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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

Statement from Congressman Denny Heck on H.R. 1 to overhaul existing federal tax code

Nov 15, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Before the U.S. House of Representatives vote on the bill radically changing the U.S. tax code, U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10) issued the following statement:

We all agree that tax reform is necessary, but I see no relief in the contents of this rushed bill. Speaker Ryan’s deficit-exploding tax plan borrows $1.5 trillion in the name of the American people, but instead of giving everyone their $5,000 share of that, half of Americans get little or nothing. In fact, 36 million American households will actually have to pay higher taxes, despite the promises made by President Trump that all Americans will get a tax cut.  Instead, the borrowing goes to finance billions in tax cuts for the richest families and largest corporations.

In addition to being unfair in broad terms, this bill singles out certain groups for particular burden. Families overwhelmed by nursing home costs will see their tax bills soar once they can no longer deduct medical expenses. Graduate students researching the technologies of tomorrow will have to work second jobs in order to pay the taxes they suddenly owe on tuition waivers. Teachers who have faced years of underfunded school systems will have to set aside a little more of their stagnant salaries to help their students as this bill ends the deduction for teachers purchasing school supplies. I cannot understand the values represented by these choices.

“There is an opportunity being missed here. Simplification could reduce everyone’s burdens. Changes to the tax code could close loopholes like carried interest and use that savings to increase the child tax credit. Deficit-neutral corporate tax reform could encourage investment. 

“If Republicans are serious about wanting to grow our economy, let’s work together to come up with a 21st Century infrastructure plan to upgrade our transportation and public works system to support economic growth that benefits every working family.”

H.R. 1 collapses the seven individual tax rates into four, doubles the standard deduction for individuals, and lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. H.R. 1 eliminates the medical expense deduction, used by approximately 8.8 million Americans to offset costs of acute and chronic medical conditions that total 10 percent or more of the individual’s income.  H.R. 1 eliminates the state and local tax deduction, the student loan interest deduction, lifetime learning credits, and the educator expense deduction. H.R. 1 also imposes new limits on the mortgage interest deduction at a time when housing prices are skyrocketing in the South Sound.

As a member of the New Democrat Coalition, Heck believes that a modern tax code for the U.S. should foster business development and innovation, support middle class families, and create opportunities for Americans to prosper in a 21st century economy. New Dems support comprehensive tax reform recognizing the pressing need to update our tax laws and support fixing portions of the tax code that allows U.S. businesses to compete with its global competitors.