Neal Opening Statement at Markup of GOP Tax Scam 2.0
Washington, D.C., June 13, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We don't want to disappoint you this morning. We do intend to refer to the tax plan as a tax scam first. This is the most ill-considered piece of legislation that I've witnessed in years in front of this committee. Just 10 days after our Republican colleagues were prepared to bring the nation to the brink of default to the precipice, if not over the edge, they now come back with a tax cut.
Apparently, the debt only matters if it's about spending, never about tax cuts. So, let's do the history of this $10 trillion of tax cuts during the last 20 years: 2001, 2003, and 2017. The answer always seems to become a tax cut. The chaos that we witnessed on the floor 10 days ago apparently has not abated.
My colleagues spent the first half of this session bringing the economy to ruin with their unpopular cuts on the backs of those who would struggle. It was a manufactured crisis that left our constituents wondering if they'd see their next Social Security check or what would happen to their job or their retirement savings with inflation deaccelerating. Another grim reminder of what they did.
The genius of this dollar is that it's redeemed in any quarter of the globe. They were prepared to question this as the international standing currency for the world, and now their answer is to add to the debt just days after skilled legislating. Might I have suggested that they might have waited a couple of months, but there's something else that I want people to understand today.
We would be prepared to discuss some of the proposals here in a balanced, legislative, professional manner if the opportunity might avail itself for the purpose of discussing some of our priorities as well. Good legislators find common purpose in common ground.
When Republicans inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton, first answer, cut taxes in 2001, cut taxes in 2003, 2 wars, two tax cuts, borrowed money, and then the tax cut of 2017, 2.3 trillion dollars of borrowed money. As unpopular as it was, they're back at it again today. These tax cuts, no matter how they argue, disproportionately benefit those at the top and there are no signs of trickle-down economics. The old question that's in front of the committee is always the same. Do tax cuts pay for themselves? And let me quote Douglas Holtz-Eaken, a mainstream economist who says no serious economist would make that argument.
This is a masterclass in failed promises, lip service to small business and working families only for them to end up with pennies. Today's bill is no exception. The richest 1% will receive $16,550 in tax cuts next year. The poorest 20%, $40. They have the nerve to justify this tax cut as an assistance for families struggling with inflation. Believe me, it's no such thing.
The Inflation Reduction Act is wildly popular with the American people, including the Republican base. It is part of the answer to addressing global warming through the tax code, which would make a great deal of sense. Today they propose a repeal, so their proposal in front of us today is once again, tax cuts for people at the top, nothing for people at the bottom.
We should call this once again what it is as the Chairman alerted us to this morning. It's a Tax Scam, a suggestion. The Child [Tax] Credit and some negotiating here could have filed a path forward for all of us. But what are we coming to? We're coming to their proposal to cut the green energy tax credits. Joe Biden did a good job of negotiating the Inflation reduction Act, and he also did a superb job of pushing back on the irresponsibility of what happened on the house floor.
And by the way, as a longtime member and a New Englander, this would've been unheard of at one time by the Republican Party: that we would've gone to a threatened default. The Republican party that I grew up with across New England took positions about serious financial obligations. They thought that free markets and opportunity were everything, but never would they have jeopardized the full faith and credit of the United States, nor would they have ever come back with a proposal to cut taxes and add to the debt just 10 days later.
We're looking forward to this debate this morning. Mr. Chairman, we hope that this will give an opportunity to the American people to see what both sides have to offer and what both sides are prepared to embrace. And with that, I yield back the balance of my time.