September 29,2004

Grassley Opening Statement at JOBS Act Conference

JOBS Act Conference: Opening Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

As everyone knows, the WTO has ruled that FSC-ETI is an illegal export subsidy and hasauthorized up to $4 Billion a year of sanctions against U.S. exports. Those sanctions began inMarch. They are at 11% and increase 1% for each month that we don’t repeal FSC-ETI. ByNovember, they will be at 13%. Senator Frist rightly called these sanctions Euro Taxes on ourexporters. Mr. Chairman, it has been a long road to conference. Both bodies passed bills to dealwith these Euro Taxes. Both bodies struggled to get to conference. Nothing has been easy with thisbill, but we are, at last, at the final stage of the process. Now, that we are at conference stage, wecannot fritter away the opportunity to eliminate the Euro Tax. Many will say there is too much todo and not enough time.

Mr. Chairman, America’s workers, especially those in the manufacturing sector, put in thework necessary, as you say, to “move product.” We conferees have to employ the same work ethic.We cannot do this job halfway. We cannot leave the job site without finishing our work. So, fellowconferees, let’s focus on the job at hand. The Chairman has started the ball rolling with a discussiondraft. The discussion draft reflects the core elements of the bill. The main piece complies with ourWTO obligations by repealing the FSC-ETI regime. In its place, we provide a deduction for allmanufacturers, big and small. Mr. Chairman, that is a significant movement toward the Senateposition. In one move, you have addressed, in my mind, the top Senate priority. That is, that allmanufacturers receive the benefit of the deduction.

The next piece of the Chairman’s discussion draft includes a package of international taxreforms that will make America’s manufacturers more competitive. This package reflects thepriorities of both the House and Senate bills. Finally, Mr. Chairman, the discussion draft includesidentical and nearly identical provisions from both bills. The Chairman’s discussion draft losesrevenue. The Chairman and I, however, have committed to achieve revenue neutrality when wereach the Chairman’s mark stage. Revenue neutrality was another important principle of the Senatebill. I appreciate Chairman Thomas’ cooperation on this Senate priority. So, even though theChairman’s discussion draft was presented by Chairman Thomas, it is, in effect, my starting positionas well.

As I pointed out, the Chairman’s Discussion Draft reflects Senate priorities. We will movethrough this process and go to the next step which is a Chairman’s mark. At that stage, we willhopefully have addressed some of the key priorities of members and achieved revenue neutrality.Before we get to the Chairman’s mark, we will be discussing members’ views and priorities throughfiled amendments. Finance Committee conferees will recognize a similarity to the custom ofFinance Committee markups. I recognize this process is somewhat unusual. Normally, confereeswould go through a series of meetings or exchanges of offers or some other elongated process.

Sometimes conferences take months; sometimes they end undone with the adjournment of aCongress. We have neither option here. We are in an unusual situation. And we are in a timesensitive situation. Unusual situations require unusual procedures. We have eight days left. That’snot much time. Fingers can rightfully point in many directions for the delay. The bottom line is wehave to give a shot and I’m fully committed to getting this conference done before we leave for theelections. I will say I appreciate Chairman Thomas’ willingness to open this process up and let thetransparency occur through the amendment process.

I’d also like to thank my Finance Committee conferees, particularly, my friend and Ranking Member, Senator Baucus. We wouldn’t be here without the bipartisan spirit of our Finance Committee members. That spirit will remain in place as we take the final steps and conclude this conference. Mr. Chairman, let’s finish the job.