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Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act. In doing so, I and my fellow Republican House colleagues have made an important choice--the choice to focus on job creation. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who oppose this important piece of legislation have made a different choice--the choice to focus on tax hikes that destroy jobs.

The Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act stops the tax hike we face at the end of the year and provides a 1-year extension of the low tax policies originally enacted in 2001 and 2003 and then extended again in 2010. The 2010 bill was supported by 85 current House Democrats, 40 current Senate Democrats, and President Obama.

Importantly, this legislation allows Congress time to pass and enact comprehensive tax reform without causing undue harm to our fragile economy. Economists have noted that comprehensive tax reform, when paired with appropriate government spending cuts, could lead to the creation of 1 million American jobs in the first year alone.

The choice Republicans have made is to pass this bill, work toward comprehensive tax reform, and create jobs. In contrast, my Democrat colleagues have proposed raising taxes. They claim the tax hike will only affect the rich. What they don't want to tell you is that, in reality, this tax hike will hit nearly 1 million small businesses and 53 percent of small business income. A study conducted by Ernst & Young concluded that the Democrat tax hike could lead to the loss of over 700,000 jobs. That is the choice the Democrats have made--to raise taxes on families and small businesses and to destroy jobs.

As this chart illustrates, America is at a crossroads. The question is: Which path will our country take? The Democrats' path includes tax hikes that will cause small businesses to lose 700,000 jobs. The Republicans' tax reform path will make the Tax Code simpler and fairer, and it will lead to the creation of more than 1 million jobs in the first year.

What is even worse is that, in their quest to raise taxes on the so-called ``wealthy,'' several of my Democrat colleagues have made it clear that they are willing to hold low- and middle-income Americans hostage by threatening to let all income tax rates rise as scheduled at the end of the year if they don't get their way. These massive and imminent tax hikes are part of the fiscal cliff, or ``jobs cliff'' as I often refer to it, that we face at the end of this year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that going over the fiscal cliff could cost America 2 million to 3 million jobs. This would be a devastating blow to almost 13 million Americans who are unemployed, as well as to middle class Americans who have been struggling in the Obama economy.

Mr. Speaker, the choice, to me, is obvious. Let's pass this bill. Let's work toward comprehensive tax reform that creates a simpler, fairer Tax Code for all Americans and, most importantly, that creates the jobs that we so badly need.

I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to reconsider their choice to increase taxes and destroy over 700,000 jobs. Now is not the time to dig the hole we are in any deeper. Instead, Democrats should take the advice of people like President Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to President Obama, Larry Summers, and join Republicans to stop the tax hike, work to strengthen our economy, and get our country back on track.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CAMP. I yield myself 15 seconds.

I would just say that the gentleman's remarks refer to the stimulus bill, a failed stimulus bill that was promised to create unemployment of under 8 percent. Frankly, it's never been there. For 40 months, we've been over 8 percent. These are spending items that were failed, that failed in the stimulus program. That program did not work.

At this time, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished member of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Louisiana, Dr. Boustany.

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Mr. CAMP. At this time I yield myself 15 seconds.

We have a note here from Stan's Two from Rowland Heights, California, a small business. They were asked: How would increased taxes impact your business? ``Less hiring, more struggle to pay for expenses and payroll.'' If rates were allowed to increase, would that affect your ability to hire new employees? ``Absolutely. We've done nothing except cut staff for 4 years now. A tax increase could spell disaster.''

At this time I yield 3 minutes to a distinguished member of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Reichert).

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Mr. CAMP. I yield myself 15 seconds.

I would just say that my friend's proposals just aren't bold enough. The economy isn't growing. Unemployment is still above 8 percent for 40 consecutive months.

We need to get on a plan for comprehensive reform, not just raising taxes on a segment, not just pitting one group of Americans against another. But let's get a comprehensive reform so we can get certainty, we can get job growth, we can get economic prosperity and get Americans back to work.

I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New York (Mr. Reed), a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

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Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I would just say this isn't just about taxes. I would agree with my friend from Maryland, Republicans do not want to raise taxes on small businesses, job creators, or investors because it's also about the economy.

This has been a dismal recovery, the worst since the Great Depression; and unemployment has been above 8 percent for 40 consecutive months. Their answer is to raise taxes on the small business sector, the area where we need to have those jobs to begin to be created. What we're saying is let's keep the law the same for 1 year. We're the only Nation in the world that has all of these tax provisions expiring year in and year out. Let's leave this the same for 1 year, then let's move and adopt comprehensive tax reform in an expedited procedure to do that so we can finish that next year.

If we go down their path of raising taxes on small businesses, 700,000 jobs will be lost. If we go down our path of extending current law for a year, bringing certainty, extending that law for a year, moving forward on comprehensive reform, addressing some spending problems we know this Nation has had, 3 years of trillion-dollar deficits, if we do that, we create a million jobs.

Vote for H.R. 8.

