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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 183 (Thursday, November 9, 2017)]
[Pages H8679-H8682]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO

                          LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM

  (Mr. HOYER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy) for the purpose of the majority leader telling us the schedule for the week to come. (Mr. McCARTHY asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the House will meet at noon for morning hour and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday and Wednesday the House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business. On Thursday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business.

Mr. Speaker, the House will consider a number of suspensions next week, a complete list of which will be announced by close of business tomorrow.

In addition, the House will consider the conference report to accompany H.R. 2810, the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. This bipartisan agreement will strengthen our military, give our men and women in uniform a 2.4 percent pay raise, and ensure America's fighting forces have the resources they need to secure peace both at home and abroad.

I want to thank Chairman Thornberry and the entire House Committee on Armed Services for their hard work on this important bill.

Mr. Speaker, the House should also look forward to voting on the most significant tax reform in over three decades, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, sponsored by Representative Kevin Brady.

America is among the highest taxed nations in the developed world. Americans pay more in taxes than we spend on housing, clothing, and food, combined.

Our current Tax Code is almost 2,600 pages long, with an additional 70,000 pages of forms and other regulations. That is just unacceptable.

We want to see economic growth in this country. Instead of “closed for business” signs, we want to see “now hiring” signs.

We want to double the standard deduction.

What does that mean?

It means, for every American, the first $12,000 of income for an individual is tax free; for a couple, that is $24,000 tax free.

We want to simplify the Tax Code so you can file it in minutes-- instead of spending weeks--on a form the size of a postcard.

We want to bring back the trillions of dollars of American wealth that is forced to sit overseas, have it come back to America and invest in Americans.

That is what voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will accomplish. That is why I look forward to the House passing this critical bill without delay.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, additional legislative items are possible in the House. If anything is added to our schedule, I will be sure to inform all Members.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for that information.

I am going to have some specific questions about the tax bill, but before I do that, it is our understanding that substantial changes are being made in the tax bill that was put on the floor last Thursday, a week ago.

Does the gentleman know whether that is accurate or not?

I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I would not use that term, “substantial,” because, as you know, we have gone through this process for quite some time. We are all writing to the same number: $1.5 trillion. But, as you know, any bill, when it moves through regular order, where it gets introduced in committee and we have a markup, just as Ways and Means has done all week long--they will come to the final vote today--whatever amendments pass will be added. [[Page H8680]]

You will then see that bill posted. You will then, next week, see the Rules Committee take it up, and then you will see that bill on the floor, just as with any other regular order bill in the process.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, regular order is having hearings and witnesses, is it not?

I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, for the last three decades, we have done that, and I don't think the American people want to continue to wait.

I know we go through this every week, time and again, and so I can quote you back the number of hearings. I can quote you back what people even ran a campaign on and put out to the American public. But what is most important that I can quote to you is the lack of growth that has happened, how much people have to pay in taxes, the trillions of dollars that are sitting overseas.

What I have found time and again, and I know we have talked about this before, but just by the introduction of our bill, I was sitting in the Oval Office last week and there was a company there, Broadcom, that was created in America, but because of our Tax Code, they were forced to leave America to try to be competitive. {time} 1130

They looked at this bill, and they told me a couple of days before: If you really believe this bill is going to pass, we will come back.

When they come back, that is $20 billion in revenue each year. They will spend another $3 billion each year on R&D. Then they will spend $6 billion in manufacturing.

The gentleman and I have had so many discussions about how to bring manufacturing jobs back. That is why I am so excited about this bill coming to the floor the next week.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his remarks.

I don't share his enthusiasm for this bill, which I think will be very harmful, will explode the debt, and be a bait-and-switch on the middle class whether it will get a tax cut early and a tax increase later on.

Is the gentleman aware, when he talks about growth, that in the comparable 9 months of 2016 to the same months in 2017 under Trump, that there were 326,000 more jobs created in 2016 than have been created in 2017 in those analogous months?

