Hoyer: Estate Tax Bill Demonstrates Precisely Where GOP’s Priorities Lie

For Immediate Release:

June 17, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon in support of the Democratic substitute to H.R. 8, Republican legislation that would permanently repeal the estate tax.  Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) introduced the substitute earlier today at a press conference with Bill Gates, Sr.  H.R. 8 will be considered on the House Floor on Wednesday:

“House Democrats don’t want farmers or small business owners to be penalized for a lifetime of hard work and we think that parents should be able to provide for their children after they are gone.  But we also want to preserve Social Security and Medicare and ensure that we can make needed investments in health care, education and transportation. 

“That is why Democrats have a common sense alternative to the budget busting, irresponsible estate tax bill that Republican leaders will put on the House Floor tomorrow.  The Democratic estate tax alternative, introduced by Congressman Pomeroy, would set the estate tax exemption at $3 million for individuals and $6 million for couples, and would provide immediate relief.   In fact, it would exempt 99.65 percent of all estates from the estate tax. 

“This legislation epitomizes the GOP’s tax-cut theology and demonstrates precisely where the Republican Party’s priorities lie.  It has absolutely nothing to do with providing an economic stimulus, but would benefit the heirs of the wealthiest estates in America.  In 2001, only about 2 percent of all estates involved any estate or gift tax liability.

“The Democratic alternative is effective and responsible.  The GOP bill gives new meaning to the term ‘irresponsible.’  In fact, if there were an “Irresponsibility in Government” award, the GOP – with this bill permanently repealing the estate tax – would be a sure winner.

“With our fiscal house in disarray, it’s almost as if the GOP is purposely trying to make matters worse.  In just two and a half years, the GOP has put this nation in the bottom of a fiscal pit, and now they’re asking for a bigger shovel to dig even deeper.

“The CBO is projecting a budget deficit of more than $400 billion this year and deficits as far as the eye can see.  This House GOP has already passed $430 billion in new tax cuts this year.  And what does the Republican leadership propose?  The permanent repeal of the estate tax, a measure that would cost $162 billion through 2013 and an estimated $750 billion in the following decade.”

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