U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky released the following statement on Monday after
voting against S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The measure passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 269 to 161.
“Given the massive deficit our country faces, this bill is abjectly
inadequate. It defers decisions we should make today until tomorrow,”
Visclosky said. “At a time when our economy is again faltering, it
eliminates vital investments in our economic infrastructure due to our
inability to address long-term problems. It provides continued funding for
two wars leaving the defense industrial complex untouched. It is unjust to
the next generation by not taking action now to ensure the long term
continued solvency of Social Security and Medicare.”
Prior to the vote, Visclosky spoke on the floor against the bill. A sampling
of his remarks:
“(A)ny serious proposal to reduce the deficit must be comprehensive, and
address all spending programs, including domestic discretionary spending,
defense spending, as well as entitlement spending, such as Social Security
and Medicare, and the other half of the equation, taxes and the inequalities
in the tax code,” Visclosky said from the floor.
Visclosky in particular recommended raising the “so-called ‘tax cap’ on
employees,” which he said “would extend the solvency of the program past
2057.” While Visclosky does not advocate raising the actual Social Security
tax rate, he does believe that “the Social Security tax should be paid on
all wages” as this “would create a more equitable system without changing
“Similar changes can be made to Medicare to ensure its long-term solvency
and its existence for future generations,” Visclosky added.
“Which brings me to the most contentious side of the equation, taxes,”
Visclosky remarked. “Let me first remind my colleagues that, currently, tax
revenues are around 14.8 percent of GDP, the lowest it has been since 1950.
But what makes our current tax code so abhorrent is not that the fact that
it is unsustainable, but the fact that it is disparately unequal. For
example, from 2008 to 2010, 12 corporations, including Wells Fargo and
General Electric, made a combined $171 billion in profits, but paid no
federal corporate tax as a result of a convoluted tax code, while my
constituents were paying their income taxes. Further, last year the top 25
hedge fund managers alone had combined incomes of $22 billion yet they paid
a lower tax rate than a firefighter from Crown Point, Ind. Where is the
outrage over a tax code that allows Wall Street to pay a lower tax rate than
a person risking his or her life for our safety?”
Visclosky’s full remarks on S. 365, which were submitted for the
Congressional Record are at