(House of Representatives - March 30, 1995)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H4015-H4016]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Fox of Pennsylvania). Under a previous 
order of the House, the gentleman from Hawaii [Mr. Abercrombie] is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, several references have been made 
already during these special orders and several references were made 
during the day, Mr. Speaker, to the question of the conference on the 
health premium deduction for self-employed, and repealing the tax 
preference for minority broadcasters.
  Some of those who are observing our activities here today may wonder 
who they are put together, in fact some Members from the Republican 
Party asked us to provide information as to why we were bringing up the 
question of billionaires who leave the country in order not to pay 
taxes and renounce their citizenship, asked us to explain how that was 
relevant to a bill having to do with the deductibility of employers, 
the self-employed for their health benefits.
  The reason is very simple: You have to pay for it. In order to pay 
for it, you must pick and choose how you will offset the cost of the 
deduction. Everyone is in favor of the deduction; the question is how 
to pay for it.
  We had a choice. We had a choice between eliminating the possibility 
for minorities, including women, of expanding their capacity to be 
involved in the communications industries, or we could tax billionaires 
who are leaving the country and renouncing their citizenship in order 
to avoid taxes. That is the plain and simple fundamental element that 
was involved here.
  This not merely a question of expatriation in the sense that 
someone's literary sensibilities were offended, that somehow 
ideologically or philosophically they found themselves in opposition. 
Good Americans have the opportunity to contend with these ideas as we 
are on this floor. They stay and fight, they stay and make their case.
  What we have here is not expatriates, what we have here are Benedict 
Arnolds, Benedict Arnolds who would sell out their citizenship, sell 
out their country in order to maintain their wealth. That is it.
  My good friend, the gentleman from California [Mr. Thomas], came to 
the floor and indicated that he could not understand why we were 
excoriating these people. That was the word he used, ``excoriating.'' 
Of course we were excoriating them. He said that was already current 
law that took care of this, then went on to say that the current law 
does not work well enough and that it needed to be fixed.
  That is what we were going to do with this bill, we were going to fix 
it with this bill to see to it that the deductibility was going to be 
paid for by the billionaires who were renouncing their citizenship. I 
think that is completely clear, that is what we were going to do.
  I remember that when I was a child I think the most potent story that 
we learned in elementary school was one entitled ``The Man Without a 
Country,'' the man without a country. And as I remember the conclusion 
to that story, the man without a country was left permanently at sea, 
seeing constantly the horizon of the United States, bereft of the 
benefits of citizenship.
  Well, today that has been transposed into the jet set, people who are 
able to retain property in this country, able to retain income, able to 
live in this country 120 days a year, able to establish residence in a 
country or region that will allow them not to pay taxes, enjoy the full 
benefits of all of the wealth that they have accumulated in the United 
States of America as citizens, and renounce it at the same time, while 
we are asked to give more time to the Republican majority to craft 
[[Page H4016]] some bill to enable these billionaires' sensibilities 
not to be abrogated in any way.
  We have been passing legislation at freight train speed to overturn 
all of the situations that would undergird the possibility of feeding 
our children their school lunches, of seeing to it that our students 
are able to maintain their financial aid, asking immigrants to come to 
this country and to achieve their citizenship as rapidly as possible.
  Where I live in Hawaii we have immigrants coming in every day who are 
establishing themselves, working hard, paying their taxes, working 
forward and eager to the day that they can become citizens of the 
United States of America. How is it possible for a political party to 
defend those who have enjoyed the full benefits of citizenship in the 
greatest country on the face of the Earth, in the history of the world, 
and defend them when they seek to run away from the responsibilities 
that every other person in this country is pleased and happy and eager 
to undertake?
  To have billionaires able to renounce their citizenship and have that 
excused and have them released from being able to pay for it off 
receipts that are needed in order for the self-employed to be able to 
deduct their health costs is a blot and a shame on the legislative 
business of this House of Representatives.