WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) released the following statement after voting in opposition to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed by a vote of 227 to 203:
“The Republican tax bill is a giveaway to the wealthy that ignores the needs of the majority of Americans and will actually raise taxes on tens of millions households. I have long said that we need reform to make the tax system simpler and fairer in a fiscally responsible manner. This Republican tax bill fails on all accounts. It will explode the national deficit to the tune of $1.5 trillion over the next decade. It adds needless complexity to the tax code with enormous new loopholes. And, in the end, it will give 83 percent of its benefits to the wealthiest one percent of Americans.
“Most prominently, the top tax rate for the rich is reduced from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Giving millionaires a break will not jumpstart our economy, nor will it help the hardworking middle-class Rhode Islanders who will be hit by new restrictions on their ability to fully write off their state and local taxes. The few crumbs that are offered to the working class all expire in a few short years in order to keep the cuts for corporations permanent.
“Big business is the other real winner in the bill. The permanent cut of the corporate rate comes at a time when businesses are sitting on record amounts of cash. Corporations don’t need a handout, they need a more efficient tax code. New rules for so-called pass-through entities will disproportionately benefit complex holding companies like those the President still owns. Gaming the pass-through system is just the first of what is sure to be a bonanza of loopholes Republicans either put in at the request of lobbyists or failed to close in their rush to get the bill passed. We will be paying for these failures for years to come in the form of higher deficits and investments in tax lawyers instead of workers.
“This bill is not only filled with bad tax policy. Despite having failed again and again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are continuing their attempts to sabotage health care markets. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, 13 million Americans will no longer have health insurance coverage as a result of this tax bill. It is unconscionable that Republicans would put the health of their constituents at risk in order to line the pockets of their friends, but that is exactly what this bill does. And, because it is not paid for, Republicans face an immediate Medicare crisis of their own making, with $25 billion in cuts now scheduled for next year. We cannot cut vital programs like Medicare and Social Security, yet that is exactly what Republicans intend to do as they try to deal with the trillion dollar hole in the deficit they’ve created.
“Republicans are jamming this legislation through Congress at a record pace in order to further their partisan agenda instead of working across the aisle to craft an equitable tax code for all Americans. Our country is in need of fair tax reform, and the bill that was passed today completely fails in achieving that goal.”