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  • America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015

    by Representative Sander M. Levin

    Posted on 2015-02-13

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    LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Last year, as we remember so well, Republicans reacted to the tax reform proposal from then-Chairman Dave Camp with a ``blah, blah, blah, blah.'' That reception, echoed in the overall chilly reaction of the Republicans, stemmed in part from that plan's honesty.

    Chairman Camp had pledged not to increase the deficit with his proposal. To achieve that goal, he played it straight--at least within the first 10 years. He proposed a tax on banks that drew cringes from his fellow Republicans. He put forward a surtax on the highest earners--essentially, a third tax rate. And he eliminated one of the most widely used provisions in the Tax Code: the State and local sales tax deduction. In the process, he paid for making permanent tax provisions like the bill before us today, this single piece of legislation costing about $80 billion alone.

    Like it or not, it was at least somewhat honest accounting. And so started a Republican ploy to get around the hard realities of tax reform. The gist of that ploy: take a number of provisions separately, make them permanent, and don't pay a dime for them. Not a dime. The reason? The expectation of needing to raise less revenue in tax reform would allow Republicans to more easily cut tax rates.

    Republicans feared that by trying to pay for their tax cuts--and they still do fear this--by shifting to the highly uncertain dynamic scoring may not be enough. So they are further trying to rig the system with baseline games and making permanent tax provisions outside of tax reform.

    Not having to pay for $800 billion worth of tax extenders made permanent would make it easier for Republicans to lower taxes, especially on higher income taxpayers, carrying out further their trickle-down tax policies. It would allow them to avoid having to end the abuse of tax savings and incentives to ship jobs overseas.

    By massively increasing the deficit--this is so important--through permanent unpaid-for tax revisions, Republicans could later cite this debt that they created as a reason to take a hatchet to programs like Head Start or fail to adequately fund the vital research at the National Institutes of Health. The President blew the whistle on that scheme--the rigging of the system and sound policy--with support from Democrats. Last year, the ploy was stopped in the Senate.

    But here, House Republicans are going at it again--before even hinting, by the way, what tax reform might look like; there is no H.R. 1 for tax reform this session--throwing to the wind the statement of the chairman of our committee, Mr. Ryan, about trying to find common ground on common aspects of tax reform, at the same time betraying the GOP preaching on fiscal responsibility.

    As chairman of the Budget Committee, Mr. Ryan never assumed tax extenders would be a permanent part of the Tax Code. Otherwise, he would never have been able to say he balanced the budget in 10 years.

    So what the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is proposing now is the opposite of the approach he pursued as the chairman of the Budget Committee.

    The bill before us on section 179 addresses an important subject. It is primarily available to small and middle-sized businesses. It will likely be part of any tax reform. And until then, it will be renewed. That is certain.

    Republicans control this House, and they control when renewal would occur, absent tax reform, but this provision deserves not to be left out of a tax reform process. It should give careful and comprehensive consideration of all the tax provisions in our Code.

    So maybe the best way to expose this Republican gambit is for editorial writers to use their pen and for others to [[Page H1043]] use social media, tweeting to Republicans this message: Stop your efforts at congressional alchemy.

    Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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