December 19, 2017

Senator Warren's Remarks about Tonight's Vote on the Republican Tax Bill

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor in advance of tonight's vote on the Republican tax bill. The full text of her remarks, as prepared for delivery, is available below.

Remarks by Senator Elizabeth Warren
*As prepared for delivery*
December 19, 2017

Today is a terrible day. It's a terrible day for the millions of working families in this country who just want Congress to work for them.  A terrible day for millions of people who just want to get on with their lives and not have Congress cost them even more money.

A terrible day for millions of hard working people, but it's a great day for giant multinational corporations and billionaires who fund Republican campaigns across the country.  Today is their day. Every fundraiser, every fat check from a billionaire, and every champagne and caviar party has been about getting to this day - the day when the politicians they put in charge of Washington would pay them back with a $1.5 trillion giveaway.

Supporters of this bill call it tax reform. It's not tax reform. It's a heist.

A heist that steals from millions of middle class families and hands that money over to the wealthy.

A heist that will hurt Medicare and Social Security and reduce health care coverage by thirteen million people in order to hand money over to giant corporations already rolling in profits. 

A heist that will hurt our economy and blow a hole in our national debt.

The American people have seen through this scam.  They see through every lie:

They know this bill doesn't provide "middle-class tax relief" - it ultimately raises taxes on more than 60% of working families in this country.  

They know this bill doesn't "promote economic growth" - non-partisan projections have shown it will have a negligible impact.  Even former Republican officials admit it. 

They know this bill won't "raise wages for working people" - corporate CEOs have already said so.  Those CEOs have told everyone who would listen that when they get their truckloads of money from the GOP tax bill, they will turn right around and funnel that money to their wealthy shareholders.

They know this bill isn't even to help Americans. A third of those shareholders who will get truckloads of money from the GOP bill don't even live in the United States.  

Over the last month and a half, we've all watched as one Republican Senator after another has cast aside every single one of their supposed principles to get behind this monstrosity of a bill.

Real relief for the middle class? Gone.

Concern about the national debt? Gone.

Concern about economic growth? Gone.

Now, there's only one principle left - reward billionaire campaign donors.  

This is not a conspiracy theory. It's not a partisan attack. It's what Republicans in Congress are saying, in public, to reporters. As one of my Republicans colleagues said in a moment of honesty, if they don't pass this tax giveaway bill, "financial contributions will stop." A Republican House member said big donors told him to pass the tax bill or "don't ever call them again."

Let's call that out for what it is:  Government for sale.  

That's how you end up with a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to corporations at a time of record corporate profits.

It's not supposed to be this way. Congress is elected by the people. It's supposed to represent their interests, not those of the people and companies rich enough to fund campaigns. And boy is there a lot of work for us to do.

Over the last thirty years, corporate profits have skyrocketed while wages for working people have been flat.  But even though corporations - not families - have been getting richer and richer, Congress has forced families to pick up more and more of the cost of our military, our roads and bridges, and our schools.  

Corporations used to pay about 30% of the cost of running the government - now it's under 10%.  But today, the politicians who run Congress will slash corporate taxes even more and shift more of the burden onto working families.  Working people pay more so that giant corporations can pay less.
There's no better example of this than this bill's treatment of Wells Fargo.  Last year, we found out that Wells Fargo had opened millions of fake accounts so that executives could goose their sales numbers, drive up stock prices, and rake in bigger bonuses.  And it turns out Wells Fargo has also charged half a million customers for auto insurance they didn't need, which meant a lot of people, including soldiers and sailors and Marines, got their cars repossessed.  

Pretty sleazy, huh?  But instead of holding them accountable for cheating their customers, this Congress is on the verge of passing a tax bill that will shower more free money on Wells Fargo than any other bank in the country.  That's right. When this bill passes, the "punishment" for Wells Fargo cheating millions of Americans will be a big, gift-wrapped present worth billions of dollars in tax giveaways.

This tax bill is shameful - and it's the result of a shameful process.  No hearings on a bill that overhauls the tax code and shifts around trillions of dollars.  No input from a single Democrat.  No time for vetting by actual tax experts.  

Big-time donors are happy-very happy-with this outrageous tax heist.  

But the American people are angry. And they are right to be angry. Over and over, again and again, they watch this Congress ignore their pressing problems -

  • ignore children's health insurance, 
  • ignore flat wages, 
  • ignore an opioid crisis, 
  • ignore hurricanes and wildfires, 
  • ignore working families that are ripped apart by greedy policies built right here in Washington.

Over and over, again and again, they watch instead as Washington jumps to do more favors for billionaires, for giant companies, and for campaign donors.

Today is just one more terrible day for hard working Americans. Just one more terrible day in Washington where government works great for those at the top and won't lift a finger to help anyone else.

People's anger is understandable. I share it. Sooner or later, a reckoning is coming. And I will promise you this. When it does - when the politicians who lead this Congress and vote for this tax heist are held accountable for turning their backs on the American people who sent us here - then we will be the kind of country we want to be. Then we will be the kind of country we were meant to be:  a democracy where everyone, even the richest and most powerful, pay a fair share-and where we all work to build a future for all our kids.