WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer today spoke out on the House floor in strong opposition to the FSC/ETI corporate tax bill, which at $150 billion, is laden with corporate tax breaks, extenders and other sweeteners that have nothing to do with reforming international tax law. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, this bill is an appalling orgy in self-indulgence, a legislative abomination and a national embarrassment. Last week, the business columnist for the Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein, wrote (and I quote): ‘This may well be the worst piece of tax legislation to come along since 1986.’
“And during a week of tributes to our fallen former president, Pearlstein continued: ‘If Republicans really want to honor the memory of Ronald Reagan, they should toss in the trash the corporate tax legislation making its way through Congress. . . . To call this the ‘American jobs creation act of 2004' is nothing short of political and economic fraud.’
“With this bill, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Republican leadership are (quote/unquote) ‘fixing’ a $4 billion problem with a $150 billion (quote/unquote) ‘solution.’ This from so-called fiscal conservatives?
“At a time of historic jobs losses in America, the Thomas bill – unbelievably – includes $35 billion in incentives to U.S. firms to invest and create jobs overseas, not here. At a time of historic budget deficits – run up by a Republican administration and Congress – the Thomas bill would add at least $34 billion to the national debt over the next decade. And after years of pretending that they are committed to tax reform and simplification, the Republicans are cramming a bill through this House that adds 424 pages of complex tax rules and loopholes.
“Just one year ago, the majority leader (Mr. DeLay) told BusinessWeek magazine that (quote) ‘major tax reform, simplifying the tax code’ is a major agenda item. Well, today, this corporate tax travesty lays bare the emptiness of that pretense. Finally, Mr. Speaker, this bill is really nothing more than a special-interest Christmas tree that has been decorated in the middle of June.
“There’s a tax break for manufacturers of fishing tackle boxes; a tax break for makers of sonar devices used in fishing; a tax break for landowners who sell timber from their land; and a tax break for whaling, among others. All of these provisions, of course, have one thing in common: they have absolutely nothing to do with replacing the FSC/ETI tax regime, which has been ruled illegal and spawned trade sanctions by the European Union.
“Mr. Speaker, the most inexplicable thing about the tainted process and substance that infects this bill is that we could have truly passed a bipartisan measure that replaces the FSC/ETI tax regime months ago.
“The Republican leadership not only refused, but it denied Mr. Rangel the opportunity to offer his vastly superior alternative. I urge my colleagues to vote against this outrageous bill and the odious process that has accompanied it."