Hoyer Floor Statement on Tax Package

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mr. levin: it's now my pleasure to yield the balance of our time to our distinguished majority leader, mr. Hoyer of maryland. the chair: the gentleman from maryland, the majority leader, is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. Hoyer: i thank the gentleman for yielding. we have just come through a wrenching election. wrenching in large part because of the pain being experienced by our constituents. some more than others. a pain that they're experiencing in part because they are unemployed or underemployed or working two or three jobs to support themselves and their families. we all heard that pain, we all heard that concern. at the same time as we heard the concern about the pain of economic uncertainty, we heard the concern and the fear about deficits and debt. so, my colleagues, we are confronted with two twin challenges. growing our economy, creating jobs, and confronting this gargantuan deficit that puts at risk our economy and the future of our children. the american public would hope that we would come together and pass that on which we can agree. that on which we can compromise. this house in fact passed two pieces of legislation. weeks ago and months ago. months ago, we passed legislation which would give certainty, and my republican colleagues talk about certainty and i agree with them. we need to give certainty to families, certainly to businesses, and yes, certainty to those whoever worried about estates. they'll expect that of us. and we passed 12 months ago the continuation of then-existing law, $3.5 million per spouse or $7 million per couple exemption. and a 45% rate. but that language -- languished in the united states senate. it languished because, frankly, there was not a majority or at least not 40 votes to extend certainty. that was unfortunate in my view. because i think that was an appropriate rate and i will vote for it on this floor. embodied in the pomeroy amendment. and then we passed just a few days ago legislation which would say to all americans, you will not receive any tax increase on the first $250,000 of your income if you're a married couple or $200,000 if you're an individual. all individuals. no matter how rich or no matter how poor, all individuals would have their tax capped. and very frankly, there were only a few members on this floor on either side of the aisle who disagreed with that proposition. but as too often happens because we don't get everything we want, we will take something we want. that's not good for the american people. and it's not good for our country. and very frankly, only three or four members of the republican side of the aisle chose to vote for that legislation, knot withstanding the fact it carried out part of what they thought was appropriate. and we agree. it was not enough. the president of the united states has a responsibility to all americans and like every president, he can't get everything he wants. to that extent, he's like us. we don't get everything we want. this bill does not represent everything i want. those of you who have heard me debate time after time know how concerned i am about this debt and deficit. you have seen me vote on this floor, sometimes in the small minority against steps that i thought would exacerbate the budget deficit without a proper return. this bill, the president of the united states believes, and i believe, will have a positive effect on the economy and i think we need that. and unlike some of my colleagues whose views i share but i have reached a different conclusion, i will vote for this bill. i don't want to see middle income working people in america get a tax increase. that will be a depressant on an economy that needs to be lifted up. but i'm also concerned about the deficit and i know we're going to borrow every nickel in this bill. i'm for pay-go. my children, you ask them, would say they're for pay-go because they don't want to pay our bills. they're going to have their own bills. unfortunately, the president and we when confronted with alternatives, do we extend unemployment insurance when employment is at db when unemployment is at a 9.6% to 9.8% rate or do we let them languish with uncertainty. not certainty about planning wlorn their $7 million estate can be planned. we don't have a deal on upper income taxes or estate taxes increased from $7 million to $10 million per couple. my friends on both sides of the aisle, we need to come together, we need to come together in dealing with this debt, we need to come together in dealing with tax reform, we need to come together in growing jobs. that ought to be the agenda of this next congress and every congress thereafter until we accomplish those objectives and the american people have the certainty and confidence that we want them to have. now, ladies and gentlemen, on the republican side, very frankly, i have not seen your economic philosophy work. jack kemp and i served on the committee, but i don't think supply side as worked -- supply side has worked. it has the proposition if you do less, you get more. nothing i have done in life instructs me if i do less, i get more. and because of that, because of the concept if you simply cut taxes on those who are wealthiest in our society, somehow, magically, the deficit will be eliminated. not one year did that happen. it happened, frankly, when we said the upper 1% were going to pay just a little more in 1993 and all of you opposed it. all of you, to a person. you said it would destroy the economy. your leader at that point in time, dick armey, said that this would tank the economy. he was 180 degrees wrong. in fact, we experienced the best economy we've seen in this country in my lifetime. 22 million new jobs in eight years. 216,000 jobs per month. in the private sector. but unfortunately, under the economic program that we adopted in 2001, we saw the worst economy, the worst job production since herbert hoover. now i'm going to vote for this bill. i think it does help the economy. we are paying too great a price for it. frankly, i don't need a tax cut. that's not to say i don't want a tax cut. but it will not affect my life. and it will not affect the economy. and it will exacerbate the debt. that's not good for my children or for our country. i would urge all of us as we vote on this piece of legislation, whatever decision we make, to understand the message that we all received about growing the economy.