A Troubling Lack of Straightforwardness' on the National Energy Tax
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Monday regarding the budget:
"Americans have serious concerns about this budget and the massive amount of spending, taxing, and borrowing that it calls for in the middle of a recession. And they are also increasingly concerned that Democrat leaders in Washington seem to be less and less straightforward about what they're doing these days on Capitol Hill.
"Americans were upset to learn that a provision was quietly dropped from the Stimulus bill that would have kept taxpayer dollars from going to executives at failed financial firms. But they were equally upset at how those bonuses came about the language blocking them was quietly stripped from the bill in a closed conference room somewhere in the Capitol, without anybody looking.
"A few days after that, openness took another holiday on Capitol Hill when Democrat leaders announced new budget gimmicks that had the effect of concealing the true long-term cost of the Administration's $3.6 trillion budget.
"And now the questions about diminishing transparency relate to the budget itself a budget that almost makes the trillion dollar Stimulus bill look fiscally responsible by comparison.
"Everyone knows that the national debt is already too high, and that this budget would cause that debt to balloon even more, doubling it in five years and tripling it in 10.
"Yet even with all that borrowing, the administration still won't have enough money to pay for the massive expansion of government outlined in its budget. In order to cover the cost, they propose two things: a tax on income that hits small businesses hard, and a new national energy tax that would hit every American household and business.
"But the Democrat budget writers had a problem: This new energy tax is deeply unpopular, and it's a serious job killer.
"According to some estimates, this tax could cost every American household up to $3,100 a year just for doing the same things people have always done, like turning on the lights and doing laundry. It's also a tax on all economic activity, from factory floors to front offices. This tax won't just hit American households. It will cost us jobs.
"Another problem was that virtually all Republicans and a lot of Democrats agree with most Americans that this new national energy tax is a terrible idea, that we can't afford it. And yet without this tax, there's just no other way for Democrat leaders to pay for all of the new government programs that the administration wants.
"The solution to the problem was this: Democrat budget writers decided to use a rule that allows them to fast-track legislation down the road, including potentially the new energy tax, without any input from Democrats and Republicans who either have serious concerns about this tax or who oppose it altogether.
"The Chairman of the budget Committee argues that his version of the budget Resolution doesn't allow this avenue for fast-tracking legislation on an energy tax, and that may be so. But we also know two things: first, that the language House budget writers have used in their budget Resolution leaves the door wide open to include the energy tax, and that Democrats need this tax as a slush fund to pay for all the new programs this budget creates.
"Some still argue that this fast-track process won't be used for the energy tax. They must not be paying attention to the Administration's budget Director, who says fast-tracking the energy tax isn't off the table. And they must not have been paying attention to the Majority Leader, who, to his credit, has been quite candid about the fact that the amount of money the administration needs for its healthcare proposals is almost exactly what the administration says it can raise from a national energy tax.
"Americans don't need another $3,100 added onto their tax bill. But just as worrisome is the method that's being used to ram this tax through Congress: lay the groundwork, keep it quiet, then rush it through with as little transparency and as little debate as possible. If there's anything we have learned over the last few weeks, it's that the American people want more people watching the store, not less.
"If the bonuses taught us anything at all, it's that Americans think we should take more time, not less, when considering how to spend their money. If Democrat leaders intend to pay for all the Administration's programs with a new energy tax, they should say so now, bring it to the full Senate, and let the people decide. Anything less on a policy shift of this magnitude betrays a troubling lack of straightforwardness about Democrats' plans for imposing a massive new tax on the American people and American businesses."