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused that the gentleman is not enthusiastic about this bill. I have read what some people on the other side of the aisle have said about this bill. I heard one phrase that the gentleman recently used about the middle class. I would just caution my friend in inferring anything negative to the middle class with this bill because there were some on the other side of the aisle that made some comments.

Like most things we say, we get fact-checked. The Washington Post, to a few Senators and my own Senator from California, tried to claim this was poor for the middle class.

Do you know what happened?

She did not receive one Pinocchio, she did not receive two Pinocchios, and she did not even receive three Pinocchios. She received four Pinocchios on that statement. That is the most Pinocchios you can get.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, I wanted to do the research. I wanted to look. Is this tax bill good for all of America? Especially because I want the gentleman to be enthusiastic about it, I looked at Maryland's Fifth District. Now here are just a few facts:

Currently, in the Fifth Congressional District of Maryland, 47 percent of the filers take the standard deduction. So not only will they be better off, it will actually double, and they will see the increase in their pay on day one, January 1.

Another 11 percent have itemized deductions. They will no longer with our new higher standard deduction, so they will also save more money, not to mention the time and confusion by not having to itemize. That means, before we even look at lowering tax rates, 58 percent of my friend's district is better off on day one.

Now, how about the median family of four?

A median family of four in Maryland's Fifth Congressional District earns $123,000. For the 20 percent of those families that don't itemize today, they will receive a tax cut of $5,000. For the 80 percent who are itemizing today, they will get, on average, $2,200 in a tax cut.

But those are not the only people I am worried about. How about the single mother who is earning $30,000 in your district?

Well, she will no longer have to pay any tax under this plan. In fact, she will receive a refund of about $500 to $700.

How about the small business, the entrepreneur, the factory creating jobs?

The small-business owner making about $400,000 in Maryland's Fifth Congressional District will see a savings of nearly $19,000.

So what I am confused about is: How can't you be excited about this bill?

In short, Mr. Speaker, to the people not just in my friend's district, but all of America, let me state this: under our plan, the average family of four earning $55,000 a year will not pay any tax.

For so many days and so many years, I have heard from the other side of the aisle and my friend talking about the middle class. We have a bill that is on the floor that is going to help the middle class, the single mother not to pay any tax and getting money back; the median family there getting $5,000 back; the small business getting 19--I don't know how much more we have to do to get my friend excited, but next week he will have the opportunity.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, a lot more is the answer.

Why is the NFIB, Mr. Speaker, against this bill if it is so good for small business? Why is the AARP against this bill if it is so good for small business? Why is the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which is worried about the national debt, against it?

Mr. Speaker, since I have been here, my Republican friends have been talking about we have got to balance the budget. The President said he is going to balance the budget in 9 years. That was hooey.

Our Republican friends have said they are going to balance the budget. They said it in the Price budget. They said it in the Ryan budget. The budget deficit keeps getting bigger, and they have been in charge of economic policy for a long time.

The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, I have got a list of 50 groups that are against this bill because they think it hurts both the debt and middle-income people.

The distribution, according not to fact-checkers but the Joint Committee on Taxation, $1 trillion of the tax cuts go to business, $230 billion to individuals, and $170 billion on estates essentially. Now, that doesn't add up to the $1.7 or $1.8 trillion that has been computed to be the deficit created--the additional debt--by this bill.

In fact, that is why this bill is being rewritten right now. I guarantee my friend--and he can call me this next week--that the bill that was introduced last Thursday will not look like the bill that we will consider on the floor. It won't.

It won't because, first of all, the debt is a problem for, apparently, some people. It is a big problem for me. We ought to pay for what we buy. That is what the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Camp, did: a bill that was paid for--an honest bill that was paid for, as was the 1986 tax reform bill. It did not add to the debt.

This adds an extraordinary amount to the debt. As a matter of fact, it adds in one fell swoop the debt that was created on the Reagan administration approximately $1.7 trillion. It is being rewritten now.

