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Chris V.
Democrat MD 8

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  • Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015

    by Representative Chris Van Hollen

    Posted on 2015-02-12

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    VAN HOLLEN. I thank my friend from Michigan.

    Mr. Speaker, things are not always what they seem, and this is one of those cases. It is unfortunate because tax incentives for charitable giving are the kind of issues we should be handling in a bipartisan way. We should be working together in a bipartisan manner to reform our Tax Code and this as part of that.

    Unfortunately, we are not doing that today, and this bill along with the series of other bills that will be coming to the floor in the days to come will add $350 billion to our deficit over the next 10 years.

    Mr. Speaker, most of the bills that are coming next are permanent extensions of tax breaks to major corporations. In the process, they don't pay for any of that. They don't close a single corporate tax loophole to provide those tax breaks.

    Now, Mr. Speaker, I am holding in my hand the budget that Republicans passed in this House just a year ago. Now we have the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means--he was chairman of the Committee on the Budget, a good friend of mine. In their budget last year, they said they would not do what they are doing today. They passed a budget saying they would not have tax extenders that added to the deficit. I am reading right here from the budget that I think passed unanimously with Republican votes. It says they will only do these tax extenders if such measures would not increase the deficit for the period of fiscal years 2015 to 2024.

    Here we are, less than a year later, throw their budget out the door. Why did it matter? Because last year they wanted to pretend their budget was in balance after 10 years, and they knew that if you had these tax extenders that were unpaid for, they wouldn't have a balanced budget. It wasn't balanced anyway, but no matter, that is why they did it.

    Now, why does this matter beyond the fact that the Republican majority did one thing last year and is doing something different today? It matters because when you increase the deficits, our Republican colleagues are going to come right back around to us and say: You know what? The deficits are going to go up, and so we have to cut some of the investments that are supposed to help vulnerable people--the very people our Republican colleagues say they want to help today. They are going to say: Deficits are going up. We have got to cut those programs.

    You know how we know that? Even before they increase the deficit like they are doing today, they were cutting those investments last year. In fact, while they are claiming to fight hunger today, here is what the budget from last year did: it would have cut the food and nutrition programs by 20 percent, $137 billion. That would have ended nutrition assistance for 3.8 million Americans.

    Now, I heard one of my friends and colleagues, Mr. Roskam from Illinois, saying Democrats are opposing this.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

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