U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, legislation that would cut taxes for working families in Louisiana.
CASSIDY: The last eight years, Mr. President, have been really hard for a lot families. They’ve seen their wages stagnate, their benefits not go up, indeed what they’ve been paying for health insurance and flood insurance and many other things has risen even though their wages have not.
And so the goal of this bill is to decrease taxes upon those middle-income, working families, to give them the opportunity to have better wages, better benefits…
Now what could a middle-class family in Louisiana do with better wages? Well, they could pay off debt. They could provide more for their children. They could just live life a little bit more robustly. Not have to, perhaps, move out of one home to another because they could no longer afford the mortgage on the first.
So the goal of this is first, to bring tax relief to working families and middle-class families. All part of an effort to cut taxes particularly for them, but now let’s talk about raising their wages.
Folks want to have more money in their take-home pay after taxes, but they also want to have higher wages and better benefits. This bill definitely creates that.
Our current tax code encourages companies to move overseas, and when they earn money overseas, keep it there, building plants and factories in other countries, employing folks in other countries but not bringing that money home, and employing Americans and raising wages and giving better benefits for those Americans.
This changes that. Not only do we have tax cuts for the middle class, for working families, but we also encourage businesses to invest here to create better paying jobs here.
And I’ve heard some say, “well, wait a second, unemployment is low now, why does it matter?”
Now is the time in which workers most benefit. If there’s investment creating more opportunity for those here in the United States, and there’s a worker who is a welder, and he can either work here or there, businesses are going to bid for his services. They’re going to pay more to get him to work.
And as they do that, just from supply and demand, wages will go up for the average American worker, for the average American family, benefits will rise for those families. The children of those families will have more opportunity. This is what that is about.
And another way we bring relief to those middle-income families, part of what we’re doing here is repealing the mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Americans hate the government telling them what to do. But as part of the Obamacare mandate, it tells someone, even if you can’t afford that insurance, if you don’t buy it, we’re going to make you pay a fine.
In 2015, more than 100,000 folks in Louisiana paid a fine for not having health insurance. 37 percent, almost 40 percent of those folks have an adjusted gross income of less than $25,000. 78 percent less than $50,000.
Think about this. The families reporting an income of $50,000 or less, they can’t afford insurance and they’re having to pay a fine because they have not. They’re not millionaires and billionaires. These are families trying to make ends meet.
They make a decision because the exchange policies are too expensive not to buy, and now they’re getting fined. This is part of the relief we’re bringing to those working families by getting rid of that mandate.
And lastly, there’s another form of relief. Louisiana had its great floods of 2016, similar to Maria, Irma and Harvey, but this is an unnamed storm that affected tens of thousands of people. We bring disaster relief to the folks in Louisiana through this bill.
And they’ll be able to deduct their losses from their income, allowing them to rebuild their homes, allowing them to rebuild their businesses, and as they rebuild those businesses, allowing them to employ those who need a job to rebuild their homes, their lives.
So, Mr. President, this bill cuts taxes for those families, it will increase their wages, and it brings relief, not only from economic stagnation, but also from a natural disaster that is one of the most expensive storms in our nation’s history.
I’m very pleased that this bill is advancing, I look forward to it being passed, and I look forward most of all to the increased wages, the lower taxes, and the relief it brings to those families in Louisiana.