My presumption is, as we have done 49 times this year, that this bill will be presented under a closed rule in a transparent Congress, where everybody's views are going to be considered. I stand here and say that the gentleman is not going to bring this bill to the floor with an open rule where amendments can be offered, where people can discuss options, and we can see what the ramifications are to middle class taxpayers.

The Joint Committee on Taxation also pointed out that, of this figure, individuals are going to get a tax cut of [[Page H8681]] which Mr. Ryan talks about of $1,182--a typical family, he refers to them--but that figure will start to go down in 2019 and will go down further in 2020 so that it is a bait-and-switch. You get it up front, but we are going to take it away.

In the Ways and Means Committee, one of the reasons, Mr. Speaker, I tell the majority that I am not very enthusiastic is because they asked: Do we also do this for businesses? Do we also do it for the estate tax? Do we also do it for the wealthy?

The answer to that question is no. Only the middle-income worker has their tax cut reduced over the next 5 years, but not so with business, not so with the wealthiest taxpayers in America, and not so, obviously, with the estate tax. So that, I can tell the gentleman, is why I am not nearly as enthusiastic about it as some others would be.

We limit State and local tax deductions, which the middle class takes. We limit the mortgage interest deduction used by homeowners. We eliminate the student loan deduction and we eliminate the medical expense deduction. So if you have a major medical expense, you are going to lose under this bill.

It eliminates the deduction for moving expenses if your employer wants you to go more than 50 miles from your home. It eliminates the deduction for the adoption tax credit. That could be a credit of $13,570 per eligible child that you will lose. It eliminates the deduction for teachers that helps them purchase pencils, papers, rulers, and other materials for students.

It eliminates the deduction for dependent care assistance--a substantial challenge for many of our families in America. It eliminate personal exemptions, which Americans can currently deduct for themselves, a spouse and dependents that grows to the size of the family. If you have a large family, you lose under this bill. If you have one child, the majority leader may be right. When you get to two children, three children, and four children with no deductions, you are going to lose under this bill. That is why I am not very enthusiastic about it.

I tell this leader, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the changes will make me more enthusiastic. Perhaps there will be a recognition that this is not the bill that is going to do what it is purported to do.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I just caution the gentleman on some of the things that he says because I do not want him to end up with any Pinocchios. The gentleman knows my fondness for him. Just today in The Washington Post we had a joint editorial about our trip down to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and to the Keys in Florida.

The one thing I do want to say to the gentleman is I know he mentioned a few people in the very beginning, NFIB, whether they support the bill or not, I say: Just stay tuned.

When the gentleman talks about will there be changes in the bill, this is the process. When you go through committee, do you not want to have the committee to have input?

So there will be some changes. Substantially? No. But I do want to also advise my good friend--maybe I could refer the gentleman to clause 5(a) of rule XXI of the House Rules. That will tell my friend how a bill comes to the floor coming out of the Ways and Means Committee when it deals with taxes.

Now, I know the gentleman talks about debt. I know the gentleman brought up teachers, that it is a $250 tax credit. The only concern I have is that it is only in Washington that they could be opposed to a bill because they think we are eliminating a $250 tax deduction while we are giving somebody $12,000 more tax free. There is a lot more there going around, and I think that is a much bigger gift. If you ask the American public what they wanted, I will guarantee you which side they would pick.

Now, the gentleman talks about debt--and I have great respect for my friend--but just a few weeks ago, the gentleman voted for a budget that called to raise taxes by $3.9 trillion. That same budget would also increase the deficit by $6.8 trillion--that is not what the gentleman said on the floor; that is what he did on the floor--over 10 years. It assumed a $764 billion deficit in 2027.

Now, we had a budget on our side. A budget lays out the framework for the future. The Republican budget resulted in a $197 billion surplus in 2027 and a $2.6 trillion deficit over 10 years. So I am concerned about the budget, and my votes show that. I want to put us on a path where we balance.

