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Public Statements

GOP Freshmen Special Order

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WEST. Thank you very much to my colleague, Mr. Reed, for allowing me to be here and spend some time to talk about one of the reasons why I did not want to continue on supporting what has to be the ``Patient Protection Unaffordable Tax Act.''

When you think about down in south Florida, where I am from, a lot of people play golf. I've never swung a golf club in my life. But I do appreciate this term that they use called a mulligan. And a mulligan means you get to do it over. And I think that's what the American people want from us here in this distinguished body, Republicans and Democrats, a do-over. So that's what we tried to do today. And hopefully, Senator Reid will take our heed and he will go forth and allow the American people to see that mulligan take place.

But I sit on the Small Business Committee. When you think about the effects that this tax law--because that's really all that it is now that the solicitor general from the administration argued that it was a tax and Chief Justice Roberts did agree with him. So it's a tax. And so down South, if it quacks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, doggone it, it's a duck.

Roughly 940,000 small businesses will be hit by an incredibly big tax hike. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, the advocacy group for small businesses, 75 percent of small businesses are organized as pass-through entities, small businesses, subchapter S, LLCs, meaning that they pay their taxes on their business income at an individual rate. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this tax hike that is going to be hitting will affect 940,000 small businesses. Half of all small business income would face higher taxes.

According to Bloomberg News and an analysis by the JCT, it also shows that President Obama's plan for these massive tax hikes mean higher taxes on 53 percent of business income reported on individual returns. More than a quarter of American workers' jobs are at risk. According to U.S. Census data through the NFIB, small businesses employ more than 25 percent of the total workforce. So raising taxes on these small businesses threatens these jobs--and that's the last thing we need to do in this weak economy.

My colleague, Mr. Reed, just talked about this artificial employer mandate where if you go over 50 employees, then you get hit with these fines because you have to provide certain levels of health insurance and health coverage. Well, why would we put that type of artificial burden? What does that mean for a small business owner that is at 48 and 49? He's not going to seek to go any higher. Or, if he does go any higher, he's going to drop people off of his insurance coverage. Or, maybe even worse, he'll just get rid of that employee, which means another person that's added in.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey showed that 74 percent of small businesses contend that this law will make job creation at their companies even more difficult. The Supreme Court's health care ruling leaves in place 21 tax increases enacted as part of this law. A dozen of these are going to affect those people: less than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples--a clear violation of what the President talked about with his pledge to avoid taxes on lower- and middle-income taxpayers. This is the reason why I said we've got to have a mulligan.

An additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on wages and self-employment income and a new 3.8 percent tax on dividends, something very important for seniors down in south Florida. Capital gains. Why are we going after capital gains in a health care law? I don't know. I think it's a tax law. Why are we going to go after capital gains when we need to have investments so we can grow our economy--and other investment income for taxpayers.

``Cadillac tax'' on high-cost plans; annual tax on health insurance providers; annual tax on drug manufacturers and importers; a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers. And if I'm right, Mr. Reed, that's one of those pieces of legislation, that 31 or 32 sitting on Harry Reid's desk, so we can get rid of that medical device tax. Again, I just tell this guy we need to have a mulligan.

Raise a 7.5 percent AGI on medical expense deductions to 10; deny eligibility of ``black liquor'' for cellulosic biofuel producer credit. What does that have to do with health care?

Codify economic substance doctrine; increase penalty for non-qualified health savings account distributions; impose limitations on the use of health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, and Archer MSAs to purchase over-the-counter medicines; impose fee on insured and self-insured health plans and patient-centered outcomes research trust fund; eliminate the deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare part D subsidy; impose a 10 percent tax on tanning services.

I have got to tell you, down in south Florida, if it's kind of clouded over, a lot of people go into the indoor tanning booths. Now they've got to pay a tax for that.

What are we doing with the Tax Code, Mr. Reed? Are we now using the Tax Code as a means by which we're going to promote social policy? Are we using the Tax Code now as a means by which we're going to create behavior modification here in the United States of America? That's all this bill does.

Sixteen thousand new IRS agents. Why do we need 16,000 new IRS agents if this is supposed to be a health care law? It's because someone's got to collect all that money that this ``Patient Protection Unaffordable Tax Act'' is bringing upon the American people.

What do you really get with this? You get 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies. You get all of these different bureaucrats up here in Washington, D.C., that are going to interject themselves between the doctor-patient relationship.

Well, no one talked about this a lot, how in this health care law the Federal Government took over college education loans. It was the people from across the aisle who made the decision that we will take it from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. Once again, it became incumbent upon us to come in and try to clean up the mess that was made.

It is truly as the former Speaker said: we have to pass this bill in order to find out what is in it. And now that we're finding out what is in it, we just cannot stomach this. The ObamaCare tax is already holding back job growth in medical innovation, with venture capital investment and medical device firms down 50 percent in 2011 compared to any of the previous 5 years. The average American family already paid a premium increase of approximately $1,200 in the year following passage of this law. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that health insurance premiums for individuals buying private health coverage on their own will increase by $2,100 in 2016 compared to what the premiums would have been in 2016 if this law had not been passed.

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about the fact that we need to do something to reform the health care process here in the United States of America and make it more affordable. But to all of a sudden bring the Federal Government in--you know, it was about 30-some-odd years ago when there was a former Democrat President that said everyone has a right to own a home, and the Federal Government created this thing called the Community Reinvestment Act. And look how well that worked out 30 years later in 2008 when we had that financial meltdown tied to the mortgage industry.

So what is going to happen with this incredibly onerous invasion into the health care industry? I don't want to be around 30 years from now to see. And that's why my message to Harry Reid is very simple: The American people want a mulligan. Let's do it over and do it right.


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