Ashley Schapitl (202) 224-4515
Wyden Statement on Budget Resolution
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement on the budget resolution:
“The Finance Committee is taking the lead role in making once-in-a-generation investments in the American people and restoring fairness to the tax code to pay for those investments.
“I’ve been developing many major policy initiatives for this package, from incentivizing clean energy, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, expanding access to paid leave and overhauling the tax code to name a few. This is about building a strong and fair economy with better jobs, expanding affordable health care and making it easier to support a family.
“The climate catastrophes of the past year have underscored the urgent need to move toward a clean energy future. This is Congress’ last chance to take bold action to avert the worst climate outcomes. The Clean Energy for America Act, which would overhaul the energy tax code, and has been approved by the Finance Committee, will be the linchpin of our efforts. Energy policy is tax policy, and for the first time we will tie tax incentives to emissions reductions and climate outcomes. Independent analysts have concluded that rewarding emissions reductions, not just particular technologies, is essential to meeting our emissions goals. Incentives to boost electric vehicle sales and clean-energy manufacturing, including everything from semiconductors to solar components, will also be central to our package.
“The Finance Committee is going to extend tax cuts for families with children, working adults and caregivers for as long as possible. Before President Roosevelt created Social Security in the 1930s, half of American seniors lived in poverty. This new monthly child benefit is Social Security for our children, and represents a fundamental reordering in the commitments this country makes to its children and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to strengthen support essential workers like grocery clerks and home health aides, as well as caregivers, and we will continue that financial help. The Finance Committee, in coordination with the HELP Committee, is also leading to establish a comprehensive national paid and family medical leave program and working to make sure the program is equitable so low-wage workers can afford to take paid leave.
“To help grow our economy, the Finance Committee is also working on a range of proposals to support workers and businesses — financial support for renters, funding for new affordable housing, worker training and strengthening our unemployment insurance system. The housing crisis is particularly acute in communities with more job opportunities, forcing workers to pay sky-high rent to hold down jobs or relocate. Addressing this crisis will be a win-win for workers and businesses trying to hire and maintain their workforce. Similarly, supporting workers as they look for new job opportunities will allow workers to make ends meet, while ensuring businesses have access to a trained workforce.
“The Finance Committee will be a central part of the debate when it comes to lowering Americans’ health care costs and making high-quality health care available to more families. That begins by lowering the cost of prescription drugs by making good on Democrats’ promise to allow Medicare to negotiate a fair price with Big Pharma. I also intend to build on the bipartisan work from last Congress that limits drug companies’ ability to price gouge and makes the Medicare Part D benefit a better deal for seniors, including the creation of an out-of-pocket maximum. Seniors shouldn’t have to face bankruptcy to afford life-saving medications. I am also committed to expanding Medicare’s benefits to continue strengthening and modernizing Medicare for the modern era – that means giving seniors access to a dental, vision and hearing benefit that can have a major impact on a senior’s health.
“Beyond Medicare, the committee has been working hard to make good on the president’s vision of a major investment in home - and community- based care, which culminated in a bill introduced by Senator Casey and I, known as the Better Care Better Jobs Act. That effort will give more Americans with disabilities and seniors the opportunity for good quality care at home and raise wages for the workers who provide this frontline care.
“Finally, Democrats are committed to building on the success of the Affordable Care Act and continuing the effort to make health care a basic human right for all Americans. That means extending the improvements to the middle-class tax credits for health insurance that have lowered premiums dramatically, and it means meeting the needs of the millions of Americans who have been deprived of health coverage just because they live in a red state that refuses to expand Medicaid.
“To restore fairness to our tax code and pay for these once-in-a-generation investments, the Finance Committee has been working on a menu of options for the caucus to consider. Our proposals will fall into four categories: multi-national corporations, the wealthiest individuals, enforcement against wealthy tax cheats and savings from other programs.
“Many of these proposals have been laid out — the Wyden-Brown-Warner international tax framework to ensure mega-corporations pay their fair share, legislation to expand the pass through deduction while dedicating it to Main Street small businesses, legislation to close the carried interest loophole for private equity moguls and legislation to ensure wealthy investors pay tax on investments underlying derivatives contracts, just to name a few.
“More broadly, the American people are with us on these issues. They pay their taxes with every paycheck while the world’s wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations pay little to nothing or cheat by not paying taxes they do owe.
“Our country is facing significant challenges and Democrats’ agenda meets the moment. I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues to get these priorities done.”
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