Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the legislation passed by House Republicans to help wealthy tax cheats and corporations and their plan to vote on a 30% national sales tax. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
In no time at all, the House Republicans are off to the rockiest start of any new majority in recent memory.
Have you ever seen anything like this? We aren’t even a month into the new Congress, and already the House GOP has shown the American people they’ve been consumed by chaos, paralyzed by division, and held captive by the most extreme elements of their conference.
On their first day of voting, the very first day, House Republicans decided their first order of business as the new majority was to pass legislation making it easier for ultra-rich tax cheats to escape accountability. Amazing. That’s their first thing. And at the same time as they did that, they would blow a hole, a $100 billion hole in the deficit. Because according to CBO, the amount of money brought in to the federal treasury by closing some of these loopholes against tax cheats, very wealthy tax cheats, would far exceed the expenditure made for the new IRS agents. The deficit would come down if we pass this legislation; for all the talk on the other side on we've got to bring down the deficit – not when it comes to closing tax loopholes of the ultra-rich! And corporations that pay smaller percentage than most Americans! Wow.
Apparently, cutting taxes for mega corporations and the 1% was not enough for Republicans five years ago; they did that in the Trump tax bill. Now, they want to make things easier, even easier, for tax cheats.
And then, a few days later, the House Republicans doubled down on their war on women by passing measures that will undermine women’s freedom of choice. Make no mistake: these bills will never see the light of day in the Senate. But again, the extreme, the extreme MAGA fringe element of the Republican party seems to be controlling the whole entity. We hope that doesn't last for long.
We, in the Senate, will serve as an inextinguishable firewall and stop the anti-women, anti-health, anti-choice bills in their tracks.
So right off the bat, the House Republicans are showing us exactly whose corner they are in: the ultra-rich and the fringe elements of their party.
Now, make no mistake: Democrats want to work with a competent and capable Republican party wherever possible, to make life better for average Americans. Democrats are united in this commitment, because we all saw firsthand how bipartisanship was the key to so many of last year’s successes.
Later today, in fact, I will join President Biden, Leader Jeffries, and a number of Senate and House colleagues precisely to talk about how we can turn our unity into action to help the American people.
House Republicans, meanwhile, seemed trapped in a cycle of extremism so powerful that now they’re even giving proposals like a national sales tax serious consideration.
According to some House Republicans, House Leadership has agreed to give GOP radicals a vote on a 30% national sales tax on all goods across the board.
That means right now, as inflation finally begins to drop, Republicans are looking to make Americans pay 30% more for everything they buy.
Look – if Republicans want to have a debate with Democrats on their national sales tax bill, we’ll be happy to have it.
We’d love to hear Republicans explain to the American people why it’s a good idea to send prices skyrocketing on everything from cars to groceries to diapers and everything in between.
We’d love to hear Republicans tell seniors why their expenses would go up by a third, after they spent a lifetime saving for retirement.
And we’d love to hear Republicans explain to middle class families why their taxes would increase by thousands of dollars a year, while the ultra-rich see their taxes go down.
If Republicans want to push this terrible proposal, they’re welcome to make their case. Make our day.
I think many within the Republicans’ own ranks recognize that a national sales tax is especially a dim-witted idea. Grover Norquist, whose ideas on tax are far away from most Americans, and he’s one of the most conservative voices out there. He called it a “terrible idea.”
Even Steve Forbes said this would make the average new home in this country cost $100,000 more. Young family: you want to buy a home? Some of our Republican friends want to add a hundred thousand dollars to the cost of buying that home. And, of course, it would raise Americans’ bills by thousands more.
And yet, despite the insanity of this idea, the House Republican GOP Leadership has bent to the MAGA wing of the Republican Party and promised a vote.
If this is how House Republicans want to spend their time – taxing middle class families, attacking women’s freedom of choice, giving cover to tax-cheats – be our guest.
And once again, this is the central quandary of the new Republican majority. By bending to the demands of the MAGA hard right, Speaker McCarthy has guaranteed that Republicans will have to constantly cater to the whims of the MAGA wing, at the expense of the American people.
Now, we will be a firewall against all of these things, and I'm sure the American people are glad that we have a Democratic majority in the Senate to stop some of these rather insane proposals.
Because when extremists run the show, as it seems to be happening in the House, it makes it nearly impossible to have serious-minded, constructive conversations on the big issues that matter.