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Public Statements

Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor today, as I do week after week, ever since the President's health care law has been passed, to offer a doctor's second opinion about this health care law, which I believe is bad for patients, bad for providers--the nurses and doctors who take care of those patients--and terrible for taxpayers.

We saw the Supreme Court issue its historic decision on the President's health care law. The Court confirmed that the individual mandate in the President's health care law is a tax. The President said it was not a tax. I will just say the Supreme Court confirmed that it is in fact a tax. The decision makes it clear that the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS, will now play an unprecedented role in America's health care system.

That is not something American citizens have asked for or want, but it is something many American citizens fear. Recently, the Associated Press highlighted this concern in an article titled, ``Tax Man Cometh to Police You on Health Care.''

``Tax Man Cometh to Police You on Health Care.''

The article points out that the health care law contains the largest set of tax changes in more than 20 years. To be specific, according to the Congressional Budget Office, there are at least 18 separate taxes contained in the health care law. These taxes are expected to cost taxpayers more than $500 billion over the next 10 years.

The Associated Press points out that the IRS is expected to spend over $880 million just to implement the law from 2010 to 2013, and to do this they are going to hire more than 2,700 new government workers. This could be just the tip of the iceberg. According to a report issued by the House Ways and Means Committee, the Internal Revenue Service may need as many as 16,500 additional bureaucrats to enforce the President's health care law--now the President's health care tax.

One of these taxes the agents are going to be enforcing is something called the individual mandate. This is the part of the law that forces every American to have health insurance. If they do not have it, the law forces them to purchase health insurance--and not just any health insurance. No, no, not at all. They need to purchase government-approved health insurance. This is not necessarily something this family thinks is right for them and their needs and their insurance and their family. No, that is not good enough. They have to purchase government-approved insurance, and the IRS is going to check on them to make sure they do.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 77 percent of those forced to pay the tax will be people making less than $120,000 a year. President Obama repeatedly promised he would not raise taxes on the middle class. Specifically, he promised that no family making less than $250,000 a year would see any form of tax increase.

Let me just quote. The President of the United States said:

I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase .....

The President went on to say ``not your income tax.'' He said ``not your payroll tax.'' He said ``not your capital gains tax.'' He finished it by saying ``not any of your taxes.''

But when the President's lawyers went before the Supreme Court, they did just the opposite. They argued that this mandate was indeed a tax. The Solicitor General even stated that the Court had an obligation to construe the mandate as a tax. He said it could be upheld on that basis.

As it turns out, a majority of the Supreme Court agreed that the mandate was constitutional, but only because it is a tax. In short, the Supreme Court confirmed that the President has broken his promise to middle-class families; and it is the promise that he made to not raise taxes. In fact, the President's individual mandate tax will produce more tax revenue for the government than the so-called Buffett rule that this administration has been supporting.

While supporters of the health care law may support using the IRS to scare people into getting health insurance, most Americans do not think this is the right policy for our country. Back when Congress was debating this health care law, the American people were looking for reform, health care reform that would actually lower the cost of care, not raise their taxes. They wanted a law that helped train more doctors and more nurses to take care of them, not more tax collectors to look into their life and their records. The last thing they want is the IRS breathing down their necks and banging down their doors. But that is what the American people have gotten through the President's health care law, and that is what they are stuck with unless Congress and the White House repeal and replace this flawed and failed law.

As a physician with 25 years of experience taking care of families all around Wyoming, I believe there is a better way. We can implement commonsense reforms in a step-by-step way that allows people to purchase insurance across State lines, reform medical liability laws, and strengthen State high-risk pools. These simple changes will help lower the cost of care without forcing millions of Americans to live in the fear of the Internal Revenue Service.

That is why I am going to continue to come to the Senate floor and call on Congress to repeal the President's health care law. It is time for Americans to get what they were looking for in the beginning but do not get as a result of the President's health care law. What they are looking for is the care they need from the doctor that they choose at a lower cost.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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