11.16.17

Peters Floor Remarks on Senate Republican Tax Plan

Peters: “Michiganders - and all Americans - deserve a tax code that is fairer, simpler, and more responsible, not more multi-national corporate giveaways and debt”

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) spoke on the Senate floor today to voice his opposition to the current draft of the Republican tax plan that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans and creates over one trillion in new debt. Below is video and text of his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Watch the full video here

“Mr. President, I rise today to make a simple request of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. When it comes to the tax legislation that my colleagues are rushing through Congress, please, stop, slow down, and start over.

“We need real tax reform with clear policy goals that will make our nation more competitive, not a partisan attempt to pass something – anything – that can get 51 Republican votes here in the Senate.

“Our shared policy goals should be making the tax code fairer, simpler, and fiscally responsible. If we can achieve these goals, that would be real tax reform.

“If we worked together, we could take long overdue steps and build a tax code that lets working families in Michigan – and across the country – 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.

“Fairer, simpler, responsible. Those are three key points to making a tax code that works.

“Mr. President, if we do not start over, I am afraid that the current tax legislation will fail on all three counts.

“First, this tax legislation is not fairer. It dramatically moves towards benefiting the wealthiest people in this nation, with only a sliver of the benefits going to working class families.

“The Republican tax bill was clearly written to cut rates for CEOs and large corporations and treats the middle class like an afterthought.

“I would argue that working Americans are struggling with stagnant wages while the cost of prescription drugs, college, and housing continue to rise, any tax cut should be built around them.

“Instead, we’re looking at a Republican tax plan that repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, a failsafe designed specifically to make sure that wealthy Americans cannot deduct their way to paying nothing in taxes.

“From what little we have seen of President Trump’s tax returns, we know that the AMT is the only reason he paid any income taxes at all.

“Wall Street loves this bill because hedge funds will continue to be taxed at lower rates than small businesses. This means many hedge fund managers making millions of dollars will have a lower tax rate than the office assistant working at their firm.

“Simply put, this proposal fails on the test of making the code fairer.

“I also believe this effort fails on the test of making the code simpler.

“For small business owners back in Michigan, they want to spend their time doing what they know best – running their business – not spending days or weeks doing their taxes. But as many of my colleagues in the Finance Committee have pointed out throughout this week, the provisions for a small business pass-through only serves to make a complicated tax code even more complicated.

“Expert analysis says that the pass-through provisions will require years of rule makings and thousands of pages of rules and regulations. As a small business owner – unless your hobby is studying the Internal Revenue Code – this bill is going to make your life more difficult.

“And finally, on the last test – the test of whether or not this bill is responsible – this proposal fails miserably.

“Writing responsible tax legislation means making hard choices, closing loopholes and balancing out the pros and cons of every action.

“Congress has a responsibility to take seriously the threat of a growing national debt and we have to think about this when changing our tax code. Instead of working to reduce the debt we are already passing onto our children, this proposal adds more than one trillion dollars in deficits.

“And it would be even more expensive, but in a haphazard attempt to limit the cost, the majority has put forward a bill where hundreds of millions of dollars of provisions that middle class families could use to reduce their taxes expire at random over the next few years.

“When you add it all up and factor in the added interest costs on all this new debt, you have a proposal that adds over two trillion dollars to the federal debt, according to the non-partisan Center for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“It is wildly irresponsible to pile on this debt to finance a tax break for the wealthiest people in this nation.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. Tax reform can be bipartisan. The goal of tax reform must be – fairer, simpler, and responsible.

“This isn’t just idealism and wishful thinking, we’ve seen it happen. When Ronald Reagan worked with Congress to pass tax reform in 1986, the bill got 97 votes in the United States Senate – 97 votes!

“That is the sort of bipartisan approach we need. And we need to start working on it now.

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

“I won’t stop fighting for hardworking American families and small businesses who deserve to see more take-home pay, and I hope my colleagues across the aisle will join me.”