For Immediate Release: 
June 18, 2003
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 8 and in support of the Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) substitute to reform the estate tax (as prepared for delivery):

 “My Republican friends may think they’re burying the estate tax today, but they’re actually burying our children under a mountain of debt.  This GOP bill would create a fiscal Frankenstein that would haunt this nation for decades to come.

 The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this bill will cost $162 billion through 2013, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities projects that its costs will explode to more than $800 billion in the decade after that.

 But here’s the important point: none of it is paid for.  Not one dime.

 Our nation will run a record budget deficit of more than $400 billion this year.  At the same time, this Republican Majority has acceded to the largest increase in the debt limit in American history while passing $430 billion in new tax cuts.

 So, what does the GOP propose today?   Legislation that would drive us even deeper into debt!

 Our Republican friends prattle on and on about how the so-called “death tax” works a grievous injustice on the heirs of family farmers and small business owners.  But, in truth, few farms or small businesses ever pay federal estate taxes.
 The fact is, repealing the estate tax would only benefit the wealthiest one-half of one percent of estates in America.

 And let’s remember: it was Republican Theodore Roosevelt who called for an inheritance tax in 1906, saying, and I quote: “There is every reason why . . . the national government should impose a graduated inheritance tax.”  Teddy Roosevelt, himself a man of great means, explained: “The prime object should be to put a constantly increasing burden on the inheritance of those swollen fortunes which it is certainly of no benefit to this country to perpetuate.”

 This bill has nothing to do with tax fairness or stimulating the economy.  It has everything to do with paying homage to the GOP’s reckless tax-cut theology and misplaced priorities.

 Today, the GOP genuflects at the tax-cut altar, but the rest of us ought to be the ones saying a prayer.

 I urge my colleagues: vote for the Democratic alternative.

 It is fiscally responsible and effective.  It would provide immediate estate tax relief and exempt 99.7 percent of all estates from taxation.  And it would protect family farms and small businesses.”