Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Opening Statement at Tax Scam 2.0 Hearing

Sep 13, 2018
Press Release
Pascrell Opening Statement at Tax Scam 2.0 Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), New Jersey’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee, issued the following opening statement at the meeting to consider Republicans’ second tax scam intended to enrich big corporations and wealthy GOP donors at the expense of middle class Americans.

Full text of the statement is below. Watch his full comments here.

In 2026, the year in which the new Republican tax legislation will still having an effect, that’s the first year in which all members of the baby boomer generation will be eligible to draw Social Security retirement benefits. It’s also the year that the older baby boomer will turn 80.

So now what we’re looking for is, and I agree with Mr. Reed and those who brought this up, what are you going to cut in order to make up for what you’ve done?

It’s pretty bad to listen to both sides. Well, we start by cutting by Social Security – that’s already been proposed. Medicare, Medicaid – that’s already been done.

So what do we have? Caddyshack 2, Weekend at Bernie’s 2, Jaws: The Revenge. The sequel is just about never as good as the original. In this case, I sure hope this Tax Scam 2.0 is just as popular as the first one.

Thirty-four percent popularity. I can’t imagine anyone in the movie business backing a sequel to such a flop.

Consider this headline. Fox News poll. “Voters like Obamacare more than GOP tax cuts.” Even guys and gals on our side find that funny to say.

That’s right – a majority of all Americans now approve of the Affordable Care Act. I’ll let that sink in a minute.

Maybe that’s why New Jersey Republican Rep. Leonard Lance last week called this new attempt an “exercise in futility.”

He’s not the only one. Another headline from this week: “Republicans Consider Dropping Second Phase of Tax Cuts After SALT Backlash.”

So why exactly are my Republican colleagues bringing up this bill today? What problem is this tax bill trying to solve?

Consider the original Tax Scam, way back in January. The GOP saw that corporate profits were at historic highs. And they concluded, “Not high enough!” – that we need to shower big business executives with lavish tax breaks.

They came in and saw that middle-class families were struggling with healthcare and housing costs and said, “Let’s make health insurance costlier! Let’s make homeowners pay more taxes!” by eviscerating the individual mandate and capping the SALT deduction that goes back to the Civil War! Not the Code – you’re wrong!"

Now, they see how unpopular their first go at tax cuts was, so and say “Let’s do more of the same!”

But why would this time be any different? Paul Ryan and the President said when they passed the tax scam that the average family’s wage and salary would go up by $4,000. He said it, I didn’t.

Wages are down for most workers. Only about one percent of workers are getting a wage increase. The Republicans only come up with $4,000 figure based on the flawed assumption that workers would successfully bargain for a bigger share of profits from corporate productivity.

But that hasn’t happened for forty years! Republicans have waged an all-out war on labor unions and collective bargaining rights. What power do workers have to bargain for higher pay? Official data shows that workers’ wages are flat or even slightly down, in real terms, over the last year.

While corporations reap historic profits, their gains have not trickled down to regular workers. In fact, this tax bill has only made it harder for them to get ahead.

Companies aren’t investing in employees or innovation. Another headline: “Trump Tax Cuts Have No Effect on Most Businesses’ Hiring Plans: Survey.”

Corporations are spending 101 times as much on shareholder bonuses as they are on workers’ bonuses and wages.

Telling us to wait, telling workers to wait, but they didn’t raise wages. They simply passed the tax cuts from the U.S. Treasury straight to their wealthy shareholder’s pockets. Big pay day for them, with the rest of us left holding the bag.

I’m afraid this sequel is just more of the same failed, “trickle-down economics” that has never worked before. In fact, I’d rather watch Weekend at Bernie’s 2 again than watch this sequel.

We have real, urgent problems facing working people in this country. But we are looking the other way to give Republican donors and corporate executives more and more breaks. Pretending this helps the working people of this country is an insult.

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