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Public Statements

Buffett Rule Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Well, there's nothing wrong with this bill except the label. If there were a fine, I would say, for House legislative mislabeling, House Republicans would have a very large fine to pay. This bill has nothing--zero--to do with the Buffett rule. It has everything to do with the absolute refusal of Americans to face the basic issue. The present tax laws give an inordinate tax break to the very wealthy. The Buffett rule is provided and proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

In addition to reducing the deficit by $46 billion, it would address a significant inequity in the Code that allows a quarter of taxpayers earning more than a million a year to pay a lower tax rate than millions of middle class families. One of those taxpayers is the Republican Presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, who paid an effective tax rate lower than 15 percent in 2010 and refuses to let the American public see his tax returns for any earlier years.

Indeed, the so-called tax reform legislation from Republicans would do just the opposite: provide massive tax cuts for the very wealthy, doubling down on the Bush tax cuts that have added billions to the deficit and contributed to growing income inequality.

What's more, their idea of tax reform is to heap new taxes on the backs of middle- and lower-income families to pay for all of this. A recent report found that the so-called tax reform outlined in the Ryan budget would give those making over a million dollars a year an additional average tax cut of $331,000, while those making less than $200,000 would see a tax increase of $4,500.

Taxpayers can do exactly what is provided in this bill if they want to donate some of their taxes on the income they have to deficit reduction.

Republicans, who will recess in 2 days for 2 months with an incredible amount of unfinished business, not the least of which is the extension of the middle class tax cuts and the looming fiscal cliff, we need hard work, not chicanery.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. LEVIN. I yield myself the remaining time.

You know, as I've heard this debate, I've been thinking. This is really mislabeled. Why don't we call it the Mitt Romney Rule Act of 2012? He paid the return he indicated less than 15 percent. He earned many, many, many millions. He knew what the code now says. He could have sent some of the money that was not taxed to the government. He could even use a credit card. But he hasn't done that.

This is mislabeled. This has nothing to do with Mr. Buffett.

There's been some reference here to small business. The very nonpartisan entities indicate that 97 percent of people who are in small business and beyond have income actually around $250,000 or less.

All this bill does is to indicate what's already in the code. So, there's nothing wrong with the bill. What is wrong is this frightful mislabeling to try to cover up a refusal of the Republican Party in this institution to face up to what is really necessary to be done.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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