WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this evening in support of fiscally responsible legislation protecting 23 million Americans from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, many of our Republican colleagues have charged – inaccurately, I must stress – that we are somehow engaged in political theater today, that we are engaged in a charade.
“Let no one here be mistaken: When we pass this fiscally responsible, one-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax – thereby preventing 23 million middle-income Americans paying more in federal income taxes next April under the AMT – this body will be making an emphatic statement about its commitment to complying with pay-as-you-go budget rules and restoring fiscal discipline.
“All year long, the President and our Republican friends in this Congress have pretended that they are somehow the exemplars of fiscal responsibility – even though they squandered a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, and enacted policies that instigated record budget deficits and added more than $3 trillion to the national debt.
“Today, they actually are arguing that we should not pay for this one-year AMT patch because a patch simply prevents us from collecting revenues that we never intended to collect when the AMT was enacted back in 1969.
“Instead, the self-proclaimed exemplars of fiscal responsibility would have us pull out the national credit card and charge another $50 billion – the cost of this AMT patch – to the deficit and national debt.
“Seriously – this is the best argument that they can muster.
“The Party that claims it is fiscally responsible is demanding that we add $50 billion to the national debt and spend another $196 billion on Iraq – all of it unpaid for.
“The fact of the matter is, the President’s budget has consistently called for a revenue-neutral fix for the AMT.
“And, the then-Republican Congress and the Administration relied on the increased AMT revenues to offset part of the 2001 tax cuts.
“Mr. Speaker, it is simply intellectually and fiscally dishonest to use the increased revenues from the AMT to make the tax cuts appear more affordable and rely on those revenues to show a path to balance the budget – but then claim we don’t need to pay for legislation reducing those revenues because we weren’t supposed to collect them.
“The legislation before us – prepared by Chairman Rangel and Chairman Neal – is a good bill.
“It will provide $50 billion in Alternative Minimum Tax relief to 23 million families and expand the Child Tax Credit to help 12 million children.
“And yes, this legislation is paid for by, among other things, closing tax loopholes that, allow hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs to use offshore tax havens as unlimited retirement accounts.
“Thus, this legislation complies with the pay-as-you-go budget rules that this new Democratic Majority reinstated on the first day of this first session.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: vote for tax fairness. Vote for fiscal responsibility. Vote for this bill.”