Schumer Remarks on the Unveiling of the Senate GOP Tax Plan

November 9, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today delivered remarks at a press conference regarding the unveiling of the Senate GOP tax plan. Below are his remarks:

So our message is very simple: House suburban Republicans beware, they are setting you up for a big fall.

The fact that the Senate bill, by every report, is going to remove the entire deduction for state and local deductibility pulls the rug out from any House Republican who thought they might be able to hide behind the compromise – the so called compromise - which doesn’t do that much good, it is chopping off three fingers instead of five. But the Senate says, ‘We’re going to chop off all five fingers!’ And you can be darn sure, given the deficit problems that the Senate has, that when it goes back to the House, they are not going to go back to any compromise.

So if Virginia wasn’t a lesson to suburban Republicans in the House, the Senate bill sure should be. And it says that you are in big, big trouble if you vote for this bill, and that is what we are telling people. They are expanding this bill, all we have here. They’re having a rough time putting this thing together. The 11:30 deadline passed and now we just have this, which isn’t very clear on what they’re doing, but we all know, like the House bill, it will favor the big corporations, wealthy individuals, and do harm, or nothing much, for the middle class.

That is not what the American people want. The Senate doesn’t trim state and local deduction, it doesn’t tweak it. It completely eliminates it. So the Senate Republicans are completely pulling the rug out from under their colleagues who represent suburban districts in the House.

The House bill – we’re now telling our House colleagues that the handwriting is on the wall – the state and local deduction is gone. If Republicans have their way then your only chance to stop it is by voting ‘no’ next week on the House bill on the Floor, because once they pass it in the Senate with an elimination of the whole deduction, you can be darn sure it will go right back to the House with the full deduction in it, and the House Republican leadership, and all the big special interests who want all these tax breaks, the wealthy special interests will say, ‘Come on, you can’t mess this up now! Vote for it. 

I’ve said that to a couple of my New York colleagues personally, including one who was very much for the compromise—I know you’ll ask me who, but you’re going to have to guess—and I think they’re getting it.

What we need here is the kind of tax reform we did in ’86, a process, regular order, hearings, scores, debate, amendment. You cannot pass a major bill like this in the dark of night without any discussion, without any amendment, and not hurt a whole lot of people, and not be surprised by what else will be in the bill.

I guarantee you, if they pass this bill this way, and I hope they don’t, in February, March, April, you will be writing stories that say ‘Woah, look what was in the bill, and no one knew.’ That’s just how taxes and tax bills are.

And one more point I would make, again, we Democrats are happy—eager to work with our Republican colleagues on a fair bill that helps the middle class, that goes through regular order, and that keeps the deficit in line.

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One other point I want to make here, where again our Republican colleagues are missing the boat. They say, ‘Oh boy, if we don’t pass this tax bill, we will lose in the election, because it will show we can’t get anything done.’

That may be true, but this bill is a lose-lose for them. They lose if they pass it. They lose if they don’t pass it. But they lose if they pass it, because this is going to hurt them throughout America.

The rollout of this bill has been a disaster for them. This was their best legislative foray. You’d think the first week or two, there’d be shining lights and praise everywhere. Instead, the minute the bill came out, the focus on middle-class tax increases started and has grown into a crescendo.

So the bill is not a success for them, and they lose if it fails, they lose if it passes. There’s only one good path out for them; work with us on a good bill.