Peters Floor Remarks Calling for Bipartisan, Fiscally Responsible Tax Reform That Helps Middle Class Families

Peters: “A trillion and a half in new debt for our children is not fiscally conservative, it is fiscally irresponsible.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) spoke on the Senate floor today in opposition to the Senate Republican Tax bill that will balloon the national debt and disproportionately benefits corporations and the wealthiest Americans more than middle class families. Below is video and text of his remarks as prepared for delivery:

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“Today, we are debating legislation that will dramatically reshape the American economy. It was written – and continues to be re-written – in secret, by only one party.

“It didn’t have to be this way. Done right, this process could have had broad bipartisan support. We could have passed tax legislation that was fair, that was simpler, and that was fiscally responsible. We could have passed tax legislation that truly focused on middle class families and helped to raise wages.

“Instead, you have a bill that fails – dramatically – on every single one of these principles.

“This bill fails in so many different ways, I think it’s helpful to talk about each myth that’s being told.

“First, let’s dispense with the myth that this is a middle class tax cut.

“The bill makes dramatic – permanent – cuts to corporate taxes, while making small, temporary changes to the taxes of middle class families. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, for many working families, the tax changes are less than $100 per year – or more simply put – about two dollars a week. 

“That is not a middle class tax cut. That is a myth.

“The second myth that we hear is that the corporate tax cuts in this bill will “trickle-down” and raise the wages of average workers. If that were true, we would probably hear some of these CEO’s delivering the good news to their hardworking employees. But, it’s not true. It’s a myth.

“We know this because the CEO’s themselves are telling us what they will do. Yes, they are actually telling us, and it isn’t raising wages. They have been clear, they are going to use the money that this tax bill gives them to buy back shares of their own companies to boost stock prices, and they are going to increase payouts to wealthy shareholders.

“CEO’s are telling the White House this directly. At a November 14th gathering of CEO’s with Gary Cohn – the White House’s top economic advisor – the room full of executives were asked who would take the money from the tax cuts and invest it back into their businesses. Only a couple raised their hands.

“They weren’t up because they have no reason to lie, their intentions have always been clear. They are going to take the money the tax bill hands them, and reward their executives and their wealthy shareholders.

“Again, we know this is going to happen, because CEO’s are telling us it is going to happen.

“And the bill keeps getting worse. We are hearing this myth that these tax cuts will pay for themselves, they won’t.

“After years of telling the American public how important it is to address the debt and deficits, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are now going to pass a bill that dramatically increases deficits.

“Non-partisan analysis shows that this bill will inject one and a half trillion dollars of debt onto our economy, debt that my Republican colleagues should prepare to accept as their own creation if this bill passes.  

“A trillion and a half in new debt for our children is not fiscally conservative, it is fiscally irresponsible.

“It didn’t need to be this way, we could work together to build a tax code that lets working families in Michigan keep more of their hard earned money, levels the playing field for our small businesses, and keeps good jobs here at home in the United States.

“Michiganders – and all Americans – deserve a tax code that is fairer, simpler, and more responsible, not more multi-national corporate giveaways and massive new debt.

“This bill clearly fails on all these points, and I urge my colleges to vote no.”