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Pelosi on AMT Bill: 'We're Going to Give Tax Relief to 23 Million Americans'

Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening on H.R. 4351, Alternative Minimum Tax Relief, which passed by a vote of 226 to 193.  Below are the Speaker's remarks:

'I associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Neal when he extended his compliment to Mr. McCrery.  He is a wonderful Member of Congress and we're sorry to hear of his announced retirement.  He will be missed here.

'I listened attentively to Mr. McCrery's comments, and I want to speak to them because I think they pose the question that this House has to decide upon this evening very clearly.  Mr. Rangel and Mr. Neal have given us the opportunity here tonight to send a clear message to the American people that the leverage in this country has changed to the middle class now, instead of protecting the assets of the top 1 percent in our country.

'Mr. McCrery says to give a tax cut, to prevent a tax increase, we're going to increase taxes.  'Hello?' he said, 'Hello?' Hello, Mr. McCrery. Yes. We're going to give tax relief to 23 million Americans and approximately five to ten thousand Americans will be paying the tab. And they will be paying the tab because this legislation closes a loophole. 

'Closing the loophole for these hedge fund CEOs who have taken their profits off-shore to avoid taxes, this is called tax evasion, and this loophole closes that. So yes, tax relief for 23 million families, 10,000 or fewer people paying the price.  What is the alternative? To borrow.

'Happily my colleagues, for those of you who may not know, I got my seventh grandchild this weekend. And as it is with grandchildren, you always think of the world in which they will live. And what we are doing, the fiscal soundness in the country in which they will live. So what we're saying to this baby, this newborn baby that we have a choice here tonight.  We can either close the loophole of tax evasion for the wealthiest people in America in order to give tax relief to 23 million families in America. Five to ten thousand get an increase, 23 million get tax relief. 

'Or we can say to the little baby, and all the little babies born across Americaand all of our children: 'You are going to pay the tab because this money will be borrowed, probably from a foreign government, possibly from China. 50 billion dollars. 50 billion dollars. Put that on your tab, little baby, because you are going to be paying that price for a long time.' 

'So it's either the American taxpayer and future generations suffering if we go the Republican route, or it will be fairness, a new principle in tax policy in our country. The choice is clear. We choose tax relief for 23 million families with 10,000 or fewer people paying the tab, the wealthiest people producing billions of dollars, once their loopholes are closed in order to foot the bill, or passing this onto our children. 

'I wonder if our colleagues would be willing, when we talk about AMT, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and paying for it or any other issue, when we try to pay for it, if they would be interested, when they suggest that we not pay for it, that they would be willing in the same vote, to vote to increase the debt ceiling because that is exactly what you are proposing: 'Let us not pay for this, let us increase the national debt in order to give comfort to people who are evading their taxes by going offshore to the tune of billions of dollars.' 

'So I think what the Ways and Means Committee has done is masterful. It's a mystery to me why it isn't bipartisan and I hope that the bright light that we can shine on it tonight will encourage the Senate to support this legislation. Not to pay for the AMT middle class tax relief is really a hoax on the American people.  I know that in the course of the debate, my colleagues will make that clear.

'Let's make this the Children's Congress.  Let's vote for this important legislation.'