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Public Statements

Making Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I come to the floor this afternoon to talk about the upside-down values and blatant dishonesty that Congressman Paul Ryan and other Republicans have put down on paper and are trying to present to the American people as their responsible budget. The truth is it is anything but. The Ryan budget would be devastating for middle-class families. It would gut our investments in education and job training, research, and our Nation's future. It would do all of that while cutting taxes for the richest Americans and biggest corporations.

Now, if that is not bad enough, it gets even worse. The Ryan Republican budget would permanently cut tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to the lowest level in more than 80 years--more than 80 years. It would cut taxes for the rich below the scheduled top rate of 39.6 percent, below the Bush tax cut rate of 35 percent, all the way down to just 25 percent if you are a millionaire or billionaire. But even that is not all.

What Paul Ryan and the Republicans do not want people to know is their budget does not even add up. It is fiscal fraud. It is a bait-and-switch. It is a desperate attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people. Ryan and the Republicans claim they would pay for their massive tax cuts for the rich by ``closing loopholes and ending deductions.'' But they never say which loopholes they would close or which deductions they would eliminate.

In fact, they have been pressed over and over to lay out their plan by the media, by the public, by Democrats. And they refuse. It is just a big secret. This past weekend, both Governor Romney and Representative Ryan were asked again and again to offer even one deduction they would limit. Pick one. Any one. They were asked that so the American people could judge their plan. Both refused. It begs the simple question: What are they hiding?

Well, a former Reagan adviser, Bruce Bartlett, slammed Ryan's budget in the Fiscal Times writing: ``He offers only the sugar of rate reductions without telling us what the medicine of base broadening will be. ..... ''

He says:

Any tax reform plan that simply asserts it will collect a certain percentage of GDP in revenue while specifying the rate structure but not defining the tax base is fundamentally dishonest, in my opinion.

Well, I agree. Why is this? Why are Ryan and the Republicans so specific about the taxes they are going to cut for the rich and so vague about how that is going to be paid for? Well, Ryan and the Republicans know when we do the math it becomes very clear that under their Republican budget the rich pay less and the middle class pay more and the national debt continues to grow. The math does not add up.

Here is why, here is what the Republicans do not want the American people to think about: The most expensive loopholes and deductions, the ones Republicans would need to eliminate to even start paying for these cuts for the rich, those are the ones that middle-class families depend on and the ones they benefit from the most, such as the personal and dependent exemptions, deductions for their home mortgages, charitable contributions, State and local taxes, child tax credit, college tuition credit.

If these deductions are eliminated while tax rates are slashed for the rich, it would mean a massive transfer of the tax burden onto the backs of our middle class. The richest Americans get a massive tax cut--an average of over $250,000 a year for someone who makes $1 million a year, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center--but the middle class, those families who depend on those critical deductions such as the home mortgage deduction, end up paying more. They would benefit far less from the marginal rate cut than the extra they would pay after losing those deductions.

If that sounds unbelievable, that is because it is. If that sounds like something no elected official would ever want to talk about doing, well, that is exactly right. So what Ryan and the Republicans do when they are asked is simply deny it. They simply say: Oh, that is not the case. They claim that loopholes and deductions will only be eliminated for the rich, and the middle class does not have to worry about anything.

Well, that sounds nice, but here is what they will not tell the American
people: It does not add up. The Tax Policy Center took a look at a plan that made a similar claim. Even viewing it in the most generous way, they could not get it to work. They said:

Even when we assume that tax breaks--like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance--are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality--the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households.

That last point is very important. According to independent analysts, if you cut rates for the rich as much as the Republicans want, and pay for it by closing loopholes and ending deductions, there is no way to avoid having the middle class pay more. That is a fiscal reality. It lays bare the fraud in the Ryan Republican budget.

Not only does the Ryan Republican budget decimate programs middle-class families depend on, not only does it end Medicare as we know it and push health care costs onto the backs of our seniors, not only does it cut investment in jobs, in education, in training, in research, in innovation, in roads and bridges, it does not even add up. It is a fiscal fraud.

I am hoping, now that the American people have the opportunity to see this clearly, Republicans will stop playing games. Let us get serious about the fiscal future of our country and work with us on a balanced approach to cut spending responsibly, call on the wealthy to pay their fair share and actually reduce the deficit and the debt. As soon as they are ready to do that, as soon as they are ready to accept reality and end this fiscal fraud, I know Democrats are ready to make the kind of balanced and bipartisan deal the American people expect and deserve.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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