Portman Discusses How Tax Reform Will Help the Middle Class at House-Senate Conference Committee Negotiations
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who was appointed to serve on a House-Senate conference committee that is negotiating the final tax reform bill, delivered remarks during today’s conference committee meeting detailing how tax reform will help the middle class, create jobs, and boost wages for American workers. Portman, who has held six tax reform roundtables in Ohio with local business leaders in recent months, has been vocal on the national stage calling for tax reform, including during recent interviews on CBS This Morning, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, and NBC’s Meet The Press twice, as well as recently in op-eds in the Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Delaware Gazette, and Cincinnati Enquirer. The tax reform effort is widely supported by Ohio small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, and other state and local organizations.
Transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.
“Let me start by thanking you for your civility and your leadership, Chairman Brady. I think everyone around this table would have to agree that, for years and years, we’ve been talking about doing exactly what’s in this bill. We’ve been talking about middle-class tax cuts, and really for the past decade or so, there hasn’t been an increase in wages and yet there have been increases in expenses. Primarily for most families, the biggest expense is health care. And that middle-class squeeze is real. So middle-class tax cuts are appropriate. And that’s in this bill. And we’re going to hear from Tom Barthold in a minute, and I agree with my good friend Debbie Stabenow—the proof is in the paycheck. People are going to see it. They’re going to see it in January if this thing passes. And that’s real.
“The average tax cut for a median family income in Ohio is $2,375. And by the time this conference committee ends up, it may be more than that. And that’s the proof in the pudding. And, you know, we can go back and forth as to whether that’s high enough—earlier someone saying that’s not enough—I mean, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that’s a big deal. And a lot of our constituents are. We’ve also talked for years about a more competitive tax code that enables our workers to compete around the world. And it is irresponsible that here in Washington, D.C. we’ve allowed, for the last 31 years, a tax code that says, you know what, if you’re an American worker, you’ve got to compete with one hand tied behind your back because of our tax code. A recent study came out showing 4,700 American companies have become foreign companies in the last 13 years, because of our tax code, who otherwise would be American companies if we had passed this bill. If we set a competitive rate and a territorial system, they would be American companies.
“So I know there are concerns about is the base erosion tough enough in here? Let me tell you, the status quo is not working. We are losing jobs and investment every day overseas, and American workers are bearing the brunt of that. And the statistics are there. Last year, three times as many companies were taken over by foreign companies as American companies buying those foreign companies. So it’s happening. It’s happening in your district. It’s happening in your state. Companies don’t like to talk about it. But it’s true. And by the way, when they leave, you know what they do? They take their jobs and investment with them. We did a study in the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a bipartisan study, and we have example after example of companies that chose to invert, that went overseas. And they didn’t just go overseas with the headquarters, they took jobs and investments with them. This doesn’t count the bigger problem, which is companies getting acquired by foreign companies. So this is what’s happening. And that’s what this tax reform is intended to reverse. And I believe it will. I strongly believe that.
“We had a bipartisan working group two-and-a-half years ago. There were five of them. One for every area of the tax code. So the notion that we haven’t looked at tax reform, this is new — we've had bipartisan working groups in the Finance Committee. I know you’ve done this in the Ways and Means Committee as well. Those bipartisan working groups came up with different proposals, and on the international side, Chuck Schumer and I co-chaired it, this is where we came out—exactly what this bill says.”