December 15, 2009

Senate Votes To Pay For Health Reform With Middle-Class Tax Increases

Crapo Amendment to protect taxpayers voted down

Washington, D.C. - If the Senate goes on to pass a health care reform bill, the legislation will likely contain at least a half a trillion dollars in new taxes and fees that fall significantly on America's middle-class taxpayers. The Senate Majority today voted against a motion offered by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo that would have sent the bill to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions to ensure that no provision would result in an increased federal tax liability for middle-income Americans. The vote was 45 to 54, a mostly party-line vote against the Crapo Amendment.

"This legislation was sold to the American people on a pledge that they would see not one dime in increased taxes, if you earned less than $200,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a family" Crapo said following the vote. "We know now that will not be the case. This legislation contains hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes and fees. It will not reduce costs and it will increase premiums for many Americans.

"The American public is right to be concerned about this process," Crapo added. "The President and the majority party promised health care reform with no middle class tax increases; they promised an open process, and they promised that, if you like what you have for your current coverage, you could keep it. What we have instead is a bill with billions in new taxes and a process that has been negotiated behind closed doors."

During a speech on the Senate floor today, Crapo noted there are several areas where the legislation raises taxes, fees and adds new spending. He pointed to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) that more than 73 million American households making less than $200,000 will face tax increases.

"If you already have insurance, you are taxed because of the new fees on insurance companies that will be passed along to consumers," he said. "If you don't have insurance, you will pay excise taxes enforced by the IRS. If you need prescription drugs, you'll pay more when drug makers pass along their new taxes and fees. You'll pay new taxes passed along on medical devices and you will see your tax deductions for medical expenses scaled back. This is not what the Majority was talking about when they denied there were tax increases in this bill."

"Taxes start on day one of this bill, which could be in three weeks if it passes. The benefits don't follow for another four years. That is why I encourage all Idahoans and Americans to read the bill and continue the fight for sensible health care reform," Crapo concluded.

A final vote on the legislation has not yet been scheduled.