Neal Delivers Floor Remarks During Debate on House Republican Tax Bill

November 16, 2017
Press Release

(As prepared for delivery)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to “H.R. 1 Percent.”  I believe this bill is a bad deal for millions of Americans, particularly those in the middle-class.  The legislation puts the wealthy and well-connected first, while forcing 36 million middle-class families to watch as their taxes go up.  That’s simply not what the American people asked us to do and it is not something that I can support.

In 2001, Republicans cut taxes by $1.3 trillion; in 2003, by $1 trillion; and in 2005, there was the repatriation tax holiday. Each time, they promised job growth. However, they took us to the casino each time without a win.  Why do we think we’ll have a different outcome here?

Maybe – but more likely maybe not. And yet the Republicans have based all of their growth projections on the premise of maybe.

The Republicans tell us that maybe we’ll have strong economic growth as a result of this legislation – they talk about 3, 4,  5 – even 6 percent growth – even though not one main stream economist is making a similar assertion.  They also tell us that maybe we’ll see increased investment, higher wage growth and more jobs.

But on the other hand, maybe there will be another recession.  maybe there will be an economic downturn.  And maybe interest rates will go up increasing borrowing costs.

We have a million new veterans who we need to care for and our military is committed around the world.  We also have thousands of Baby Boomers retiring every day who will begin receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Maybe is not enough.  We can’t afford another gamble.

Since my first day as Ranking Member of this committee, I have called on my colleagues to come together to work on real reform for real people.  I agree with my Republican colleagues that our tax system is too complicated, contains far too many loopholes and holds back American businesses competing in the global economy.

However, I do not agree that in enacting tax reform we should be giving even more benefits to the well-off and well-connected with the hopes that it might trickle down. There is not a single, respected economist in this country that will argue that tax cuts pay for themselves.  History has proven it just doesn’t work.

The legislation that we are acting on today lets the American people down at every step of their life-- from birth through retirement.  It fails to provide the needed improvements to the tax code that could assist the hopeful young family trying to keep their head above water; the student trying to do the right thing by getting an education; and the factory worker at the end of a long career just hoping to have enough left over to retire with dignity.

Democrats believe that instead of pulling down the ladder of opportunity for those in the middle-class, and the millions who aspire to it, we should be expanding it to make sure that everyone has a fair shot.

Republicans have produced a deeply flawed bill that will hurt the teacher who spends his own money to buy school supplies for their students; students trying to responsibly pay back their student loans; the wife trying to afford her husband’s Alzheimer’s care; and the janitor who wants to retire with dignity so he can spoil his grandchildren.

We can no longer accept status quo in Washington.  The American Family should not be forced to continue watching as the rich get richer and they fall further and further behind.  Our country cannot afford to only care about deficits and debt when Democrats are in the Oval office. We must break this cycle.  We should set this bill aside and start again, this time in a bipartisan manner, on a new approach to tax reform that provides real reform to real people and gets our economy moving again.

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is this bill is a bad deal for the American middle-class.  Therefore, I oppose this legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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