**WATCH Senator Gillibrand’s speech on the Senate Floor HERE**
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor today to urge her colleagues to reject the Republican tax plan. Senate Republican Leadership is set to push through this partisan tax bill tomorrow with a late-night vote. The passage of this bill would provide permanent tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans, partially paid for by raising taxes on many American families.
Below are Senator Gillibrand’s remarks as delivered:
I rise to speak about the tax plan that we will be voting on tomorrow – likely in the middle of the night – and definitely without much-needed debate, oversight, and transparency, as it should have.
I think everyone in this chamber agrees that we need to fix our tax system so it doesn’t keep doing so much difficulty for our working families in our states.
If this bill actually did that, it would be real reform, and it would be bipartisan.
However, this plan does not seek anything close to the type of relief that regular working people need.
Instead, what it does is this:
It pays back wealthy donors and lobbyists through corporate welfare. And it does this at the expense of the middle class.
In other words, this is a blatant attempt to take millions of families’ hard-earned money, and hand it over to rich corporations on the Fortune 500 list.
If the Senate actually goes ahead and passes this bill, corporations and the wealthiest one percent of income earners will get massive and permanent tax cuts, and it will blow a $1.5 trillion hole into our deficit.
And make no mistake, three months from now, the Republican leadership will use that new massive deficit as the reason to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Why are Republicans in Congress so determined to provide massive corporate welfare?
Listen to this actual quote from one Republican Member of Congress, which will tell you everything you need to know about who this tax plan is really for.
He said, quote:
“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again’.”
Mr. President, this is Washington’s culture of soft-corruption at its absolute worst.
And now, somehow, after years of talking about it, a massive tax bill has finally made its way to the Senate floor, and after all that talk, it doesn’t even help the middle class.
It does the exact opposite.
Here’s one very simple example that sums it all up: This bill eliminates the deduction for local and state taxes, known as the SALT deduction, which so many Americans need to help them stay afloat.
The SALT deduction prevents hardworking families from being double-taxed on their income.
It has long been our policy that when workers pay their state and local taxes, the IRS doesn’t tax them twice on the same income.
But the Republican tax plan now repeals this. In effect, this plan would make it so that if you are taxed on everything you make, and then you will be taxed again.
Why? Because corporations need a big tax break, to pay the tax breaks for the richest Americans.
In many cases, the SALT deduction makes it possible for families to afford to buy a home, which is usually a family’s largest asset, and it keeps the value of this investment growing.
Eliminating the SALT deduction would hurt New Yorkers. It would hurt millions of Americans. There is literally no other way to spin it.
Mr. President, when the details of this tax plan were released, we started hearing a lot of dredged up old talk about the supposed virtues of trickle-down economics – the myth that if only corporations had more money, it would help American families.
Well we’ve heard this one before. And let’s not be fooled again.
Let’s take a look at the state of things right now.
The biggest companies in America are flush with cash.
The stock market has never been higher.
But cities, towns, and rural areas all over my state have been hit hard, over and over again, by companies that have packed up and left – for cheaper labor and fatter profits abroad.
So then why would we reward them by giving them yet another tax cut that they don’t need and won’t go to their workers?
President Trump’s top economic advisor recently asked a room full of CEOs to raise their hands if this extra cash from the tax cut would get them to reinvest in their communities.
No more than a handful of CEOs in the room raised their hands.
I know a lot of people like to pretend otherwise, but is that really a surprise to anyone here?
In fact, several CEOs have said on-the-record that instead of hiring more workers or raising their pay, many companies will reward shareholders, not workers, by increasing dividends or buying back their own shares.
This plan could not be more misguided because we should be rewarding work, not shareholder value.
Or let me put it another way:
Just yesterday, the Dow broke another record with a new all-time high.
And I’m sure many CEOs will get a massive bonus for that.
But what I want to know is this:
When the Dow broke that record, how many workers on factory floors in Pennsylvania or in New York saw their pay increase?
How many workers in grocery stores saw their pay increase?
How many families in your state were given big pay raises that reflected those historic profits?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
In our economy today, even as corporations are earning more money than ever before, there is essentially no benefit for families. The wealth does not trickle down.
And this tax plan would make that problem even worse.
Mr. President, this tax plan helps the wrong people.
It helps the people and the corporations that don’t need any extra help right now – it ignores the people who do.
We need to start rewarding work in this country again – not doling out lavish tax cuts for giant companies.
And I can’t say this clearly enough to New Yorkers and to hardworking Americans all over this country:
If you are not rich – if you are just a regular, hardworking family – then there is a very good chance that you are going to take a big hit if this bill passes.
So I urge every one of my colleagues to do what’s right for families, and oppose this plan.
Tax reform should never be a partisan exercise.
And we should all agree that our goal should be to help middle-class workers and their families.
So let’s pass a bill that actually does that.
Huge corporations do not need our help. They’re going to be just fine. Instead, let’s finally start rewarding work in this country again.
I yield the floor.