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Pathway to Job Creation Through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEVIN. Yesterday, Republicans voted to make tax cuts for millionaires their priority over giving 114 million middle class Americans certainty.

Today, they are doubling down on that agenda. The so-called principles laid out in this bill would rig tax reform to shift the burden of taxes further onto the middle class and ship jobs overseas.

The Joint Economic Committee analysis--it's described here--found that the average millionaire would get another $331,000 in tax cuts, while middle class families making less than $200,000 would see their taxes go up by an average of $4,500. For millionaires, a tax break of $331,000; for middle class families, a tax increase of more at $4,500. That's the Joint Economic Committee's analysis.

Why? Because the only way to finance these massive tax cuts for the highest earners is to eliminate or significantly curtail provisions that support the middle class. These are not loopholes. These are policies that in many cases help made the middle class of this country. Seventy percent of the benefit of the mortgage interest deduction, for example, goes to those who make less than $200,000. And 82 percent of the benefit of the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance goes to those making less than $200,000. And likewise, the provisions relating, for example, to education.

Republicans like to say they will eliminate loopholes--and we just heard that language--and special interest provisions to pay for lower rates. But the provisions I mentioned are not loopholes. They are the policies that helped to build the middle class of America. They are basically middle class provisions, and now they are on the chopping block under this Republican plan. One way, among other ways to describe it, H.R. 6169 is Grover Norquist on steroids.

We need tax reform, but not as a tactic to sock it to the middle class and help the very wealthy. Yet that is exactly what Republicans in Congress want to do.

We recently received an analysis of the plan of Governor Romney. It's also a plan highly offensive to the middle class. A report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center yesterday made no bones about what it would do to the middle class. They wrote that it is not mathematically possible to write a plan like the one drafted by Governor Romney ``that does not result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers.''

The House Republican plan to lower the corporate rate to 25 percent would require eliminating every provision that encourages American manufacturing--the R&D credit, accelerated depreciation, and the manufacturing deduction. Every one of those.

And, the Joint Committee on Taxation has found that even if you eliminated everything, you could only lower the rate to 28 percent on a revenue-neutral basis.

We need tax reform--indeed, we do--but not a tax rewrite that discourages companies from making it in America and that would move us to a territorial system that taxes no businesses' offshore income and helps to ship jobs overseas.

Well, surely a plan this radical--and that's really what it is, a radical Republican proposal--should be subject to the full scrutiny of regular order and full debate. But not under this bill. Under this bill, the pathway Republicans are setting up is really a railroad to shift the tax burden onto the middle class and ship jobs overseas.

It creates a tax czar, and I'm opposed to any of us being a tax czar, Republican or Democrat, Mr. Camp, myself, or anybody else. It would be a tax czar who creates the plan and then certifies their plan, that it achieves their goals. It would allow him or her to add any other proposal to this high-speed train through Congress. Social Security privatization, that could become part, not of this fast track, but this railroad. Repeal of health reform, or anything else.

We should reject that path and adopt the Slaughter substitute, which would articulate principles for tax reform that would strengthen the middle class, create jobs in the U.S., and reduce the deficit.

You know, we continue to hear about small businesses. 97 percent would receive the full tax benefit under what was rejected yesterday and that we put forth. And in terms of this report about 700,000 jobs, every fact checker has said it's essentially bogus. And I think that's how bankrupt the majority is.

Coming forth, I'd like them to answer the Joint Economic analysis.

I'd like them to answer the study that came out from three people about Governor Romney's proposal. One of the Romney spokespersons said: It's a liberal think tank that analyzed it that way. Oh, no; two of the three authors served in Republican administrations. It's not a partisan analysis, it's a bipartisan analysis, and it shows essentially what's being proposed here, and what Governor Romney is proposing, is, sock it to middle class America in order to help the very, very wealthiest. That isn't the America that we want.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. LEVIN. I yield myself 30 seconds.

The gentleman from Texas talks about loopholes. Is the mortgage interest deduction a loophole? Is the charitable contribution deduction a loophole? State and local taxes a loophole? Municipal bonds a loophole? The health care provision a loophole? You keep using that word, I think, demagogically.

I now yield 4 minutes to another distinguished member of our committee, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. McDermott).


Mr. LEVIN. I yield myself 15 seconds.

The Republican bill indeed picks winners and losers. The winners are the very wealthy, and the losers are the middle class Americans of this country.

I now, with pleasure, yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank).


Mr. LEVIN. I yield myself 30 seconds.

The majority leader continues to use a tool of propaganda, grabbing small business as his mantra. I want to repeat a fact given to us by Joint Tax: under our bill, 97 percent of small businesses would keep all of their tax cuts--97 percent.

I now yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Doggett), a member of our committee.


Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I can be very brief, in part, because so many of us have come forth on the Democratic side with real conviction, with real passion, and not basically reading from prepared speeches that simply go over and over the same themes, but really talking about what's at stake for this country and why this proposal is worse than flawed; it's flagrant.

I bring back that chart. No one has refuted it. It's based on the work of the Joint Economic Committee.

Essentially, what this bill would do is to say to America, if you're very wealthy, you get a $331,000 tax cut. But for the typical family, it's a $4,500 tax increase. And so tax cuts for the very wealthy is, essentially, this Republican plan.

Tax increases for the middle class, more and more deficits, jobs overseas instead of making it in America, this is the Republican plan and, essentially, it's Governor Romney's plan. It's, as I said, worse than misguided. It would be a terrible mistake for this House to adopt it, and even a worse mistake for the American people to embrace it.

I don't have confidence in the House Republicans. I have confidence that the American people will say ``no.'' Vote ``no'' here today.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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