HOYER: GOP MARRIAGE PENALTY BILL WOULD DRIVE US FURTHER INTO DEBT

Democrats Offer Fiscally Responsible Bill that Permanently Ends Marriage Penalty Tax and Helps More Working Families

For Immediate Release:

April 27, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) on the House Floor today denounced Republican tax policies that continue to pile debt onto taxpayers.  House Democrats strongly support permanently eliminating the marriage penalty tax and will offer an alternative this week that is fully paid for and will help more families.  The Republican bill will put almost $100 billion more debt on America’s children.  The following is Representative Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery: 

 “Mr. Speaker, this week, the American people will see that what our Republican friends lack in candor, they more than make up for in chutzpah.  This week, the Republican majority is expected to take up legislation that would permanently eliminate the marriage penalty.
 
“But don’t let the Republicans fool you.  Democrats and Republicans both agree that married couples should not have to pay more in taxes than they would as unmarried individuals filing separately.  Members in both parties agree that the so-called marriage “penalty” should be remedied.

 “However, here’s the crucial difference between the Republicans bill and our Democratic substitute.  Our bill is paid for.  Theirs is not.  That’s right.  With a record budget deficit this year of more than half a trillion dollars, and with the projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion turned into a projected deficit of more than $4 trillion, our friends on the Republican side of the aisle plan to drive us even deeper into debt.
 
“The chairman of the House Budget Committee (Mr. Nussle) perhaps summed up the Republican fiscal philosophy best on March 17th when he said (and I quote): ‘We don’t believe that you should have to pay for tax cuts.’  Well, Mr. Nussle and my Republican friends, you don’t.  But our children and grandchildren will.

 “According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, this Republican marriage penalty bill will cost $96 billion over the next 10 years.  None of it is paid for.  And to make matters worse, House Republicans intend to bring up bills in the next three weeks to make the 10-percent tax bracket and child tax credit permanent and to temporarily fix the alternative minimum tax.
 
“Again, Democrats support such legislation so long as it is paid for.  But again, the Republican bills are not offset and would only add to the deficit.  Democrats believe that the failure to pay for these tax cuts not only threatens our economic future, but also is an immoral abdication of our responsibility to pay our own bills.

 “Meanwhile, as we debate this tax bill, Republicans on both sides of Capitol Hill are riven by internal conflict.  They still have not produced a budget conference report for fiscal 2005 because of the intransigence of House Republicans to accept pay-as-you-go rules that Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says are essential if we are to have fiscal responsibility.
 
“Here’s what the bipartisan Concord Coalition and three other budget watchdog groups have said about such pay-as-you-go rules (and I quote): ‘If Congress wants to pass particular tax cuts, it should either reduce mandatory programs or raise other revenues to offset the tax-reduction measures, not simply give itself a free pass to enact tax cuts without financing them.’
 
“Republicans still have not passed the transportation reauthorization bill, the delay of which has cost an estimated 90,000 jobs.  And they have turned the foreign sales corporation bill – which requires that some $5 billion in export subsidies be repealed and replaced by modest tax breaks – into a $170 billion special-interest giveaway.  One business lobbyist even told the Washington Post that this bill (and I quote) ‘has risen to a new level of sleaze.’ 

"Mr. Speaker, I urge my Republican colleagues to come to their senses and to work with us to repair the fiscal damage already caused by their failed policies. For years, House Republicans preened as ‘deficit hawks.’  Some even suggested that tax cuts are not, in fact, sacrosanct.  For example, in 1997, the majority leader (Mr. DeLay) said of Jack Kemp, a former member of this body and ardent proponent of supply-side tax cuts (and I quote): ‘Jack Kemp worships at the altar of tax cuts.  Jack has always said that deficits don’t matter.  We think that deficits do matter.’  With this vote on marriage penalty relief this week, we’ll see whether Republicans still believe that or not.”

###