WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released the following statement today after the House passed the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act by a vote of 233 to 189. This fiscally responsible legislation provides $62 billion in alternative minimum tax relief to 25 million families without adding to the deficit:
“Every House Member agrees that we must prevent the alternative minimum tax (the AMT) from hitting millions of hard-working American families this year. And, that is precisely what this legislation – the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act, which has been introduced by Chairman Rangel – is designed to do.
“Simply stated, the AMT is outdated and unfair. It was intended to ensure that wealthy taxpayers paid their fair share. But because it was never indexed for inflation, it threatens today to force millions of middle-income American families to pay more than they otherwise would under the standard income tax system.
“This bill will provide $62 billion in AMT relief to more than 25 million families.
“The only real disagreement today between the Democratic Majority and Republican Minority is a recurring one: Will we offset the costs of this bill and embrace fiscal responsibility, as Democrats propose? Or, will we whip out the national credit card once again, refuse to offset the costs of this bill, and drive our nation even further into debt, as Republicans propose?
“I submit there is no choice. Our nation simply cannot continue to run dangerous deficits and exploding debt, without threatening our national and economic security.
“The facts are stark. They are non-partisan. And, they are irrefutable. The Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion – and, in the last seven and one-half years, they turned that surplus into additional debt of nearly $4 trillion. The national debt, as of this morning, stood at $9.375 trillion – or nearly $31,000 for every man, woman and child in our country. Interest payments on the national debt have exploded to more than $200 billion per year. And in fiscal 2008, the federal government – due to the policies enacted by Republicans – is on course to run a budget deficit of more than $400 billion.
“Now, how do Democrats propose to pay for the costs of this bill? By closing a tax loophole that allows investment fund managers to pay a lower rate on their income than other Americans. By encouraging tax compliance. And by repealing unnecessary subsidies for the big five oil companies, which today are reaping record profits.
“Speaker, this bill is responsible and fair. We simply cannot continue to follow the Republican Party’s fiscally irresponsible policies. They threaten our nation and will force our children to pay our bills – which is not only wrong, but also immoral. As David Walker, the former Comptroller General, has stated: ‘Continuing on this unsustainable fiscal path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our national security.’”