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Richard N.
Democrat MA 1

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  • American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015

    by Representative Richard E. Neal

    Posted on 2015-05-20

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    NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.



    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill? Mr. NEAL. I am opposed to the bill in its current form.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to recommit.

    The Clerk read as follows: Mr. Neal moves to recommit the bill H.R. 880 to the Committee on Ways and Means with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendment: Strike section 2 and insert the following: SEC. 2. NO INCREASE IN DEFICIT OR DELAY OF COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM.

    Nothing in this Act shall result in-- (1) an increase in the deficit, or (2) a delay or weakening of efforts to adopt a permanent extension of the research credit in a fiscally responsible manner.

    SEC. 3. TWO-YEAR EXTENSION OF RESEARCH CREDIT.

    (a) In General.--Section 41(h) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ``December 31, 2014'' and inserting ``December 31, 2016''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by this section shall apply to amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2014.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 5 minutes in support of his motion.

    Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this bill in its current form, and I want to remind my colleagues that this will not kill the bill, nor will it send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will proceed immediately to final passage as amended.

    Well, we are 6 months into the new Congress; and what do we hear from the majority? It is more of the same, more of the same assurances: Trust us on tax reform; it is on the way.

    First, it was: Do not introduce tax bills. Trust us, tax reform is on the way.

    Then it was: If we make some extenders permanent, trust us, tax reform is just around the corner.

    The new refrain is: If we want to fix the highway trust fund, let's do tax reform at the same time.

    Mind you, we have just voted to extend the highway trust fund for the 33rd time, and in December, we will most likely vote to extend the R&D tax credit on another short-term basis. Let's stop playing these games.

    By the way, when my friend from Texas talked about Democrats extending the deficits, did he forget that Bill Clinton left us with four straight balanced budgets, and in 8 years, they wrecked the trajectory of those balanced budget with $2.3 trillion of tax cuts? That is the reality. When I heard him say the Democrats ran up the deficits, I guess they forgot there was a President George W. Bush in between.

    What do we do here? We do the estate tax repeal. That takes care of 5,400 families in America. How universal is that? If we weren't doing the estate tax bill--repealing it, by the way--then what we could have done was perhaps extend and agree upon a robust R&D tax credit, which you all know I support. How about, for 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 years, put it in line and let private investment build around it? If you are from Massachusetts, obviously, you are for a more robust R&D tax credit. Who in Massachusetts could be against that? World class universities, hospitals, businesses, incubators--we produce some of the highest and best tech advancements in the world. Kendall Square in Cambridge has the highest concentration of R&D in the whole world.

    We know this credit is vital to keeping America at the innovation forefront, and we know that the start-and-stop nature of this credit has put a damper on the willingness of firms to invest because they don't know if the credit is going to be gone tomorrow.

    Now, a chance to point something out that I think bears noting, as a percent of gross domestic product, research and development now is the lowest it has been in decades. Why is that? Because of the rejection of science on my Republican friend's side, private sector R&D is way down.

    The encouragement in the Tax Code is simply to buy smaller companies, merge, and take advantage of the innovation they have done. There is the opportunity here to build something around the R&D that we should be taking advantage of here today, but we are not doing that because of the notion of having rejected this science.

    The fickle nature of Congress toward this credit is attributable to one fact: we have not reformed the Tax Code since 1986. Now, Congressman Brady wasn't even born the last time that we did tax reform 30-some odd years ago. He was but a wish in a couple's eye. That is how dated this argument is.

    He said: Why can't we agree on some things here? There are some things we can agree upon: Barack Obama was not born in Kenya; secondly, and just importantly, there is no imminent invasion of Texas that is being planned; And third, very simply, the tax cuts don't pay for themselves. They have to score some place.

    {time} 1515 We are taking up the time today debating this extender--or extenders--when we should be talking about tax reform that works for the middle class, a tax reform that does not reward investment; instead, we are doing this hodgepodge effort on tax extenders that really make no sense. Guess what, come December, we are going to be right back here on this floor tackling the R&D credit for another year or two.

    Now, before they say to me, Mr. Neal, you are wrong, I certainly have been right in the last two cycles about what happened as to where we ended up with tax extenders. The President has already said he would veto a permanent R&D at this point, and I understand the whole nature of why we need to do talking points.

    I would submit this to my friend, Mr. Brady, and he is my friend, and we work together on many pieces of legislation. Why don't we commit ourselves to building an R&D tax credit for 10 years, so it can be built into the investment code of the American entrepreneur, so they know precisely what [[Page H3419]] is going to be out there, instead of taking this tactic today that is never going to see the light of day as we go forward? This Congress could have been spending its time today talking about income disparity, downward pressure on wages, robotics, and what is putting the American worker behind the curve of opportunity; but, no, we can't do that. We spend our time instead on these sorts of arguments.

    I hope that we can send this back to committee and come up with something that we can all live with.

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

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