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Floor Speeches

The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012

Mr. PASCRELL. I think that this is a very important amendment. We talked about reining in tax cheats, and that's what we're talking about here. Given the relationship between offshore tax avoidance--and we've seen chapter and verse of how people avoid taxes--I want everybody in this room to understand when they avoid taxes that means those who pay taxes have to pay more to make up the difference. We're talking here about a billion dollars to help tackle the Nation's deficit and debt if we follow up on the specifics of this legislation.

We have tax avoidance, and I don't think anybody supports tax avoidance unless you like being taxed more yourself. Tax evasion, the actual attempts to avoid paying specific taxes--in other words, you know what the law is--evasion is a very conscious act, whether it's done by an individual or a business.

Money laundering, we have heard that phrase, which is referred to many practices and activities, that's serious business.

As my brother from Staten Island remembers, the FBI looks into a lot of money laundering. You worked for the FBI and did a stellar job. Money laundering is critical. When money is laundered, the average American gets hurt and the specific connection is very, very ominous.

This is a natural fit, Mr. Speaker, to combat financial crime.

Treasury could prohibit U.S. banks from accepting wire transfers or honoring credit cards from banks found to significantly hinder U.S. tax enforcement. We all support, I would hope, in this body, enforcement of the tax law. As much as we have derided the IRS and its efficiencies and proficiencies, think if we had fewer people in the IRS overseeing these transfers. I don't recommend that; I don't recommend that at all.

This amendment will give the Treasury greater power to fight against offshore tax havens and tax cheats. The counter-argument, my friend, through the Speaker, from New York, I want you to pay particular attention to this. This is my final point.

You can say you're giving the government more power. Why are we so frightened to give oversight to government? This is what got us into a big jam in the last 20 years when there was very little oversight over financial transactions.

We need to have more power for the Federal Government to fight against offshore tax havens and tax cheats because the bottom line is, if we don't, then more of the burden is placed upon us.


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