National Press Club

Hoyer Says House Will OK Tax Cuts with Amendments

December 14, 2010

Rep. Steny Hoyer

Rep. Steny Hoyer

Photo/Image: National Press Club

Out-going House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the House will pass President Obama’s tax compromise bill, but Democrats will offer amendments to reduce breaks for estates and the wealthy.

At a Newsmaker press conference Dec. 13, Hoyer said that while the middle-class tax cuts will help the economy, breaks for the rich will have minimal value. He was particularly critical of raising the estate tax break to $5 million, which he said exempts “just the 39,000 wealthiest Americans” who “do not need” tax assistance.

Hoyer called recent tax negotiations mixed, adding that “an issue we should all be concerned about is that the wealthiest 1 percent control a quarter of all income.”

Hoyer said U.S. leaders need to look beyond two-year election cycles. “We won’t get to full employment in two years or out of debt in two years. We have to get beyond emergency measures,” he said.

On the recent elections in which Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats, Hoyer said, “Anger must be tempered to not send us to zero gain warfare. Voters want real solutions for growth and debt reduction. Job creation will be the measure of success in the next Congress.”

He praised the work of the president's deficit commission’s work, asserting that “unrestricted debt means skyrocketing costs for health care, housing, college education.” He acknowledged the two sometimes contradictory goals Americans have, “the two main issues in this election,” of debt and jobs. The American people want to solve both.”

In response to a question asking how Social Security has become a symbol of the deficit when the program is actually solvent through 2037 and might only be short 25 percent after that, Hoyer said that was a good point and that Democrats will make sure it stays solvent and that the program “will not be privatized” or weakened.

“Generations have had it for their retirement. Social Security is not the way to save the deficit. We need a more secure Social Security and health care," he said.

-- Bob Weiner, weinerpublic@comcast.net