AMT Bill Restores Fairness, Is Fiscally Responsible

i thank the gentleman for yielding. this debate must be somewhat TimeCode: 12:47:14.4 confusing for the american public. first of all almost every one of us stands and says that we want the alternative minimum tax fixed. we want it fixed because the presumption of the alternative TimeCode: 12:47:28.0 minimum tax, which i support, and which i will not vote to repeal unless we pay for it, now i want you to know that i speak as the father of three daughters, as the grandfather of three grandchildren, and as the TimeCode: 12:47:44.7 great grandfather of one great granddaughter. i have listened to this debate. i want to speak about some of this debate, and i want to refer to history. TimeCode: 12:48:00.4 my friend, mr. ryan, knows what i'm going to say because i have said it before. and i believe the american people need to know this. let me place it in context. i have served in this body for 26 years. during that time republican TimeCode: 12:48:15.5 presidents have served for 18 of those years. a democratic president, president clinton, served for eight of those years. during the presidencies of president reagan, president george bush, and the present TimeCode: 12:48:32.6 president bush we have accumulated deficits in america of $4.1 trillion of deficit spending. now, there's only one person in america who can stop spending in TimeCode: 12:48:46.4 its tracks, just one. not me, not anybody on this floor. we need 217 other people to do that with us. but one person can stop spending in its tracks. and in the 26 years that i have been in the congress of the TimeCode: 12:49:03.1 united states, no president has had a veto of a spending bill that spent too much overriden. not one. this president has vetoed no TimeCode: 12:49:19.5 spending bills under republican congresses. not one. no matter how much they spent. and by the way, ladies and gentlemen, of this house, they spent at twice the rate of growth that the democrats under TimeCode: 12:49:37.6 president clinton spent. now, republicans were in charge of congress. but they are in charge of everything during the first six years of this century. everything -- house, senate, TimeCode: 12:49:52.0 presidency. my friend made the observation that neither side had done too well. i suggest my side has done a lot better. because under my side and those eight years of the clinton administration we had a 6 $62.9 billion net surplus-$62.9 TimeCode: 12:50:08.7 billion net surplus after eight years. and we didn't have to raise the national debt one time in the last four years after we got the deficits under the reagan administration and first bush TimeCode: 12:50:23.2 administration down. and a straight line of reduction every one of the first four years of the clinton administration. why? because we democrats believe in TimeCode: 12:50:37.9 spend and pay. you simply believe in spend and borrow. you believe that it's a politically wise policy to pursue that, don't tax the voters, tax the children. TimeCode: 12:50:56.2 tax the children. delay the ramifications of spending until tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. when the children will have to pay the bill. because after all, they are not TimeCode: 12:51:10.1 voting. i have heard a lot of wringing of hands about pay-go. i know you are all waiting to hear me read a quote. so i will read it to you. TimeCode: 12:51:29.2 with the other body unable to pass even a budget this year, that was referring to a republican senate by the way, we were obviously unable to reach an agreement on legislation to TimeCode: 12:51:40.7 extend pay-go and other budget rules. it is my hope, he said, that this can be done next year as part of a normal budget process. i would close by reminding our members and colleagues that the pay-go rule contributed to TimeCode: 12:51:56.2 taming of deficits over the past seven years, and it is my hope, he said, that a successor to pay-go can be developed and coupled with caps on discretionary appropriations. that quote, of course, comes from jim nussle. TimeCode: 12:52:13.5 as a matter of fact president bush, administration, also said that they were for pay-go. until they found out that pay-go applied to cutting revenues. and because they didn't want to stop buying, i say to my friends TimeCode: 12:52:30.4 on the republican side of the aisle, and you knew that you would be constrained in buying if pay-go applied to your tax cuts, which i supported for the middle class but not for the skewing of taxes that i saw in TimeCode: 12:52:48.4 your proposals, that you would have to stop