Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), senior Senate Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, today offered a number of amendments to the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014 that would help grow the economy and protect American jobs:
"After refusing to offer a budget for the last four years, Senate Democrats now present a completely irresponsible plan that grows the government, not the economy and hits hardworking Americans with a massive $1.5 trillion tax increase," said Coats. "We cannot keep repeating the same failed tax and spend policies of the last four years. I am offering several amendments to highlight the need to focus on jobs and economic growth, rather than the expansion of government."
The amendments Coats offered to the Senate Budget Resolution include:
Point of order on increases to mandatory spending:
This amendment would establish a budget point of order against any legislation that increases the net level of mandatory spending at a time when the gross federal debt exceeds 100 percent of the economy.
Mandatory spending is projected to nearly double from 10.3 percent of the economy in 2010 to 19 percent in 2050. According to the president's own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction committee, "By 2025, revenue will be able to finance only interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Every other federal government activity--from national defense and homeland security to transportation and energy--will have to be paid for with borrowed money."
Coats said, "This amendment would force Congress to think before it acts on legislation that increases mandatory spending."
The current debt-per-citizen is over $50,000. This provision requires the Congressional Budget Office to report annually an estimate of the cost-per-taxpayer of the deficit for any year the president's budget is projected to be in deficit. Congressman Luke Messer (R-Ind.) introduced and passed similar legislation in the House of Representatives. Senators Coats introduced similar legislation in the Senate last week as a stand-alone bill.
Call to repeal 3.8 percent tax on investment income:
This amendment would call for the repeal of the 3.8 percent tax on investment income included in President Obama's health care law. This new tax, which took effect in January, is one of the most economically damaging tax increases in Obamacare because it will increase the cost of capital and reduce growth, including investments, which is something we can ill afford in a weak economy.
Commitment to comprehensive tax reform:
This amendment calls for Congress to commit to creating comprehensive, revenue neutral tax reform legislation that will grow the economy. It has been more than 25 years since the last major reform of the tax code. Coats has made comprehensive tax reform one of his top priorities in public office.
Utility MATS compliance:
Coats also is offering a bipartisan amendment with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) that addresses an Environmental Protection Agency rule known as the Mercury and Air Toxins Standard or MATS rule. A presidential exemption already exists in the Clean Air Act if technology is not available and a unit is critical to the grid. This bipartisan amendment would clarify that this exemption exists for plants unable to complete the necessary measures to comply with MATS by 2016 to ensure the reliability of the electric grid, prevent utility rate hikes and protect American jobs.
Call to repeal medical device tax:
Along with the amendments Coats is offering to the Senate Budget Resolution, he also is cosponsoring a bipartisan provision introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that would call for the repeal of the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers included in the president's health care law. Coats has been fighting to repeal this harmful tax since taking office in 2011 and again supported legislation this year to overturn the tax.
The tax on medical devices took effect in January and is expected to cost device manufacturers roughly $194 million per month, putting 43,000 American jobs at risk, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).
Indiana is one of the world leaders in the development of medical technologies that enhance and save the lives of Hoosiers and patients around the world. The state is home to more than 300 FDA-registered medical device manufacturers, employing 20,000 Hoosiers directly and another 28,000 indirectly.
The Senate Budget Resolution currently is under consideration by the full Senate. Votes on amendments have not yet been set.