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Congressman Richard Neal

Representing the 1st District of Massachusetts

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Neal Delivers Floor Remarks Opposing House Republican Tax Bill

November 15, 2017
Press Release

(As prepared for delivery)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to “H.R. 1 Percent.”

The bill before us today 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 American 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.

Let me walk through some of the provisions in the bill that are bad for the middle class.

First, the bill scales back the tax benefit of buying a new home by lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction to $500,000, inevitably lowering home values.

HR 1 also repeals the new markets tax credit and historic tax credit, two programs that have had huge success in revitalizing struggling communities in all of our districts.

And the bill beats up on the municipal bond market by, for example, eliminating the ability to issue private activity bonds on a tax-exempt basis – an issue, I should note that I have championed for many years.

Private activity bonds also are a key for financing affordable housing.  And so I worry about the impact all of these changes will have on the housing market.

The Republicans’ bill also eliminates several deductions and exclusions that help students pay for their college education, including the deduction for interest on student loans.  This at a time when students have over $1 trillion in student loan debt – and they impose a new tax on universities and colleges.

They also repeal the above-the-line deduction for teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses.  In fact, the Republicans’ plan would directly cut over $65 billion in aid for students and teachers.

The Republicans also create a “health tax” or “Alzheimer’s tax” by repealing the medical expense deduction.  This change basically scraps a families’ ability to receive financial relief when dealing with a serious medical condition.  And of course, the Republicans’ bill also forces families to pay taxes twice on their income by eliminating their ability to write off their state and local taxes except for real property taxes up to $10,000.

Contrast all of this with the tax cuts for the wealthy.  For example, HR 1 repeals the estate after six, providing a large benefit to the Paris Hiltons of the world and not the Conrad Hiltons.  And the bill eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which today only impacts 4.5 million taxpayers.

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

I reserve the balance of my time.

Watch here.

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