Chesterton Tribune

Visclosky votes against House debt bill

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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 any benefits.”

“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


Posted 8/2/2011