We had this debate just a couple weeks ago, and that debate set up the mechanism to go to tax. And the one thing I have learned time and again--and my friend and I have had this discussion--we have got to protect the entitlements for the future, but we know that is what is going to break us if we don't do something about it.

We have got to grow the economy. As we have watched the history of America, every generation has improved on the generation before it. But 75 percent of Americans believe this generation will not.


Because of the last 10 years. It has been our lowest growth that we have seen in decades. We have always averaged more than 3 percent GDP, but we didn't then. We have just gone through two quarters at 3 percent where we had five hurricanes.

I watched the Atlanta Fed look at this and say that we could be above 4 percent.

Do you know what opportunities we have?

So it just won't be the Maryland Fifth District that is getting that money back or the small businesses that are hiring more with that $19,000.

But imagine what that family will do with that $5,000. They will get to determine that. They will buy more than just a pencil. They will invest in their kids' future.

So I think that it is an opportunity for all of us to come together, put people before politics, and let's make sure this bill goes out in a very strong vote.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his remarks.

Mr. Speaker, I heard almost word for word the majority party intone that vision and prediction when we passed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts-- almost word for word. That economic policy stayed in place until 2009.


Because the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. {time} 1145

And what did it bring us?

An almost Hoover-like depression. Not quite, because when we came into office, we invested in bringing back a declining economy.

Mr. Speaker, the majority leader didn't respond when I said the growth of jobs was better in 2016, under Barack Obama, than it has been under Donald Trump.

We are going to have an opportunity to debate this bill, but I will tell my friend, when he says this is the process, the process is going to be that the chairman of the committee will come in with a major amendment to this bill that none of us on this side will have seen, and the bill will be brought to the floor next week.

My friend, the majority leader--and I want to say something: he is my friend, and we do cooperate on a positive fashion--and I disagree strongly on this issue. I am against the creation of debt.

He mentions the budget. Okay. That is a fair point. But I have been pretty consistent throughout my career to join with the Peterson Foundation that says we have got to get a handle on this debt. We have a growing economy and 4.4 percent unemployment. The stock market is going up.

So what do we have here?

An extraordinary stimulus bill with $1.5 trillion, $1.6 trillion, $1.7 trillion, $1.8 trillion of debt, presumably, as the majority leader admits, to stimulate the economy. Very frankly, if Democrats were doing this, we would be savaged by the other side.

We will debate this, and we will look forward to seeing how the bill is going to be when it comes to the floor. Hopefully, we might get the manager's amendment, or, better said, the chairman's amendment, prior to its coming to the floor. I would hope we would have, at least, maybe even 48 or 24 hours' notice of what that amendment is going to look like so that not only [[Page H8682]] we, but the American people, who will have no opportunity to come in and give their opinions or testify, at least they will know what we are voting on. We will try to make sure they know.

One other issue I would like to speak about, Mr. Speaker, before we end, and that is the request that the President of the United States made to us.

He talked about the order issued by President Obama dealing with childhood arrivals who came here as minors, not on their own volition, called DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. There were a number of Republicans who had a press conference today, and they said we ought to pass that bill before the end of this year. I urge the majority leader to pass this bill by the end of next week, before the Thanksgiving break.

This, Mr. Speaker, I believe is an issue on which, as Mr. Barton said, who is one of the senior Members on the Republican side of the aisle, if it is brought to the floor, it would have over 300 votes.

Representative Barton said that, not me. I said that last week. I am glad that Mr. Barton agrees with me.

We need to take care of this issue at the request of the President of the United States, who said: I love these kids. He didn't follow that with: I am not going to send them out of the country. What he said was that they were not protected the proper way and asked the Congress to take care of this.

I have urged the majority leader, Mr. Speaker, for the last 2 months, to bring this to the floor. I know that a task force has been appointed. I don't know that the task force has reached a conclusion, but I would urge the majority leader and Speaker Ryan, who urged the President not to rescind the protection of these young people, urged him not to rescind President Obama's order. But when he did, the President said: I am going to do it because it wasn't done properly. It is the Congress' responsibility.

