[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 38 (Friday, March 21, 1997)]
[Pages H1281-H1282]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Gingrich] is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GINGRICH. Mr. Speaker, I want to take just a few minutes of my 
colleagues' time to talk about taxes, budgets, and saving Medicare, 
because this week I seem to make a great deal of news saying something 
that I thought actually was rather commonsensical and exactly fitting 
where the Republican Party has been.
  I began on Monday by being on this floor for the first time in a long 
time laying out a Republican agenda which I believe in deeply, which 
had as one of its items balancing the budget, one of its items cutting 
taxes so Americans have more take-home pay and more economic growth, 
and one of its items saving Medicare.

                              {time}  1315

  When I came off the floor I chatted with several reporters and said, 
I think what is vital is that this year we balance the budget, we save 
Medicare, and we cut taxes so people have more take home pay, so 
parents have more money, so we have more economic growth, but that the 
precise way we do it is less important than getting it done, that the 
important thing, whether it is all done in one big bundle or whether it 
is done in a series of steps, is that we get it done. In that 
conversation I said, we should clearly vote on tax cuts before the end 
of the year.
  Now, let me make clear my position. I began running in the 1970's. I 
was one of the early cosponsors of the Kemp-Roth bill. I believe in 
cutting taxes, increasing incentives. I would like to eliminate the 
capital gains tax so we have the maximum savings and the maximum 
investment to create the best jobs to have Americans have the best 
incomes in the world. I would like to eliminate the death taxes because 
I think they are wrong. I think it is wrong to punish a family 
financially when they are already in pain. And I think if you have 
already earned the money and paid taxes on the money, the Government 
should not revisit it and you should not have to sell your family farm, 
you should not to have to sell your small business just to pay the IRS. 
I believe the IRS is too big. I have gone everywhere in America and 
made a speech that said, when there are 110,000 Internal Revenue agents 
and there are 5,500 Border Patrol and there are 7,400 Drug Enforcement 
Administration agents so there are 10 IRS agents for every person 
guarding the border so we cannot protect you from illegal drugs and we 
cannot stop illegal immigrants but we can audit every small business in 
America, there is something wrong. We ought to end the IRS as we know 
  So I am deeply committed to lowering taxes. I favor a big debate 
between Steve Forbes and Majority Leader Dick Armey, who want a flat 
tax to replace the income tax, and Chairman Bill Archer and Dick Lugar 
and others who want a sales tax to completely eliminate the income tax. 
I think the Republican Party should be committed to a 2- or 3-year 
effort to educate the Nation, have the Nation decide, how do you want 
to replace the current code, which way do you want to do it. How do we 
dramatically shrink the IRS.
  I led the effort to say that I thought that the Internal Revenue 
Service proved, when their $4 billion computer program did not work, 
that maybe the problem is the Internal Revenue Code is so complicated 
that if the government cannot understand it for $4 billion, you should 
not expect the average citizen to understand it.
  The only question I raised was this. We saw in the last 2 years some 
people use Medicare as a political tool. It was wrong. We saw some 
people deliberately scare senior citizens and it was wrong. We saw 
people say, well, Republicans want to cut taxes and they want to save 
Medicare and there was promptly, let us link them together.
  So my position is simple. I think the best, safest thing we could do 
for America and for our senior citizens is let us get to an agreement 
on Medicare. Let us get it done and let us get it off the table so 
there is no question we did it to save Medicare. We did it to save our 
parents and grandparents. We did it to save our children and 
grandchildren so we have a stable, honest, reformed Medicare system 
that is solid, period.
  Then I wanted to challenge the liberals. Do not tell me about tax 
cuts. Tell me about the size of Government. I am for smaller Government 
in Washington, fewer bureaucrats, less redtape.

