Pelosi Floor Speech on Republicans’ Job-Killing, Seniors-Betraying Budget

Oct 27, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor on the House of Representatives to express her opposition to the Republicans’ job-killing, seniors-betraying budget which paves the way for the GOP billionaires-first tax plan.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman from Kentucky [Congressman Yarmuth] for yielding.  I particularly want to recognize his extraordinary leadership as the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.  As we all know, the budget should be a statement of our national values.  What is important to us as a nation should be reflected in how we allocate our resources. 

Again, a statement of values – who better to manage all of that in this Congress of the United States than Mr. Yarmuth, who brings his values, his heartland priorities to the budget process and I thank him for the leadership he has provided.  Sadly, though, I rise in opposition to what the Republicans have proposed: a devastating Republican budget – the first step in the GOP’s dangerous plan to fast-track their immoral tax framework to hand trillions of dollars to the wealthy while increasing taxes on working American families. 

The Republican budget and tax plan cruelly rigs an unfair system even further against hard-working Americans.  It cuts a raw deal for families in every corner of our country.  Democrats have a Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.  

But right here, before our eyes, in this House, Republicans are replacing the great ladders of American opportunity with the silver spoons of plutocracy and aristocracy.  Their agenda raises taxes on the middle class – that is the fact.  Tens of millions of middle class families will pay higher taxes including a heavier burden for state and local taxes.

On that subject of SALT, it might be interesting to our distinguished colleague Mr. Scalise – and isn’t it a joy to see him in the debate on the floor?  In his state of Louisiana, 48,000 people will lose nearly $7,000 – an average of nearly $7,000 more by losing their deduction.  And Congresswoman Black from the great state of Tennessee, 573,960 people will lose their deduction – the filers will lose their deduction, around $5,600 a filer. 

Not only that – if that isn’t bad enough for assaulting the dream of home ownership in our country by attacking the deduction.  This plan that the Republicans propose has been estimated to reduce the value of people's homes by 10 percent.  You not only are paying more money in order to give a tax break to the wealthy and to big corporations, you are reducing the value of your home, and by the way, your neighbors' homes as well.  So with all of the unfairness in it, the one that is most understandable to people directly is how it affects them, and in that case, 44 million Americans will pay more because of what the Republicans have in their plan. 

So it raises taxes on the middle class, particularly with the assault of the SALT, State and Local Tax deduction removed.  And by the way, another by the way, if you're a corporation, your reduction is not removed, just if you are an individual filer.  So again, an advantage to corporate America at the expense of America’s working families. 

Next, it borrows trillions from the future to give tax cuts to the wealthiest.  80 percent of the tax cuts in this Republican proposal go to the wealthiest 1 percent.  80 percent go to the wealthiest 1 percent at the expense of America’s working families and children. 

The budget on the Floor today reveals the true cruelty behind the Republicans' tax plan.  What words will be best to use for it?  It's looting the middle class, massive looting of the middle class.  Rip off of the middle class – you know what, there are many middle-class people.  So you take some money from all those middle-class people and those who aspire to it so you can give lot of money to the few. 

Big sucking up of assets from the middle class to the wealthy, that's what they're here for.  It's in their DNA, trickle-down economics, it's in their DNA.  That's what the Republicans come here to do, and that causes a deep, deep addition to the national debt. 

They're supposed to be deficit hawks, but I think they've become an endangered species because they don't seem to care that this, with the cuts that they're making, the tax breaks they're giving to corporate and wealthy America, will cause over $2 trillion – not counting service on the national debt which would take it closer to $3 trillion.  That's a very hard road to come back from.  

And as our distinguished Ranking Member [John Yarmuth] has pointed out, the opportunity cost in the budget, whether it's a trillion dollars from Medicaid, half a trillion dollars from Medicare, funds taken from education, the seed corn of America’s preeminence in the world – why?  To give a tax cut to the high-end, and they'll say, ‘oh, the growth will come from this, will pay for that.’  Never has.  Never has. 

Don't take it from me.  Bruce Bartlett, who was one of the orchestrators of the supply-side economics said, ‘We never said it paid for itself.’  To anyone that ever says it does, it's not true, it's nonsense.  He went further to call it B.S.  As I said, it ransacks Medicare and Medicaid, adding trillions to the debt and tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest.

Looting the middle class.  Shaking down the middle class.  Ripping off the middle class.  Increasing the taxes of the middle class.  So it devastates vital investments, as our distinguished Ranking Member said, good paying jobs, higher wages for working families, education of our children, the health of our working families.

It really is a good example of when they say Medicare should ‘wither on the vine’ in keeping with their trickle-down economics, Medicare should wither on the vine, because they will take half a trillion dollars from Medicare in their budget that will follow.  So Republicans will harm veterans, rural America, seniors and children, again, all in the name of fast-tracking trillion dollar tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent. 80 percent! What more do you need to know?  80 percent goes to the wealthiest 1 percent.  Again and again on the Floor, the Republicans have tried to tilt the playing field against hardworking families.

This is really quite remarkable though.  This is a great transformative moment for America where we can reject this assault on the middle class, this addition to the national debt, and instead say, let’s go to the table and work in a bipartisan way to truly reform our tax code so that we can be competitive in the world, so that families can thrive, that they can have the deductions that are fair for them and need it, and not taken away from them, but not taken away from corporate America.  So we stand ready to go in a bipartisan way to work to do this.

Any tax cuts, this is tax cuts for the rich.  This is not tax reform.  This is not tax reform. Any tax cut and any agenda like that has to be bipartisan in order for it to be sustainable.  So let’s come to our senses here.  Common sense says – well, mathematics says – if you take a lot of money from many people to give it to a few, you are exacerbating the disparity of opportunity, equity, income in our country.  This is a wrong thing to do.  It’s not what our values are about.  It’s really a shame that they would they would even bring such a document to the floor.

Anybody who lives in a district where their deductions, the tax deductions, for state and local taxes are taken away from individual filers, but not for corporations, as the bill determines, to the tune – I can read you all the statistics across the country about how devastating this is. As our own governor said, how could they do that to our state or any state without the Department of Finance of our states saying, wait a minute, understand what this does to the economy of our state.  Understand what this does to our individual filers in our state.  Who said that this document that came over in the Senate should have such a devastating impact on states?   Members are coming to the floor and endorsing it.  Some say, oh, I’m just voting for the budget.  But it isn’t really, no.  You are putting your name next to taking deduction of homeownership, of state and local taxes away from your constituents.

They’re going to know that.  I would rather you reject this.  We don’t want a political argument.  We want to protect the American people.  That’s why I hope everyone here would come down in favor of the middle class and reject this assault, this rip-off, this shakedown of the middle class that the Republicans have on the floor, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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