Neal Opening Statement on H.R. 6756 at Tax 2.0 Markup
(As prepared for delivery)
Last year, Republicans had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to work with Democrats to simplify our tax code and create a system that truly benefits small businesses. Instead, Republicans enacted a partisan, reckless tax cut for the wealthy and the well-connected.
We’re nearing the end of today’s purely political exercise. We have watched the Republicans double down on their attacks on the middle class by making permanent the limits to the State and Local Tax deduction, the mortgage interest deduction, and casualty loss deductions. We have considered a retirement savings bill – an issue that is of utmost importance to me – where the majority squandered the opportunity to work together to really address this issue of critical importance to so many Americans.
And now, here we are, marking up the third bill in this highly political exercise, legislation that has yet again never received the scrutiny it deserves in a public Committee hearing. Last year we saw what happened with a rushed process that resulted in the disastrous tax law. In almost every stakeholder meeting I take these days, another problem with the law is raised. Yet rather than learn from their mistake, the Republicans are once again moving forward with legislation without the appropriate oversight.
Democrats believe in American innovation and entrepreneurship. Democrats support small businesses who are the backbone of our economy. My Democratic colleagues and I would have enthusiastically and actively participated in the construction of bipartisan legislation to help small businesses deduct more of their startup costs. We are interested in helping idea incubators attract capital in an efficient way.
But that is not the process that the majority has adopted. This exercise, capped off by what appears to be a dead-on-arrival reception in the United States Senate, should tell you how serious the majority is about making law today.
With a scarce few days left for the Congress to be in session, the Republicans have yet to address rising health care costs and how to pay for innovation and value in our health care system. They have done nothing to stop the haphazard and reckless trade policy coming out of the White House. And today, the Republicans are driving these bills down a road to nowhere. If they were serious about helping small business and innovative startups, they surely would not have treated these provisions like an afterthought to their 2017 tax bill.
Mr. Chairman, we can and should work together to ensure that small businesses and innovative startups have the tools to not just survive but actually thrive in this economy. We can and should be better.