[[Page H1282]]

 I want to return power back home. Now, let us debate the size of 
Government. I do not think liberals can win that debate.
  Now, when we are done doing those two, let us make sure that we get 
correct, historically accurate scoring of a capital gains cut which 
means, by the way, it will raise revenue. Under the budget act, if you 
honestly scored capital gains, it will increase revenue. So you do not 
score it as a cut. It is an increase. So it is magic. You lower taxes, 
more Americans save, more Americans invest, more Americans go to work, 
and historically every time we have done it, you have raised revenue. 
Only in Washington is an increase counted as a decrease. Only the 
technicians here who have never created a job could get away with it.
  We need to have a debate and insist that it be scored historically 
accurately. At that point we have enough money. We can cut taxes. I 
want a straightforward debate. I believe we ought to have a cut in the 
capital gains tax to create jobs, we ought to lower the death taxes to 
save family farms and small businesses, we ought to have a $500-per-
child tax credit so that parents decide how to spend their money. If 
our liberal friends want to talk about targeted, which always means the 
Government targets, I think the American people ought to target. But 
that is the great debate over taxes.
  My only point Monday was, here are three goals for 1997, the goal of 
saving Medicare because it deserves to be saved on its own. Let us get 
it done, Mr. President, and get it off the table and not use it for 
politics. The goal of balancing the budget with a smaller Government in 
Washington and more power back home. And the goal of reducing taxes so 
Americans save more, invest more, have more time off with their kids 
and more money to take care of their families.
  I thought that is what I said on Monday. I wanted to come here and 
make very clear, I hope all my colleagues will go back and read what I 
said on the floor on Monday. I hope the reporters who had a field day 
all week reexplaining what I did not say in terms of making them feel 
better will now listen carefully to what I actually said.
  I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. Tauzin].
  Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I also 
commend him for even beginning this great national debate on whether or 
not we ought to replace an income tax in America with a fairer, 
flatter, more reasonable proposal for the country.
  I want to let him know that on April 15 a great many Democrats and 
Republicans are going to be together in Boston Harbor. We are going to 
have an historic reenactment of the Boston Tea Party. We are going to 
dump the United States tax code into the harbor in a symbolic gesture 
to begin this debate.
  It starts with recognizing we have a code out of control, 4,000 
changes since 1986 alone. Maybe it is time for us to really debate 
whether a better system is right for the country, not Democrat or 
Republican but a better system for America.
  Mr. GINGRICH. Let me say to the gentleman, as you know also on April 
15, we are going to hold the vote until you get back from Boston, and 
we are then going to vote on an amendment that would require a 
supermajority to raise taxes because more and more States, particularly 
out West, now require that you get two-thirds of the vote or three 
fifths of the vote even to raise taxes because they have learned that 
politicians all too often will take money from the people to pay off 
the special interests. So April 15 is going to be a great date for the 
American taxpayer.

  But my point to all of my colleagues is straightforward. It should 
not be hard to figure out what the agenda of the House Republican Party 
is. It should not be hard to figure out where the Republican Party is 
going. We want lower taxes for economic growth, stronger families, more 
take home pay, and greater volunteerism.
  We want a stable, balanced budget so our children do not have to pay 
off our bills. In peacetime we should not borrow the money. We want the 
lower interests rates and the lower taxes that come from a balanced 
budget. We want less Government in Washington and more freedom back 
home, and we believe that saving Medicare should be done on its own 
terms for Americans by Americans.
  It is wrong. It is wrong. It is wrong to use Medicare as a political 
blackmail to try to stop us from getting an agreement. Let us save 
Medicare now. Get it done in April. Get it over with. Make sure it is 
done. Take care of our senior citizens. Get it off the table. Cut out 
all the fear mongering, all the demagoguery. Then let us talk about how 
to cut taxes and balance the budget and get economic growth and 
strengthen families.
  I hope that for anybody who is curious among our Members, among 
activists in the press corps, they now get the clear message. Lower 
taxes, balanced budget, less power in Washington, more freedom back 
home, save Medicare on its own terms because America's senior citizens 
deserve to see Medicare put above politics and done.
  I think that is a pretty darn good agenda to start the next few weeks