CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 24, 2004)
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Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Lewis) for yielding me time.
Do not take my word for it. Listen to some of the most distinguished advocacy groups in this country, one, the veterans groups, DAV, VFW, American Legion. They have said that "The Republican budget is a disservice to those men and women who have served this country and who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world in our fight against terrorism."
We are proud to have the help of these distinguished veterans groups in this battle. We are also proud to have the help of the AARP that says that the Republican budget is unfair, flawed and should be rejected by the House.
Now, some people watching this debate may think that, well, the Democrats have outspent the Republicans again. Some people may be cynical and say that they may or may not benefit from some of the spending programs involved. They might not be veterans or seniors or some of the other groups that we clearly have a better budget for. But everyone feels they pay taxes. And some people feel, well, there the Democrats go, they are taxing us again.
Look at the facts of this budget. Democrats and all Americans should be proud of our tax relief in this bill because we have exactly the same tax relief for the middle class and our budget as our friends on the other side of the aisle do. And we are proud of that. That is a good thing. So average Americans, 99.5 percent of the population, that is the same tax situation. They do not need to worry that the Democrats secretly have a plan to tax them.
Now, there is a small group, a very small group of people, who make annually over $500,000 a year in income. So if you report gross income on your tax return every year of over $500,000, we do not take away your tax relief. We take away about half of it. The folks I know, and I used to be in this category for a while, make over $500,000 a year, they are still patriotic Americans.
They know we are still at war. They are happy to make their contribution, and only accepting part of the tax relief they are being offered, I think is something most folks in that elite income category would be delighted to do. These are good people. It is the American dream for all of us to make that much money.
So for 99.5 percent of the American people it is the same tax relief as in the Republican bill. But in the that top, top category, folks who make over $500,000 a year, we would reduce their tax relief a little bit. Is that too much to ask?
So I would ask the Members who are tuning in to this debate, think who would you prefer helping, our veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, our senior citizens, or are you so anxious to give 100 percent tax relief to the folks who make over $500,000 a year in income?
How many Americans have ever reported $500,000 a year in income? I am not talking capital gains here. I am talking in income on their tax return.
That is an amazing situation, and we can fund this budget with that tax provision.