, has become famous because of one of its owners and interested parties, Mitt Romney, would get this tax break.

Who would not get this tax break for small businesses? Well, if you're a sole proprietor--that's a pretty small business--you would not get any of this tax break. If you are a mom and pop, you own a grocery store on the corner, you would not get this tax break. But Kim Kardashian, Mitt Romney, Paris Hilton would get this tax break.

That's the way we begin this April month. 469 days into the Republican controlled House of Representatives in rejecting the common sense "Buffett Rule" and moving forward with a back door tax break for the one-percent. Perhaps it's not strange that this week we saw a poll that by close to seventy-percent of Americans believe the that tax code and tax system is skewed against them and in favor of the rich. We need to get back to work by putting America back to work. And we need a jobs agenda now. The President has put one forward. If the Republicans in the Congress are not willing to put their own forward then at least let the jobs plan have a vote up or down in the House or the Senate. With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Rep. Larson: We've got a second to take a few question. We do have a Ways and Means Committee that's going on as we speak.

Q: President Obama is currently paying around 20% in taxes. He's called for people with his wealth to be paying at least 30%. Do you believe the President should contribute to the treasury another ten percent of his income taxes?

Rep. Larson: I believe that the President is correct and believe that we should follow the Buffet Rule and that requires him following the law. All people currently follow the law, and so should the President. But it's up to Congress to change the law and then have everybody participate in a way that's fare and equitable. Under RomneyCare that doesn't happen. In the Romney world that we're deeming here over the next couple of days, the rich get rich and the middle class pays for it. And it's paid for on the backs of student loans, on the backs of Medicare and the general unfairness. And that's what the President was addressing - the general unfairness.

Nobody begrudges anyone the ability to make money or to be successful. That's great and that's part of what being a part of this great nation of ours provides and allows for. But it's the fairness when the country is going through the difficult time that it is. When the fairness of your fellow Americans is at risk. When you're going to eliminate meals on wheels so that we can make sure that we provide for a second elevator that takes your car to the second floor of your house and get a break for it. That is where fairness comes in.

Q: You mention deeming. I assume that you're talking about the Ryan budget. You guys did this during the healthcare reform bill. What's the difference?

Rep. Larson: We did not do that during healthcare reform. It was talked about but we did not do it. We did not do it and because… in fact we did not do it, but we spent many hours not only in our caucus but in and on the floor that became the most debated bill in the history of the United States Congress. And so but this bill is going to have no debate is going to be deemed. So the Ryan budget is going to be deemed. As I said, if it could, they would deem Mitt Romney president but that's not going to happen there's going to be an election. There should be an election out here. We are the vocal minority. We're making it known that this is not the right process, this is not fairness, this is not what the American people expect. And why are they deeming it? Well, they are deeming it because they know that it can't stand up to their scrutiny.

Rep. Becerra: Can I just add something? I hope you're asking the Republicans the question, what are they afraid of? If they're so proud of the Republican budget, why aren't they willing to have it debated on the Floor? Why must they have it passed through a stealth action which gives no one the opportunity to debate it on the Floor of the House. Which means no one in America gets to debate it. Because when you're the four hundred and thirty five representatives elected by the three hundred and seven million represented Americans in this country cant debate a bill, something is wrong. And I hope the question being asked of our Republicans colleagues is, if they're so proud of their budget and if Mitt Romney has adopted their budget, why aren't they willing to debate it so people can understand what it means?

Rep. Larson: Thank you.