January 10, 2018
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on how Americans are already benefiting from the recently passed tax reform law in the form of pay raises, bonuses and lower health care and utility costs.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“When we were debating the tax relief law at the end of last year, it was a very familiar debate in many ways.
“Republicans came to the floor with facts and figures about how much extra money people were going to be seeing in their pocket and in their paychecks.
“Democrats came to the floor with that same, old tired line that you always hear them talk about the millionaires and the billionaires.
“Republicans pointed out economic studies that showed that workers, right now, pay more than 70 percent of the cost of corporate taxes.
“We talked about a study from the Tax Foundation that predicted that if we passed the tax relief bill, that the average family would actually see a gain of about $2,600 a year in their after-tax income.
“That was partly because of getting a tax cut – and partly because their employer would then pass on much of the tax cut in higher wages.
“Democrats didn’t believe it. They said that only rich people would benefit, and that businesses would never share their tax savings with the workers.
“The Democrat leader actually said that ‘tax cuts like these benefit the wealthy and the powerful to the exclusion of the middle class.’
“Who was right?
“Well, the very day the tax bill passed in Congress, AT&T came out and said that they were giving their workers a bonus.
“It said that 200,000 hard-working employees were going to get an extra $1,000 each directly because of the new tax relief bill.
“The Tax Foundation predicted that they’d eventually get an extra $2,600 – and these people were getting $1,000 each on day number one.
“That has opened the flood gates to other companies doing the exact same thing and employees around the country are experiencing the exact same thing.
“Businesses started sharing the tax savings with rank and file, middle class workers and it started on day one.
“Not just the wealthy and powerful as Senator Schumer has predicted.
“Over 123 companies have said that they are going to give raises, giving out bonuses, investing in their workers because of the tax law.
“It adds up to more than $980 million.
“Almost a million hard-working Americans have already gotten the good news – and there’s more good news coming every day with more announcements today.
“It’s exactly what Republicans said would happen.
“It’s happening for people who work at banks, who work at insurance companies, who work at airlines.
“It’s happening for people who work at big companies like AT&T, and Visa, and Comcast.
“It’s happening for people who work at smaller companies like a winery in California, and an aviation company in Texas.
“These are businesses and people in communities who are important parts of their communities, doing important jobs.
“The employees work hard, and now they’re getting a share of the relief that the Republicans had predicted they would get all along.
“They’re not just getting cash bonuses.
“There’s a bank in Massachusetts that’s called Berkshire Hills Bancorp.
“They announced last week that the people working there will be getting a $1,000 bonus – and will also see the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour.
“More is being invested in employee development and training programs.
“That means people are gaining additional skills that make them more productive, better at their jobs, and qualified for even higher wages.
“This bank in Massachusetts is also contributing an extra $2 million to its charitable efforts, including scholarships.
“That helps improve the communities where the workers live –where they raise their families.
“Democrats said it’s not going to happen –well it’s happened.
“It’s happening every day.
“They said that businesses would just keep the money for themselves. That’s not what we’re seeing all across the country.
“Senator Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, went on PBS.
“The senior senator from Massachusetts said that the idea that tax relief would lead to higher wages was ‘the big lie that Republicans have been selling’ for decades.
“She said that tax relief was ‘an insult to working families across America.’
“I would like to point out to Senator Warren that many of the people who work at this bank are in her home state of Massachusetts.
“The workers getting these bonuses and raises in their pay are her constituents.
“Does she think that these people are feeling insulted?
“I bet they’re feeling pretty glad to be supported and valued by their employer.
“There was another business in Nevada – South Point casino.
“Workers there are receiving a million dollars total in bonuses.
“Health insurance prices have skyrocketed ever since Obamacare has passed.
“Companies have struggled with how to deal with these rising costs. Many have tried to pass these along to the employees.
“Now this company in Nevada said that because of the Republican tax relief law they’re canceling their plans to raise insurance costs.
“The owner of the business said, ‘We want to be sure that our extended family is taken care of.’
“That’s how employers are responding to tax relief all around the country– and that’s what we said would happen.
“We also predicted that one way businesses might deal with lower taxes would be to cut prices for consumers.
“Americans are starting to see that prediction come true in the form of lower utility bills.
“Gas, and electric, and water utilities across the country are getting ready to cut their rates because their taxes are going down under the law.
“Customers of the power company in Baltimore are going to receive $82 million in the form of lower rates.
“It’s been a cold winter on the East Coast. A lower electric bill is going to be good news for a lot of people in that community.
“Customers are also likely to see the same thing in Missouri, in South Carolina, and Louisiana.
“These are the kinds of effects we’re seeing across the country, in various ways.
“Americans are getting the benefits of tax relief.
“They’re getting the benefit of regulatory relief, and the pro-growth policies of Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration.
“People are seeing it in their daily lives.
“The polling company Gallup says that as soon as Donald Trump was elected President, economic confidence in this country soared.
“That’s what the polls found.
“It has stayed positive almost without interruption ever since.
“It’s the exact opposite of what polls were showing during the previous eight years, in the previous administration.
“That was during the entire so-called economic recovery.
“Why are people so optimistic now?
“It’s because you can’t open a newspaper or turn on a television without seeing more good news about the economy.
“New employment numbers came out last Friday.
“CNN had a headline: ‘U.S. economy added 2 million jobs in 2017.’
“The Washington Post headline was: ‘Trump’s first-year jobs numbers were very, very good.’
“Bloomberg reported that the Christmas shopping season was ‘probably the best one in a decade.’
“People are feeling confident.
“They are seeing higher wages, they’re seeing cash bonuses.
“Soon, they’ll start seeing the tax cut in their paychecks.
“The American people know that Republicans have kept our promise.
“We’re cutting regulations.
“We’re cutting taxes.
“We’re putting more money back in their pockets. And that’s hard-working Americans have asked us to do. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”