Floor Statement on Repeal of 3% Withholding Provision

Oct 27, 2011

Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement on the House floor regarding H.R. 674, legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding provision on government contractors that Republicans enacted in 2006:

“I rise in support of this bill. It should have happened earlier. I think most of us, if not all of us, agree that this provision should be repealed. It is not nearly targeted and it would indeed impose significant and costly burdens on federal, state, and local governments. I think we should all remind ourselves it was passed some years ago and it was, I think, misguided when it was enacted in 2006 when we in the minority here did not control the Congress. Indeed, the Ways and Means Committee when we were in the Majority approved a repeal of the provision in 2009 and the Congress ultimately delayed the provision’s effective date.

I do want to comment on the title of this bill that refers to job creation, and it should be noted that this is really not going to address the need for creation of jobs in our country. We have been here now nine months. There is still no effort by the Majority here in the House to bring up any meaningful job legislation. And when the president brings up proposals to create jobs, they are thwarted by the Majority here and by the Republicans in the Senate. So let's support this bill but not pretend that it will create jobs. And in this respect I refer to a recent statement by Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Analytics, who said this about this bill: ‘I don't think it's meaningful in terms of jobs. It's more trying to clean up something that needs cleaning up.’

“Indeed this needs to be cleaned up and therefore we need to pass it. Let me also comment and we'll talk about this later on the second bill, the payfor. I went before the Rules Committee to ask that there be consideration of a different payfor. What we'll be considering later, and I just want everybody to understand the facts and each can judge on his own or her own how they'll vote, that the impact of the payfor that came through the Ways and Means Committee Majority could cause up to 500,000 individuals to lose health care coverage. I offered an amendment in the Rules Committee that would have offset the cost of a business tax provision by closing a loophole on the business side that's improperly enjoyed by oil and gas industry giants and unfortunately my amendment was ruled out of order. We'll talk about that later.

“We are now on this bill. I urge its support. Let's not pretend it's a job creation bill. Let's get busy here on bills that will, indeed, help to promote jobs in the private sector of the United States of America. As our president has proposed and he has pleaded that there be consideration by the House and the Senate only to be responded to with deaf ears.