November 7, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 181 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
REPUBLICAN TAX PLAN; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 181
(Senate - November 07, 2017)
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[Pages S7034-S7035] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] REPUBLICAN TAX PLAN Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, later this week, the House will begin marking up the Republican tax plan in record speed, with no hearings, no real discussion. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are mimicking the House in trying to rush through their bill as well. It is said, the Senate Republicans will unveil a plan of their own, although I don't expect there to be that much difference between the two. What has united the Republican tax reform efforts so far in this Congress has been a stubborn desire to reduce taxes paid by big corporations and the superrich. That is the core. The middle class ends up with the leftovers. Shockingly, millions in the middle class will actually see a tax increase, not just a handful but a large number. This morning's New York Times did an analysis. According to them, one- third of all middle-class families would pay more in taxes next year under the House bill, and by 2026, nearly half of all middle-class families would pay more in taxes--almost half. Here is the newspaper article. This is the New York Times. They defined the middle class as households between $50,000 and $160,000-- the backbone of America. Here is their headline. I don't know if you can see it. ``Republican Plan Would Raise Taxes on Millions of Middle- Class Families.'' Here is the headline again printed a little larger so everyone here in America can see it. ``Republican Plan Would Raise Taxes on Millions of Middle-Class Families.'' That is the case. They did their analysis. By the way, you say: Well, that is mainly in the coastal States. No. Even if it is not one-third, it is probably about 20 percent in the poorest of States. Large numbers of middle-class taxpayers in every State in this Union--coastal, noncoastal, New York, California but also Wyoming, Utah, and Nebraska-- would pay a significant tax increase. Looking at the House bill, you can see why. Republicans either reduce or eliminate several middle-class tax deductions. The elimination of the personal deduction, for example, which lets families deduct roughly $4,150 for each person in the household, would be costly to families of three or more. If you have a lot of kids, this bill is bad for you. Taxwise--if tax policy influences behavior--they are trying to discourage bigger families. What does that say? Ending the personal exemption makes the Republican tax plan an anti-large family bill. In many cases, the new benefits provided to the middle class are insufficient to fill the gap created by the loss of popular deductions, and, worse, many of the benefits are temporary, expiring after several years. So while some in the middle class may get an initial tax break, down the line, the break disappears, and taxes start to go up. As pointed out by David Kamin, a professor of tax law at NYU--and they have a great tax department, proudly from New York--Republicans have reduced the value of middle-class tax breaks significantly over time. To meet their desires not to increase the deficit by too much-- although $1.5 trillion is a heck of a lot--instead of reducing the tax breaks on the biggest corporations or the very wealthiest, they reduced them on the middle class. So in 5 years' time, the $300/person family credit is gone. The child tax credits--unlike the personal exemptions they replaced--lose value over time because they are not indexed. They only increase with inflation. The Republicans use the same gimmicks to make the value of middle-class deductions, like the standard deduction, lose value over time. So while some middle-class families may see a tax decrease in the very short run, a considerable number see a hidden tax increase a few years later. They have front-loaded the benefits to disguise a tax hike in the outyears. Look at this chart. Now, our Republican colleagues picked the perfect family to benefit from their tax break. This middle-class family, when they proposed it, is a family making $59,000 a year. Well, the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy looked at the Republican plan and found over one in five taxpayers, those earning between $56,000 and $150,000--the heart of the middle class--would see an average increase of $1,350 by 2027. Here it is. This is not a family who has medical expenses or kids in college--they lose those deductions--or a large mortgage or from a State with high personal income and sales taxes. This is the plain-vanilla, hand-picked family chosen by the Republicans to highlight the benefits of their plan. It is true. In the first year, they get a break around $1,100, but over the years, they get an increase. By 2027, even this hand-picked Republican family gets a tax increase. The bottom line is, the Republican tax plan is like a ticking timebomb for many hard-working, middle-class families. Working middle-class families see a tax increase because the Republican plan reduces their benefits over time. Meanwhile, tax giveaways for the wealthiest Americans and huge corporations get better over time. The estate tax exemption goes up from $11 [[Page S7035]] million to $22 million for a couple, and then it is permanently repealed by 2023. The corporate rate cut and passthrough cut also stays permanent--a boon to wealthy shareholders. Middle-class tax deductions and credits expire. Deductions for corporations and the wealthiest are permanent or even get better. As Mark Mazer, the director of the Independent Tax Policy Center, said, ``You could create a plan that just cuts taxes for middle-class people. That's not what this is.'' Yet that is how Republicans are selling it. A few days ago on Hugh Hewitt's show, my friend the majority leader said that ``at the end of the day, nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase'' under the Republican bill. Again, that was Mitch McConnell: ``Nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase.'' Well, if Leader McConnell was referring to the House bill, that is just a bold-faced lie, and he ought to retract it, but to give the Senator the benefit of the doubt, maybe he is referring to the Senate tax bill still under consideration. Let's see. In the Republican bill, will nobody in the middle class get a tax increase? We will wait and see. If past is prologue, I doubt it because the House said no middle-class person would get an increase, then their bill walloped the middle class. One-third get an increase immediately, and then half get an increase over the next 10 years. I would remind my Senate Republican colleagues that their House Republicans sold their bill as a middle-class bill--a middle-class tax cut--and then put together a plan that raises taxes on millions of middle-class families, one-third of all families making between $65,000 and $150,000. If the Senate bill follows the same path, promising universal, middle-class tax cuts but delivers smoke and mirrors and hidden tax increases, it will get clobbered in the court of public opinion, as it would deserve. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). Without objection, it is so ordered. ____________________