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Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, here we are again. Over the last few weeks, the Ways and Means Committee has been bringing bill after bill to the House floor to make permanent changes to the Tax Code, but in a lot of the policy behind it, there is very little dispute and debate. It is the fact that they are bringing these bills to the floor without any pay-fors, without any offsets, and instead they are leaving this legacy of debt for future generations to have to contend with, or they increase our borrowing costs with China at a time when most of the discussion about this place has been about fiscal responsibility. It certainly must be an election year, because any limit to fiscal responsibility is out the door.

Here again today, we have got five bills that would make five permanent changes to the Tax Code, none of which is offset. One would extend the charitable deduction for firms that donate food from their inventories.

One would permanently extend the charitable deduction for donations of qualified conservation easements, a bill I have been particularly working hard to find a permanent fix in the Tax Code, having seen the good work that our land trusts in the Mississippi Valley Conservancy back home have been doing with those tax incentives in the Code.

Another bill would extend the tax-free exclusion from income of charitable contributions from the individual retirement accounts, the so-called IRA rollover charitable contribution, something that the chairman of the committee himself actually eliminated in his comprehensive tax reform discussion draft that was introduced earlier this year.

The Joint Committee on Taxation says you add all these five bills up, it is at a cost of over $16 billion. And again, not a nickel in it. There is no offset to pay for any of this.

At a time when long-term unemployment benefits have expired in the early part of this year, the cost of this bill here today alone would cover 35 times the cost of those emergency unemployment benefits for the duration of this year--35 times.

We are doing nothing to permanently change the so-called SGR, or the doc fix. We have sequestration hanging over our heads that is about to do more damage to our military and to the Federal budget, and no work is being done on that front.

Last week, we passed legislation, scratching and clawing, trying to find a little over $10 billion in offsets for a temporary extension of the infrastructure investment we have to be making in this country to keep the highway trust fund funded, and yet here we are with another five bills that will cost us $16 billion. Apparently, some in this place don't even blink about spending that type of money. That is where we have got a problem--philosophically, I am afraid--as far as our approach to this.

There are better ways of doing this. I think one of the ways that could help jump-start this economy is working hard, making tough decisions, and moving forward on comprehensive tax reform to make our Code more competitive globally. And now we have got an emergency situation of more companies here in the United States trying to find some small entity overseas where they are foreign shopping for a low-tax jurisdiction to avoid taxation here in the United States, and this place is doing nothing about that.

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Mr. KIND. I would submit that between these five bills, the nine bills that have already come out of committee at a total cost of close to $900 billion, if we move forward down that track, there is no way, no ability for us to come back and address comprehensive tax reform in a fiscally responsible manner.

I, again, commend the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Camp, for the courage he has demonstrated by offering that discussion draft, but in doing so, he had to make some tough decisions on what expenditures, what loopholes we would have to go without in order to pay for a lowering of rates.

If we give the store away today and with the previous bills that were passed and what might be coming up tomorrow, there will be no ability for us to be able to seriously work on the comprehensive tax reform that our country desperately needs in order to put us in a more competitive position in this 21st century global economy.

I encourage my colleagues to vote ``no.''

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