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Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me just say that this substitute increases taxes, and it increases taxes on small businesses, the very sector that we need to be growing to bring us out of this recession. It does not include tax reform. There's no path to tax reform. Our Tax Code has had 5,000 changes in the last decade. The complexity is making it difficult for Americans to know what their responsibilities are. They suspect others get a better deal under the Tax Code because of the complexity. If we can take that away and move to a system that has a lower rate, revenue neutral, that closes off some of these 5,000 changes that have been made in the last few years, we can create a million jobs in the first year alone.

One of the things that led us into this recession is the housing crisis. Here we have a letter from the National Association of Home Builders saying that housing can be a key engine of job growth that this country needs. However, the recovery we're seeing remains fragile. As the rest of the economy is experiencing softening conditions, now would be the worst time to raise taxes.

The National Association of Home Builders believes that lower rates, simplification, and a fair system will spur economic growth and increase competitiveness. That's good for housing, because housing not only equals jobs, but jobs mean more demand for housing. This is just one area that if we raise taxes, as this substitute attempts to do, we're going to really close off what little recovery we've been seeing, and obviously it's been very anemic. Economic growth is just over 1 percent.

We need to be the best country in the world. We need to have the strongest country in the world. We need to have the best Tax Code in the world. Raising taxes on one segment, one group of Americans against another is not the way to get America's greatness back.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CAMP. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I don't have to refute what the Member from New York said because the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation has already done that. They've said the matters the gentleman is talking about are not tax increases. Those are spending through the Tax Code. That spending was put into the stimulus bill. We know how unsuccessful that was in lowering our unemployment rate below 8 percent, as was promised.

So at this time, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New York (Mr. Reed).

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Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, as I travel around Michigan and my district, the Fourth Congressional District of Michigan, I often hear from many families that they think America is at a crossroads. They really question is the American Dream, is that dream that their children and grandchildren are going to have the opportunities that they had, is that dream still alive for their kids and their grandkids? The reason they ask that is because we've been on the economic path that the majority has established for the last 3 years, and we've seen the slowest recovery from any recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment is still too high. I think maybe being from Michigan, I'm particularly sensitive to that because we've had tough times for more than a decade. We need to get people back to work. We need to get jobs growing in this country.

There's really a choice: Which path are we going to be on? Which road are we going to take? Which lane are we going to be in? Are we going to be in the lane where we just simply raise taxes? No matter what segment it is, I don't care, just name the segment, but one that we know will cost us 700,000 jobs?

Or will we go down a path where we extend current law for 1 year, as many bipartisan experts have called for. Even President Bill Clinton has called for it. The President's former economic adviser, Larry Summers, has said let's extend current law for a year. Let's take the uncertainty out. And in the 20 hearings we've had on tax reform this year in the Ways and Means Committee, so many employers, so many tax experts, so many independent groups have come forward and said the uncertainty of all of this expiring tax policy is causing a huge problem.

And my friends would say, well, if only we'd raise taxes on people and small businesses and others who make $250,000, that'll solve our problems. Well, it won't. It's just a piece of it. The Tax Code is so complex, with 5,000 changes over the last decade. I often say it's 10 times larger than the Bible, with none of the good news.

The burden that this Tax Code is placing on our economy, it's a huge wet blanket. Our GDP growth is just barely over 1 percent, the gross domestic product. Our economy is not growing enough; and if we don't grow our economy, we can't create the jobs that we need so desperately.

Let's work together. Let's pass this 1-year extension. Tomorrow, we have a package that will lay out our principles for comprehensive tax reform that will also lay out a process to expedite this next year in the House and Senate. We've been working with the Senate to establish these procedures. They will go through regular committee in an open and transparent way, not just roll a bill out on the floor and say, oh, if we only ding that one segment, things will be okay. Let's do this the right way.

This is the greatest country in the world. Let's make this the greatest economic power in the world. Let's reform our Tax Code for the first time in 26 years. Let's make it a pro-growth, modern code that lets our U.S. companies compete around the world, lowers its rates and makes it simpler for people to file their taxes, lessens that burden, lessens that uncertainty and creates 1 million jobs in the first year alone.

It's very clear which path we need to choose. Reject this substitute. Support H.R. 8. Get on the right path. Get on the path to job creation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. CAMP. It's clear that my friends on the other side are committed to raising taxes at any cost. Does anyone believe that they're going to use that to reduce the deficit? We'll just see more wasteful Washington spending. This isn't a solution. America is at a crossroad. We've had 40 months of 8 percent unemployment. What do we get from them? Not a solution. We get a political ploy.

I appreciate my friend from Oregon touting the benefits of the Clinton administration when we had a Republican Congress. Let me just say I've welcomed the advice of former President Bill Clinton. He said extend all of the current tax rates. Let me just say that this would gut tax reform.

Say ``yes'' to tax reform. Say ``no'' to raising taxes. Say ``no'' to this motion to recommit.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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