REP. CHARLES B. RANGEL (D-NY): HOUSE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HELPING ECONOMY

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman for having this markup.  I am really surprised that you have not put this bill on the suspension calender, and taken it directly to the floor.  Because I assume you will not even give other Members on the committee an opportunity to have a substitute on the floor. Having said that, I think that the way you are handling this is consistent with the way that you have handled most of tax issues.  And that is, to introduce the bill in the middle of the night and mark it up in the morning. 

 So, here we have the President’s bill, which I think you introduced Friday – 77 pages – and you have an additional 30 pages amending that bill.  We are marking it up without hearings and we are marking it up without discussions.  I assume the Republicans are in the same position that the Democrats are, that they don’t have the slightest clue as to what you intend to do except to rearrange the chairs on the deck of the Titanic because unemployment is not going up nearly as fast as you would like to see it. 

 The truth of the matter is that this has nothing to do with the growth of the economy, but it has everything to do with getting rid of the resources that support the programs that a lot of people believe should be supported by this Congress.  I think that every governor in our country really believes that they should be getting some assistance for infrastructure and for Medicaid relief, but there is no provision for that.  As a matter of fact the millions of people that are looking for jobs everyday will be losing or have lost their unemployment compensation and other benefits.  They have lost their health insurance. 

 This is a time when the nation is bleeding and suffering.  This is really going to be, in my opinion, one of the largest tax increases that we have felt.  No, not on the federal level as we withdraw from our responsibility to the local and state governments.  But, as the cities and the states are forced to balance their budgets, the only way they can do it with the decrease in federal assistance is an increase in taxes.  

 Yesterday, my city council had to increase taxes.  Today the Governor is fighting about whether or not they are going to give any assistance to the City of New York.  And so, all around the country we are seeing the pain of these inadequate federal programs which is causing such misery as we have had a swing from a $5 trillion surplus goal to now a $2 trillion deficit. 

 And it seems to me that while we talk about $726 billion, $550 billion, $350 billion – the truth is that throughout the Thomas bill are gimmicks that sunset things at times.  We know that, ultimately the sunset is going to be removed, and so the deficit is going to be deeper.  Mr. Chairman, what you are doing I hope is reminding Americans what happened to them and how it happened.  We find the fragile support services that we have had for our youngsters in school, our senior citizens, even our veterans are being cut at the very time that they need help because we are moving to reduce the resources. 

 It is going to be very interesting to see whether you are using the same economist that you used for the $1.3 trillion tax cut that was supposed to revive the economy, but if they are on the Republican payroll, it would be interesting to see some of the names because the last we talked with the Congressional Budget Office, they did not think much of the proposal. 

 Thank you again for having a markup and ,if you decide any time during this mark-up that you do want to move to the Suspension Calender, we have no problems with it because it is consistent with the way the committee has been going.