September 15, 2021
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the $3.5 trillion plus tax and spending spree. This “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to raising taxes and creating new government spending and regulatory programs is an existential threat to America’s fragile economic recovery and future prosperity, and will hamstring America as we work to compete globally, especially with China. No member of Congress can achieve the support of the business community if they vote to pass this bill as currently constructed. The Chamber will include votes on this legislation in our “How They Voted” scorecard.
To put the size of this legislation in context, $3.5 trillion is more than twice the combined annual budgets of all 50 states. This bill would only exacerbate the inflationary pressures that are already raising prices for American families, with the inflation tax falling especially hard on low-income Americans.
The $3.5 trillion figure likely severely undercounts the true cost of the current proposals working their way through the House. Various policies are arbitrarily sunset or delayed in their effective date to obscure the true price tag of all the policies being proposed.
The proposed tax increases are equally massive. For example, the increased revenue proposed to be paid by corporations is a 25% increase over current law. These proposals would cost your constituents their jobs and America its leading position in the world. The international tax provisions would result in American companies paying higher taxes than what is imposed by China and other countries. We would return to a time of corporate inversions and U.S. firms being acquired by foreign competitors.
Not only employers would bear the burden of higher taxes. The analysis just provided by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation shows that the proposals being put forward in the Ways and Means Committee would reduce the taxes paid by income brackets below $200,000 in 2025 but, beginning in 2027, increase the taxes paid by every income bracket above $30,000. Americans will rightly ask if this legislation is a bait and switch.
But it isn’t just the tax and spending proposals that are problematic.
The pharmaceutical price controls that have been proposed would, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, result in approximately eight fewer drugs being introduced to the U.S. market over the next ten years and 30 fewer drugs over the subsequent decade. America may miss out on the next vaccine or treatment for the next pandemic because of these short-sighted policies.
Anti-energy provisions in the bill would increase the cost of energy for all Americans and could lead to energy supply shortages and power outages. Simultaneously, the legislation would block American production of minerals essential to expanding renewable electricity generation, increasing electric vehicle production, and moving forward with domestic research and development.
The proposal would abandon the current retirement systems in favor of a government-knows-best approach that could result in fines of up to $3,650 per year for America’s smallest employers. The bill would overturn nearly 90 years of labor law to tilt the playing field in favor of unions by threatening employers of all sizes with bankruptcy-inducing civil penalties.
It is practically impossible to detail the number of problematic policies included in this massive bill. No member of Congress, let alone the public, can comprehend or explain all the various proposals that have been thrown into this bill. This is no way for Congress to legislate.
There is a better way. We urge the House to halt consideration of this bill and instead follow the model that led to the development of the bipartisan infrastructure package by identifying key, discrete priorities and developing responsible means of financing those priorities.
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO
U.S. Chamber of Commerce