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  • Bonus Depreciation Modified and Made Permanent

    by Representative Sander M. Levin

    Posted on 2014-07-11

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

    Mr. Van Hollen raises such an important point. What is being done here is totally inconsistent, and I will come to that a bit later, but what is really important today about this bill is not what is being done here, but what is not being done here.

    Mr. Van Hollen points out how inconsistent this bill is. But no matter how inconsistent, it is going nowhere. And it should go nowhere.

    Essentially, what it does is to make permanent what has always been considered temporary. Bonus depreciation, which has been temporarily enacted during the previous two recessions to help assist the economy during the short term--that is what it has been--allows companies to write off investments more quickly than normal, providing them an incentive to make capital investments now rather than later. And that incentive actually disappears when the provision is made permanent. That is why CRS has said its temporary nature ``is critical to its effectiveness.'' Secondly, it is unpaid for. Talk about consistency, talk about a budget bill that talks about the importance of deficit reduction, and here you have the Republicans proposing a bill that would add $287 billion in debt. That would bring the total of the bills that the Republicans have brought forth here to over $500 billion.

    When all is said and done, House Republicans will have added more than $1 trillion to the deficit by permanently extending a select group of corporate tax cuts.

    But let me just say I must confess I am amazed at the inconsistency of this position. It was 5 months ago in the chairman's and the Republican Ways and Means draft that they proposed to eliminate this provision entirely. Bonus depreciation was gone. And now they come forth and they say, Let's make it permanent.

    That gives inconsistency a bad name. It is appalling. It is really also dangerous. And let me indicate why.

    The more than $500 billion in tax spending that the House Republicans will have approved today is the equivalent of what we spent last year on all nondefense domestic discretionary spending, which Republicans have cut so deeply in recent years that it is at its lowest level on record as a percentage of GDP. That includes spending for such vital domestic priorities as health research, food safety, and veterans' health.

    Left unaddressed in this approach with the Republicans are key domestic priorities such as the New Markets Tax Credit, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and the renewable energy tax credits.

    So here we are.

    Unfortunately, this bill is going nowhere. There likely will be an extension of bonus depreciation in an extender package, if we ever get to it, but for a short period of time, costing a fraction of this bill.

    So what is really important today is not a bill that is going nowhere--and should go nowhere--but for what is not being done.

    I just want to list what is not being done.

    We have immigration reform. A Senate bill is not being brought up by the House Republicans. On unemployment insurance, a Senate bill providing help for those looking for work is not brought up here.

    The employment nondiscrimination bill, the Senate bill is not brought up here. Paycheck fairness is not bring brought up. A minimum wage bill is not brought up.

    We have the Ex-Im Bank caught in the contest and the conflicts within the Republican Conference. We also have a highway bill we are going to get next week with another patch because of the inability of the House Republicans to face up to the need for a long-term highway bill. And voting rights reform, you have a bill sponsored by a senior Republican in this House, and it has not seen the light of day.

    So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to finish by saying how appalling it is that the Republicans come forth and say, Let's make it permanent, unpaid for, costing $287 billion, when in the proposal that they put forth, this provision would have been eliminated.

    That is 180 degrees in a split second. It just shows, I think, the hypocrisy of bringing this bill up, made especially hypocritical when there has been this utter failure to address all of these other legislative proposals, many of which have passed the Senate.

    So we are going through the motions here today. It is really a sad moment for this institution.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Tiberi), a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Tiberi) control the remainder of the time.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan? There was no objection.

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