[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 63 (Tuesday, March 31, 2020)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E337]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]





          MIDDLE CLASS HEALTH BENEFITS TAX REPEAL ACT OF 2019

                                 ______
                                 

                               speech of

                           HON. JODY B. HICE

                               of georgia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, March 27, 2020

  Mr. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government has the 
responsibility to help individuals and businesses through this crisis 
because it is the government that shut down the economy--not American 
workers. Americans and their employers are not responsible for the 
economic damage being wrought by coronavirus, and I am pleased that the 
CARES Act will provide an unprecedented amount of immediate relief. 
However, I have deep concerns about this legislation, and I will be 
voting in opposition.
  First, there has been absolutely no discussion on how we will 
ultimately pay for the trillions of dollars of new federal spending in 
this bill. As we incur this massive debt, we should be at least 
considering how we will one day pay it. The House has failed in its 
duty to take up consideration of this legislation by regular order. 
There has been no due diligence to review the language in detail within 
our committees, no opportunity to hear from expert witnesses regarding 
its effectiveness, and no option for our Members to address concerns or 
provide thoughtful solutions through the amendment process. Moreover, 
language within the bill willfully shirks our oversight authority and 
responsibility by waiving the open meetings requirement.
  Furthermore, I fear this legislation is still just the tip of the 
iceberg. In a short period of time, we have moved from a few billion in 
phase one to over a hundred billion in phase two, and we now are 
considering $2.2 trillion in phase three. There is already talk of a 
fourth and fifth package to allow Democrats to advance many of their 
liberal partisan policies that did not make it into this bill during a 
time when no funding that is not directly related to crisis assistance 
should be considered. We must also weigh what precedents we are 
establishing. The CARES Act brings with it a massive expansion of the 
size and role of the Federal Government outside the scope of what our 
Founders intended. What we are doing here today is unsustainable and 
cannot be repeated for subsequent future emergencies that will 
undoubtedly and unfortunately occur. Maximum freedom exists within a 
context of limited government, and we have seen on countless occasions 
that once the Federal Government institutes new programs or spending 
that it is almost impossible to reverse the trajectory of its new 
footprint on our lives.
  Secondly, while I am supportive of providing Americans a bridge of 
assistance through the coronavirus, I am concerned that this 
legislation will cause some to obtain significantly more in 
unemployment benefits than they would normally earn through their jobs, 
inadvertently incentivizing unemployment. We must strike a balance 
between smart health policy and smart economic policy, and that means 
Americans should be allowed to go back to work as soon as it's safe to 
do so. Unfortunately, the language in the bill creates a disincentive 
for many to return to the workforce over the next four months.
  Third, it is unacceptable that Democrats have stuffed this bill with 
funding for agencies and causes completely unrelated to the coronavirus 
outbreak. Just to name a few, the bill contains within it $1 billion 
for Amtrak, $37 million to the Forest Service, $25 million for the 
Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, $75 million to the National 
Foundation on the Arts and Humanities and a combined $10.8 billion for 
several international development organizations. Many of these are fine 
institutions that do good work for our Nation, but they have no place 
in an emergency package aimed at rescuing American families and 
stimulating our economy during a time of crisis.
  President Donald Trump has done an incredible job leading America 
through this crisis. We are blessed to have his leadership, and while I 
am unable to support this particular legislation, I look forward to 
continuing to support him and working with his Administration in 
combatting the coronavirus.
  May God pour out his mercy and grace on our Nation during this time 
and heal our Land. God bless the great State of Georgia, and God bless 
America.

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