Mr. Leader, I would urge you to bring to the floor the Dream Act, which is the manifestation of the response to that. There are other options as well. We understand that. But something ought to be brought to the floor so that these young people are not twisting in the wind through Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the country they know. This is the country in which they have been brought up.

When Rush Limbaugh says, “We are not going to send these kids home,” I can't believe that any of us on this floor are going to vote to send these young people home. We need legislation to pass to protect them and to give them the confidence.

There is a wonderful editorial--I urge all of you to read it--from Bob Gates, our former Secretary of Defense under both Presidents Bush and Obama. He wrote an editorial about the thousands of, essentially, DACA children, young people, who have served in our Armed Forces valiantly. As a matter of fact, he said the attrition rate is a lot less with DACA-protected individuals than it is with others.

Bob Gates is right. We ought to act. President Trump, in this instance, is right. It is our responsibility. We ought to act. Fred Upton said that today in the press conference. Joe Barton said that in the press conference. The gentleman from Washington State, who led the press conference, said that.

Mr. Leader, this is an issue I think on which we agree. The tax bill is going to be an issue on which we are in contention. Let's give the American people another example, as we have in the past, of a place where we can work together, get something constructive and positive done for our country and for these young people.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to my friend.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

The gentleman does know that we have put a task force together. I happen to serve on that task force. We have met over a half dozen times.

It is true that when the President made his decision, he made it based upon whether it was legal or not for an action the executive branch took. The courts said it was not. So it was, rightfully so, moved back into this body, which is the legislative body.

He gave us 6 months to get the job done. That i what we are continuing to work on. I look forward to continuing to work with the gentleman to get this done. I believe we will be able to.

There is one point I do want to bring up to points the gentleman made prior. I do know that he is concerned about this.

As the gentleman does know, if we just get 1 percent of growth in the GDP, that will add over a trillion dollars of extra revenue. The Atlanta Fed is already saying we are going to get 1\1/2\ trillion dollars. Who knows how high we can go, but I would never want to put a ceiling on America. I will always bet on America. I just want to unshackle the things that hold us back.

You are correct; you talked about how we now have the lowest unemployment in decades. For the 58th time since the election a year ago, the stock market broke a record. Business confidence is at an all- time high.

Most of that is happening because America has the anticipation of us passing a tax bill. That is why I think this is a moment that will be significant for every Member.

They will look back on their vote for next week as one of the most important votes they would ever take. What is the future you want to have for your children; what is the opportunity you want to give them?

Did you put the rhetoric aside; did you look at the bill based on constitutionality; did you look at the bill based upon your own constituents?

Take your partisan hat off, and when you look at that at the end of the day, if it empowers your small businesses, if it gives every American more money in their own pocket, if the projections are that it is going to grow the economy, do what is right. Do what is right for America, and I believe, at the end of the day, history will treat you well.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his remarks.

I will say on this floor--the fact-checkers check me--millions and millions and millions of middle class taxpayers will get a tax increase under this bill. Check me. Millions of people.

Why do I say that?

The Joint Committee on Taxation tells me that. Other think groups tell me that from the conservative side of the ledger.

So we will argue this bill, but I will repeat again that I have heard that argument over and over and over again. I heard it in 1981, and we exploded the debt. I heard it in 2001 and 2003, and we exploded the debt. We had the deepest recession anybody on this floor who is sitting here now has experienced. I hear it today.

The reason the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is against this is because they believe exploding the debt by another $1.5 trillion will be an extraordinary detriment to our country.

I want to say to every Member, Mr. Speaker, when you get up and say: I don't want to hurt my children, there may be people who get a tax cut under this bill, but I guarantee you the people who are getting a tax increase, in addition to the middle class I have just talked about, are the children. They are going to have to pay off this debt. We will not pay it off.

When you speak on this floor and say it is an immoral act to put our children more deeply into debt, if you believe that, you will not be able to vote for this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. ____________________

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