House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said Thursday that the Republican tax reform bill that was passed in the House represents a "comeback" for those wondering if the American promise still applies to them.
"You need a comeback. America needs a comeback. If we are successful today and in the weeks to come, you will keep more of the money you earned. You will have more in your paycheck. Your life will improve," he said in a speech on the House floor.
The House voted 227-205 on Thursday to pass the sweeping tax reform legislation, which enacts $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. It cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, and collapses the number of brackets from seven to four.
The bill was opposed by every Democrat and 13 Republicans.
McCarthy said every honest person saw the legislation as a "tax cut for hardworking Americans" and castigated Democrats for defending special interests and corporate welfare.
"In the end, what they’re defending is the broken status quo," he said. "You know what I think, Mr. Speaker? I think that voting ‘no’ on a plan with lower taxes, higher wages, more jobs, and a simpler system, that isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. Voting ‘no’ is telling the American people you do not have faith in them to rise if they’re given a fair shot."
McCarthy said the American people did not want "hard work to be punished."
"To those struggling to keep your small business afloat, to pay your employees and give back to your neighborhood, this is your comeback," he said. "For everyone who ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur and small business owner, this is your comeback."
Full remarks as prepared:
"Mr. Speaker, I stand before this body, but I want to speak to the people watching us at home right now, and who will hear us in the hours and days to come. I want to speak to the people who stretch their budgets to get to the next paycheck.
"I want to speak to the people who are starting to wonder if the American promise no longer applies to them. You need a comeback. America needs a comeback. If we are successful today and in the weeks to come, you will keep more of the money you earned. You will have more in your paycheck. Your life will improve.
"If we succeed, you succeed. But if leaders and obstructionists on the other side of the aisle win, you lose. You see, they want Washington insiders and bureaucrats to keep more of your hard-earned income. They think it’s theirs to spend. We think it’s yours.
"Now, I’ve tried my best to understand their opposition, and I’ve listened to the pessimistic leaders of a party that, once upon a time, claimed to stand for the common man. Without a shred of evidence, they are certain our plan won’t work. They drum up stale arguments from 30 years ago, saying all this bill does is help the rich. They call it a middle class tax hike.
"But the fact checkers gave them not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 4 pinocchios for this lie. Every honest person sees this is a tax cut for hardworking Americans. This bill increases the child tax credit, increases the standard deduction, increases wage, and brings back jobs.
"The fact is, the first 55,000 dollars an average family of four earns won’t face a single penny of income tax. Not a single penny! So what are these party leaders defending with their opposition?
"It’s not the people. After all, there’s not a single person I’ve ever met in this nation that wants higher rates, lower wages, fewer jobs, and a more complicated tax code.
"No, they aren’t defending the people. They’re defending loopholes for special interests, corporate welfare, and carve outs for lobbyists. They’re defending the abusive status quo at the IRS.
"And what I find most absurd, they’re defending the reckless tax-and-spend policies of broken states across the country.
"They have made it their mission to increase taxes on our fellow citizens. And my friends on the other side of the aisle have the audacity to call this a tax hike?
"In the end, what they’re defending is the broken status quo. You know what I think, Mr. Speaker? I think that voting ‘no’ on a plan with lower taxes, higher wages, more jobs, and a simpler system, that isn’t about Republicans and Democrats.
"Voting ‘no’ is telling the American people you do not have faith in them to rise if they’re given a fair shot.
"Well, Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home. Do you want higher taxes and less money in your pockets? Or do you want lower taxes and more money?
"I think we’ve sent a message to the doubters and the cynics: The American people don’t want hard work to be punished. We don’t accept decline. We don’t accept that Washington knows how to spend our money better than we do.
"So I have a different message for the American people.
"To those trying to find a job, the long search is coming to an end. This bill is your comeback. To those sick of scraping by and fighting for a raise, this is your comeback.
"To those struggling to keep your small business afloat, to pay your employees and give back to your neighborhood, this is your comeback. For everyone who ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur and small business owner, this is your comeback.
"And to every mom and dad starting a family, raising your kids, and trying to give them more opportunity than you ever had, this is your comeback. I put hope in the American people. This bill puts hope in our American people. Because when you trust the people, that’s the start of America’s comeback."