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Camp Statement: H.R. 4849 Republican Motion to Recommit

March 24, 2010

Madame Speaker,

The Republican Motion to Recommit is straightforward.  It: 

  • Strikes troubling tax increases;
  • Maintains the tax relief for small businesses; 
  • Repeals unpopular provisions of the health care bill that force middle class families to pay more in taxes and more for their health care; and
  • Is fully paid-for in compliance with the “pay go” rules.
  • To meet the pay-go rules, the motion eliminates the so-called emergency welfare spending and closes the Black Liquor tax loophole that has repeatedly passed the House, but has yet to become law.

Here’s what we keep: the few provisions that directly help small businesses, including:

  • An exclusion from capital gains tax on investments in qualifying small businesses;
  • New protections for small businesses from excessive penalties if they unknowingly fail to disclose certain information related to their participation in tax shelters; and
  • A temporary increase in the amount of small business start-up costs that can be immediately expensed.
  • In addition to this tax relief, we begin today to repeal some of the most troubling aspects of the Democrats’ health care bill.  Today, we seek to eliminate two of the tax increases in the health care bill that would hit middle-class families and violate the President’s pledge that you can keep the health care plan you have and like.

First, the motion repeals the cap on the maximum annual contribution to a Flexible Spending Account, which will be capped at $2,500 per year starting in 2011.

FSAs – which are currently used by 35 million Americans – encourage consumers to be more aware of both the cost and quality of health care goods and services. 

Approximately 7 million Americans put more than $2,500 into their FSAs.  According to the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, the median income of an FSA holder in 2008 was just $55,000.

Repealing this provision would provide Americans with $15.6 billion in tax relief.

Second, the motion repeals the ban on using several forms of health savings, including FSAs and Health Savings Accounts, also known as HSAs, to purchase over-the-counter medicines.

Not only does this ban discourage tax-free savings, it discourages Americans from choosing cheaper, non-prescription medicines when they are available.  By repealing this provision, we will not only provide $5.5 billion in tax relief, but we will also help American families lower health care bills.

This motion offers members a clear choice: a vote against this motion is effectively a choice to close the black liquor loophole to pay for billions of dollars in additional Medicaid spending.  A vote in favor of this motion is a vote to close the black liquor loophole to pay for small business tax relief and to undo some of the harmful tax increases on American families passed by the House Sunday night. 

I urge my colleagues to vote YES on the motion and yield back the balance of my time.