Rep. John Lewis' Statement on the Ways and Means Committee's Passage of Republican Tax Cut Legislation: A Missed Opportunity
WASHINGTON — This afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee passed unprecedented tax cut legislation. As the only Georgian serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Lewis tracked all Committee votes and amendments to ensure that public received timely information. Following the completion of the four-day markup, Rep. Lewis made the following statement –
“Thirty-one years ago, I was elected to serve in the United States Congress. I watched from afar as the Ways and Means Committee Members spent thoughtful days, months, and years studying, learning, and working together to develop historic tax reform legislation. They were a model to my entire class as we took our oath of office in January 1987. Their example inspired me to work hard for an appointment to the Ways and Means Committee – the oldest standing Committee in the House of Representatives.
“This week, Ways and Means marked up a bill that is a shame and a disgrace to our predecessors and the legacy of our Committee, which is responsible for the core constitutional responsibility of the Congress – the power of the purse. It is a duty which I do not take lightly.
“For 16 years, the United States has been engaged in two wars, and for the first time in our nation’s history, the Congress failed to develop a way to pay for them. The bill does nothing to support the programs and services upon which veterans and military families — who make daily sacrifices — rely. Instead, this tax cut bill pays for these wars on a credit card. The debt will be passed on to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. This legislation’s failure to face this truth is disgraceful.
“As people in Metro Atlanta began to study the bill and calculate the costs, my office began receiving frantic phone calls and emails. The public learned that the Republican tax cut bill would penalize students, seniors, the disabled, immigrants, and home owners. Faith leaders and charitable organizations would be unwillingly pulled into politics. Workers would lose employer support for training and education benefits, and the major community development, housing, transportation, water and sewer, and health programs upon which Metro Atlanta relies would suffer irreparable damage.
“Earlier today, I introduced ten Missed Opportunities bills that require Federal agencies to report the cost of this dangerous, mean-spirited, and irresponsible legislation to Metro Atlanta and our nation. It is clear that this Republican Congress has no intention to do tax reform. Instead, we are considering a tax cut bill, which picks winners and losers. We need to be honest with ourselves and the American public about what this bill will mean to people today and to generations yet unborn.”
Rep. John Lewis' Missed Opportunities bills address Veterans Affairs, Low-income Housing, Science and Engineering Research, Public Health and Biomedical Research, Student Debt and Possibilities, Career and Technical Education, Education, Youth Jobs, Surface Transportation, and Aviation.