“We want to make all the tax cuts permanent.”

Scalise Lays Out House Priorities for the Remainder of the Year

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-1) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering remarks about some of the key things that have been accomplished by Congress over the past 16 months, and some of the top priorities that he would like to see achieved between now and the end of the year.

“We are quietly moving through the appropriations process,” the Republican lawmaker stated.  “The two-year budget deal gave us the ability to start having real movement on appropriations bills this year that we weren’t able to get last year.  We passed all 12 of our approps bills last year, but the Senate didn’t pass one. And that’s because we were at odds over what the spending levels were going to be.   Everybody knew it was going to come to a head and had to be resolved.”

According to Scalise, one of the main points of contention at the time was over national security.

“We wanted to rebuild our defense,” he said.  “Our nation’s defense had fallen into disrepair in so many ways. When I point this stat out it shocks me every time I say it, but last year — by a three to one margin — we lost more men and women in uniform to training deaths than we did to combat deaths.  It was almost like every other week you were reading about another one of those tragedies.  And it was happening for a reason. Our military really had been depleted.  They couldn’t even procure basic parts for airplanes.  If you had five planes out of a battalion, you could use four of them, and the fifth one was being used literally to harvest parts.  It wasn’t working, and it’s not how we’re supposed to run the United States military.”

“We had to get a budget deal where you had both an increase in defense and non-defense discretionary spending.  On the non-defense discretionary side, we were able to get away from this idea that it had to be a dollar-for-dollar increase — which was important.  But if you look at where those increased dollars are going, it’s going to our priorities.  Just look at the Interior approps bill. With the new levels of spending, Interior approps and Financial Services approps are flat-lined. They’re at the same levels that they were in the current year.  And the EPA’s budget is going down.  EPA staffing is going down. We are continuing to right the ship of the EPA.”

Scalise was elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the Louisiana State Legislature from 1996 to 2008.  Just six short years after coming to Washington, in June of 2014, he was selected by his colleagues to be Majority Whip.  In this position, he is not only playing a leading role in the effort to pass all 12 appropriations bills this year, but played a key role in the successful effort to approve and enact tax reform last December.

“I don’t think anybody can underscore just how important it was,” Scalise stated, referring to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  “It’s unbelievable how quickly it has worked.  We were all confident it was going to work, but nobody knew how long it was going to take to see this economy that literally for eight years had gotten used to anemic growth.  Every single quarter, less than two percent growth, and people thought that was just the way it was going to be.”

“We were at 35%, and the world average was 23% when we passed the bill.  We kept ratcheting and ratcheting until we got to 21%. We in the House made it effective immediately. When we went to conference, we won that part of the argument.  And then literally within hours of us passing the bill, before it was signed into law, you saw company after company start to announce that they’re going to give pay raises and bonuses to their workers.  With regard to hiring today, you see the numbers — there are more job openings than there are people looking for work.  That just doesn’t happen in America. That’s how well this is working.   We want to keep that going.  We want to make all the tax cuts permanent.”

“Because of the Byrd rule in the Senate, we couldn’t make everything permanent, so there were some that were temporary on the personal side primarily, and on the corporate side those were made permanent.   We want to make all of them permanent.  So we’re going to bring that bill to the floor. I would expect everybody now that they’ve seen how well it’s worked, Republican and Democrats, to vote ‘yes’ on that bill.”

To view Scalise’s remarks before The Ripon Society breakfast discussion yesterday morning, please click on the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.