Thursday morning, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) called Republicans out on the House floor over their hypocrisy in making unpaid for tax credits permanent while refusing to pass long term unemployment insurance.
The Democrat thundered as Republicans sought to make permanent unpaid-for tax credits, “The inability of the House Republican Majority to take action to help our recovery, bolster small businesses, and grow our economy has resulted in smoke and mirror votes like the ones before us today. They want to signal that they support small business, but their action is so inconsistent with their past positions that it is rendered hypocritical.”
Instead, Levin charged, they are making permanent unpaid for tax cuts (S Corporation (H.R. 4453) and Section 179 (H.R. 4457)) that will increase the deficit going on $1 trillion, “When all is said and done, Republicans will be well on their way to increasing the deficit by $1 trillion. And we all know where it will lead – to future Republican demands to cut vital domestic priorities that have been on the chopping block for the GOP: funding for education, public health, transportation to name a few.”
Republicans get away with things like claiming they are for small businesses and pretending their unpaid for tax cut ALEC legislation is for mom and pops because of things like this. The tax bills, credits, mark ups, etc. are confusing. They aren’t easy to pick apart for a bumper sticker accusation without risk of making it appear as Democrats do not support the tax credits.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Democrats support the tax extenders being considered for small businesses but they don’t support the fact that these measures are unpaid for on a permanent basis. They have been increased since 2003 as part of “stimulating the economy” but Republicans are making them permanent and unpaid for. Levin reminded them, “When these expansions were first enacted in 2003, House Republicans noted that these expansions ‘reflected the need for an economic stimulus and growth package.'”
This is a large part of what contributed to the huge deficit Bush created — lack of revenue.
“The measures in front of us today add up to $75 billion in deficit increases. When you add in the R&D credit that passed the House last month and the eight other provisions that have moved through Ways and Means, it adds up to $614 billion, unpaid-for and permanent.”
Levin explained that the measures will be extended again, addressing Republican claims that businesses need “certainty” (presumably people do not need certainty or Republicans wouldn’t continue with tax breaks while refusing to aid children and veterans to the degree necessary in tough economic times). He added, “And if Republicans had any interest in working on a bipartisan basis on comprehensive tax reform we could discuss how best to make a stimulus effort a long-term part of the tax code. The S corporation provisions will be extended.”
Levin pointed out that the President has already said he would veto the Republican approach of permanent, unpaid for tax cuts, hence the body is not making “law”. If they were there to make law, they’d take up the bipartisan Senate bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Levin called Republicans out for violating the very budget they all champion, “Chairman Ryan put forward a Budget Resolution which the Republican Majority passed through this House. That Budget that you all voted for stipulates that any change in tax law must be offset. These bills of course shred that principle.”
Isn’t it odd that Republicans insist they must impose austerity on the people because DEFICITS!!! And yet, when their corporate masters call, they can add close to 1 trillion dollars to the deficit without blinking — and in relative secret, as they aren’t making law. Levin was not impressed, “And, the final hypocrisy is one that really hits home for 3 million unemployed Americans. The Republican Majority insists that unemployment insurance be paid for, but when it comes to tax cuts, they can simply be added to the deficit.”
The kicker: “The bill before us today is seven times more expensive than the cost of extending federal unemployment insurance for the remainder of the year – and I should note that we have already agreed to offset the cost of such an extension.”
“(W)e (Democrats) won’t be silent in the face of Republican hypocrisy on display today. What they’re doing today is reckless and irresponsible.”
Reckless and irresponsible? Yep. That’s our House Republicans.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.