Videos & Speeches

Just a few moments ago, we cast several votes in regard to the so-called payroll tax holiday. I opposed both the Republican and the Democrat amendments. There are significant differences between these two versions, mainly in the way the provisions are paid for. And while I supported the pay-fors in the Republican plan, I objected to what the pay-fors were paying for.

I support freezing Members of Congress’ pay, eliminating certain benefits for millionaires, and reducing the federal workforce. But wouldn’t it be better to use these savings to reduce the debt and deficit rather than make a short-term change that reduces the revenues going to the Social Security Trust Fund? When are we going to admit that we are broke?

I’m reminded of a plan approved by Congress several years ago where we borrowed money to give citizens a $600 rebate, all in the name of a stimulus. We wanted to stimulate the economy, and in my view we stimulated little and increased the debt a lot.

Many of us have expressed support for the concepts contained in the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan. Their recommendations are very important, and we’ve paid a lot of attention to them and expressed our desire to proceed in that way many times. But the legislation that we just voted on uses many of their suggested reductions in spending, not for deficit reduction but for another stimulus plan. The Bowles-Simpson plan has been hijacked once again in the name of stimulating the economy.

These proposals also undermine the foundation of Social Security by reducing the payments into the Trust Fund. We should leave the Trust Fund alone and cut spending and use those savings to pay down our annual deficits and live within our means. Once again we are putting off difficult decisions and leaving it up to our children and grandchildren to pay for our irresponsibility.

Finally, let me once again make the case for certainty in our tax code. Congress is tinkering tonight with the tax code, creating greater uncertainty. In almost every conversation I have with a business owner they ask for certainty in the tax code and certainty in the regulatory environment. But instead tonight we are attempting to change the tax code once more for a short period of time, claiming some benefit for doing so. Instead, we should focus on long-term tax policy and develop a tax code that is simpler and certain. Certainty is something that will create jobs.

I expect there to be some criticism of the votes I just cast, and I can hear the campaign sound bites, but we have got to get beyond the next election and get to the next generation.