Statement ● Education
For Immediate Release: 
May 20, 2015
Contact Info: 

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to House Republicans’ partisan COMPETES Act and unpaid-for R&D tax credit bill. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.

Click here to watch the video. 

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which is an attempt to disinvest, in my view, in research, innovation, and education at a time when we ought to be investing in those areas even more greatly. This bill places our competitiveness at serious risk over the long-term.

“The public must be awfully confused, I understand, by both sides claiming that they are enhancing research. Many interest groups, however, disagree with our Republican friends. I had hoped this year's COMPETES legislation would have been written so we could continue the tradition of strong bipartisan support it received in 2007 and 2010.  Overwhelmingly, Republicans voted for these bills – initially and the reauthorization. Unfortunately, the severe cuts and partisan policy changes [this bill] makes precludes that from happening.

“Republicans who wrote this legislation have decided that they know better than America's scientists and innovators. They arbitrarily pick and choose research programs they like at the expense of those they ideologically oppose – in other words, not peer review but political review – and they cut key areas of research far below the levels appropriated for Fiscal Year 2015, including the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and R&D for renewable energy technologies.  How ironic that we have an R&D bill on the Floor, and they are cutting R&D technology here.

“Furthermore, this bill would slash our investments in the cutting edge ARPA-E program by 50%, which funds high-risk and high-reward research in energy technologies that might not otherwise be pursued.  Now, of course, if global warming is not an issue, who cares.

“Though called the America COMPETES Act, it really ought to be titled the ‘Everyone Else Competes Act,’ because it will cause us to fall farther and farther behind our overseas competitors, who are already far outpacing us in how much they invest in science and technology research.

“Alongside this bill today, the House also is considering a bill that tries to do something that many of us agree ought to be done, but it does it in a fiscally irresponsible way. I am opposing and urge my colleagues to oppose making the R&D tax credit permanent because we ought to pay for it, Mr. Speaker, not make our children and grandchildren pay for it.

“Over and over and over again, Republicans claim that the tax cuts that they are passing will pay for themselves. I came here in 1981. That was the claim. Under President Reagan we increased the debt 189%. Now Bush did better after 2001 and 2003; he only increased the deficit 87% or almost three times that it increased under President Clinton. And none of the tax cuts ended up paying for themselves, and [former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan] Greenspan said so.

“Since the beginning of this Congress, Republicans have brought to the Floor and passed nine tax cuts. It's so easy to vote for tax cuts. It is so hard to pay for what we're buying. And that is why we have a deficit, because we do not pay for what we buy. Today, the House is being asked to vote on another unpaid-for tax extender that on its own would increase the deficit by $182 billion. That's a total of $586 billion – over half a trillion dollars the Republicans are proposing to add to the deficit this year. 

“We’ve heard Republicans argue that making the R&D tax credit permanent would benefit the economy. They’re right about that, and I support the R&D being made permanent – if we pay for it. That is a principle the American public expect us to pursue.  Many Democrats agree as well. However, what will be an even greater benefit to the economy is for Congress to set aside the misguided mantra that tax cuts pay for themselves and instead put America's fiscal house in order. Let's start a real conversation about fixing our broken tax code in a fiscally sustainable way.  Passing this R&D tax credit will undermine that effort.

“I'm urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who care deeply about fiscal sustainability, about tax reform, and about economic competitiveness to oppose these bills.”