Hoyer Slams Tax Extenders Deal

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) took to the House floor on Tuesday to assert his opposition to a potential tax extenders deal, citing a recent piece by CRFB president Maya MacGuineas to back up his opposition.

He cited a large increase in deficits that would result from the package and the double standard between spending and tax cuts when it comes to offsets, an argument also made in a recent letter by a group of Senate Democrats.

The cost of such a package runs in the $600 - $800 billion range – none of which is paid for, ballooning our deficits in a way that reinforces a misguided double standard that investments in the growth of jobs and opportunities must be offset, but tax cuts are always free.

He went on to quote CRFB President Maya MacGuineas on the burden the deal would pass on to future generations:

In a Wall Street Journal piece last Monday, Maya MacGuineas, a good friend of mine and president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, asked, and I quote: "How do we explain to our children that we borrowed more than $1 trillion – counting interest – not because it was a national emergency or to make critical investments in the future but because we just don’t like paying our bills?"

Hoyer again quoted MacGuineas, reiterating the point that tax breaks that are worth extending should be worth paying for:

There are certainly components of this tax-extenders package that I, as I said before would like to make permanent. I wish we could make them even better, in fact.
For instance, the child credit should be structured to keep up with inflation so that those working the hardest to get by don’t continue to see their resources dwindle year after year.
Maya MacGuineas highlighted this important point in her op-ed, writing: "Most of the extensions under consideration are sensible enough policy – and their merit is an argument for paying for them."

Hoyer also spoke about how the extenders deal will make tax reform more difficult and undermine efforts to make entitlements solvent in the future. You can read his full remarks here, or watch the speech here.

We agree with Hoyer that not offsetting the cost of a tax package would be very bad news for deficits and debt. We have previously written that in a worst case scenario where temporary policies are also continued permanently, the deal could cost $4.1 trillion over the next 20 years.

We applaud Hoyer for taking a strong stand for fiscal responsibility. We hope other policymakers do the same in the coming days.