Senator Stabenow releases opening statement on Republican Tax Bill

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WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, today delivered opening remarks at the Committee markup of the Republican tax bill. 

Stabenow’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, may be found below released from the Senator's office.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

“There’s no question: we need tax reform that creates jobs, incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to America, helps small businesses, and puts more money in the pockets of middle-class families in Michigan and across the country.

“If that was the bill in front of us, I would enthusiastically support it.

“However, that is not what is in the Republican bill. Instead, it’s the same trickle-down scheme that’s failed every time it’s been tried. 

“And we know that, between the House and Senate bills, millions of middle income Americans will actually get a tax increase! 

“Since 1979, we’ve seen huge gains in the stock market, and wages for the top 1% have grown by 138%. But middle-income families aren’t feeling it.

“In fact, the vast majority of American workers have seen their wages stagnate or even go down.

“Profits have gone up, but not paychecks.

“Now our Republican colleagues have promised these same hardworking middle-class families that by once again giving the top one percent and the largest corporations huge tax giveaways, workers will magically receive $4,000 … $7,000 … even $9,000 raises.

“Well, Mr. Chairman, the proof is in their paychecks.

“There is absolutely no evidence from past supply-side tax giveaways that they result in hiring more people or raising workers’ wages.

“We’ve heard these same trickle-down promises before. Just think back to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

“My colleagues from across the aisle said on the floor of the Senate that the Bush tax cuts would ‘aid the people and businesses who make up our economic machine and get it moving down the tracks at full speed again.’

“Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The train derailed. Growth was almost nonexistent, and the deficit exploded. Middle-class families saw little lasting benefit.  

“But the huge deficits were used by the Republicans as the reason they then wanted to privatize Social Security.  Which, fortunately, Democrats stopped.

“Economist Bruce Bartlett served as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

“Last month, when asked if tax cuts pay for themselves through greater economic growth, Mr. Bartlett had some strong words, and I quote: ‘That’s a lie. It’s always been a lie. … There’s not one iota of evidence that will support this argument.’

“He added: in fact, ‘wages fell for 10 years after enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.’

“There’s another part of what’s happening now that is very concerning to me. 

“The recently passed Republican Budget Resolution makes it clear that after passing the huge trickle-down tax giveaways and increasing the debt by at least $1.5 trillion, the next step will be to use the newly-created debt as an excuse to cut Medicare and Medicaid! In fact, almost $1.5 trillion in cuts is in their budget!

“There is also another very recent example of the failure of this supply-side approach to tax reform.

“In 2012, our former Senate colleague and now Governor Sam Brownback promised the people of Kansas that giving huge tax giveaways to large corporations and the wealthy would supercharge the state’s economy. Unfortunately, It did not.

“The State of Kansas’ bond rating fell, they were 48th out of 50 in job growth, and they had a $900 million budget shortfall, which caused some communities to cut school to four days per week in order to balance their budgets.

“The people of Kansas revolted. Early this year, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature reversed most of the tax giveaways.

“In other words, middle class families were sold a bill of goods and were left with a mound of debt.

“Michigan families deserve a $4,000 … $7,000 … even $9,000 raise. Republicans have made these promises.

“I believe these promises should be kept.

“But if this trickle-down scheme fails again and middle-class families just get mounds of debt and cuts in services, I believe Congress should commit to stopping the tax giveaways, just like they did in Kansas.

“I am going to offer a number of changes that will ensure that the benefits of these tax cuts go to middle-income families and that the promises being made to them will be kept.

“And if my Republican colleagues are serious about putting more money in the pockets of the middle class, I urge you to join me.

“For hardworking families in Michigan, it’s real simple....The proof is in their paycheck.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”


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