Mitch McConnell: Remarks on Tax Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for tax reform:
“During the eight years of the Obama Administration, our economy failed to live up to its full potential. Meager growth rates. Wages that failed to keep pace. A decline in opportunities. Middle-class families were hurting, and they needed policies that would allow the economy to grow again — unfortunately, the last administration often gave them the opposite.
“Some were sins of commission, like making things worse with an aggressive regulatory rampage. Others were sins of omission, like failing to address an outdated tax code that has made American companies increasingly uncompetitive in a global economy — and, as a result, has moved investment and jobs offshore. Then in November, Americans chose to go in a different direction. They elected a pro-growth President who would sign legislation from a pro-growth Congress. Ever since, we’ve been working to turn the tide back in favor of the middle class.
“We’ve undertaken what’s been described as the ‘most ambitious regulatory rollback since Reagan.’ We’ve pursued policies that can once again encourage job growth and American investment. And, just last week, the administration and congressional leaders — and most importantly the chairmen of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees — issued a joint statement outlining shared principles for unleashing the American economy through comprehensive tax reform.
“Comprehensive tax reform represents the single most important action we can take now to grow the economy and help middle-class families get ahead. It’s no secret that the current tax code is overly complex, highly punitive, and makes it harder for individuals and small businesses to succeed. Fortunately, we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fundamentally rethink it. It’s been over three decades since that last happened. In the years since, the international economy has only grown more competitive. American workers and American businesses have only found it harder to keep up with foreign contenders. Put simply, the rest of the world is running circles around us in this area, making it more difficult for American firms to hire, invest, and compete.
“The time has come to fix this so we can help our economy grow and help the individuals and families we represent realize their true potential. For families, we want to make their taxes simpler, fairer, and lower. For small businesses, we want to provide the conditions they need to form, invest, and grow. For all American businesses and their employees, we want to ensure they have the best chance to compete with foreign companies — and succeed. And we want a tax system that encourages American companies to bring jobs home again.
“These are some of the key goals of tax reform. They sound like goals we should all share, regardless of party. For years, the tax writing committees have focused on this subject — holding hearings, soliciting input from stakeholders, considering the views and priorities of members both on and off those committees. They are eager now to begin the process of developing tax reform legislation that achieves the shared goals I outlined above.
“As the administration and congressional leaders stated, ‘We have always been in agreement that tax relief for American families should be at the heart of our plan…And we are now confident that…there is a viable approach for ensuring a level playing field between American and foreign companies and workers, while protecting American jobs and the U.S. tax base.’ Our expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on both the House and Senate floor.
“There is a great deal of bipartisan consensus about what ails our tax code, and my hope is that our friends on the other side of the aisle will join with us in a serous way to address it. Because the American people deserve a tax system that works for them instead of against them. They deserve a tax code that encourages companies to bring jobs home instead of encouraging just the opposite. Americans deserve true comprehensive tax reform.
“I appreciate the good work of our colleagues in the administration and by Members in both chambers already to get us there, particularly Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch. Chairman Hatch has been working hard with his fellow Finance Committee Members — Senators from both sides of the aisle — for years on this issue, and he continues to lead the way today. Under his leadership and the leadership of Chairman Brady in the House, Congress’ tax-writing committees will advance these principles through regular order so that members on both sides of the aisle will have an opportunity to participate in this historic effort — if that is what they choose to do.
“This won’t be an easy process, but the people we represent are depending on us for help. Now is the time to deliver tax reform, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to accomplish it.”