spending. because you couldn't pay for them. so you jettisoned pay-go. a premise that was overwhelmingly adopted by republicans and i voted for in the 1997 budget act. TimeCode: 12:53:04.8 because i believe in balancing our budget. i have served in legislative bodies for almost 40 years and i found people who like to vote for spending but don't like to vote for paying. it takes no courage whatsoever, i tell my friends, to take my TimeCode: 12:53:20.7 credit card out of my pocket and put it in there, sign the little slip, and think i'll never have to pay for it, because by the way i'll be dead and gone by then and my children will have to pay the debt. that has been referred to by mr. portman as an immoral policy, TimeCode: 12:53:35.8 rob portman, the former director of the o.m.b., former member of the ways and means committee. mr. speaker, i rise in very, very strong support of this tax cut for millions of americans. will there be an offset? there will be. TimeCode: 12:53:50.4 as i said i will not vote to fix the a.m.t. unless we pay for it, because if we fix the a.m.t. without paying for it, what we'll say to people like steny hoyer and every member of this house, maybe we have a conflict of interest because every member in this house will be affected by this if we don't repeal the TimeCode: 12:54:08.2 a.m.t. for those of us in this income level. so maybe we have a conflict of interest. maybe we want to save ourselves a little dollar but we don't want to pay for it. because raising revenues takes political courage. TimeCode: 12:54:23.4 there is no courage whatsoever in plunging our country into debt spending and not paying. it is as rob portman said an immoral policy lacking courage and lacking in fiscal TimeCode: 12:54:39.0 responsibility. my friends, we need to pass this bill and give millions of americans a tax cut and insuring that millions of americans will not get a tax increase. pay-go is a policy that demands TimeCode: 12:54:54.9 responsibility. many of you voted for the bankruptcy bill as i did. i was criticized by some because we thought that individuals ought to exercise fiscal responsibility in the managing of their finances. i think corporately as a TimeCode: 12:55:10.4 government we ought to do the same. mr. speaker, let no one be mistaken. this is precisely what this legislation offered by chairman rangel was designed to do. give a tax cut to millions of TimeCode: 12:55:26.7 americans and preclude millions of americans from paying more. and asking other americans to pay their fair share. so those at the bottom of the rung don't have to pay more to defend our country to educate TimeCode: 12:55:42.5 our children to keep our families healthy. mr. speaker, this tax cut will provide tax cut will provide 30 million homeowners with property TimeCode: 12:55:59.5 tax relief t. will help 4.5 million families better afford college with tuition deductions t. will save 3.4 million teachers money with deductions for classroom expenses. my wife was a teacher. she died 10 1/2 years ago. she was one of the best people TimeCode: 12:56:16.0 that i have ever met in my life if not the best. and every year we would spend a couple hundred dollars, and we could afford it, maybe even a little more than that, to make sure that her kids in her TimeCode: 12:56:31.2 classroom had things that they needed but were not provided. we are going to give teachers a tax cut to do that. our children will be served and TimeCode: 12:56:39.4 our teachers will be served. in short, this bill will extend tax credits and deduction that will benefit a wide array of americans and the american economy. and, yes, this legislation helps to restore tax fairness. and once again demonstrated that this democratic majority is TimeCode: 12:56:55.4 committed to fiscal responsibility. let me recall that figure. 18 years of republican presidents, $4.1 trillion of deficit spending. under bill clinton, eight years, TimeCode: 12:57:11.2 $62.9 billion net surplus. no indebtedness. no indebtedness in the last four years. we are now over $9 trillion in debt. this administration has gone from $5.7 to over $9 trillion. republicans were in control of TimeCode: 12:57:29.1 everything and spending escalated as twice the rate it did when bill clinton was president. my friends, this bill is a fair bill. this bill is responsible. this bill gives tax cuts to TimeCode: 12:57:43.7 millions of americans and asks some few americans to pay their fair share. vote for this bill. it's good for america. it's good for our people. it's the right and as rob portman said, the moral thing to TimeCode: 12:57:59.2 do.