Speaker of the House

Opening Remarks:

Speaker of the House

Key Remarks from Speaker Paul Ryan's Speech on tax reform on 16.11.2017

We need to restore growth. We need to restore opportunity. We need to restore this beautiful thing we affectionately call the American Idea. Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity, and to help middle-income families that are struggling.

People always ask: What’s in it for me? How will I benefit from this? Well, I’m a chart guy. Why is this important?

What this shows you is under this plan, the average family at every income level gets a tax cut. A tax cut at every average level. What this shows you is that the people who are struggling, the people who are middle-income brackets, the people here who are low-income trying to become middle-income, they get the biggest tax cut.

This plan is good for people from all walks of life, all across the country, and the bigger relief goes to those who need it most. Let’s put this into numbers. The typical household of four people makes $59,000 in this country. That family of four? $1,182 tax cut in the first year alone.

Not only do people get to keep more of their own money in their own pocket, but we dramatically simplify the tax system. We make it more fair. Today, seven out of 10 Americans don't itemize their deductions. 70 percent of Americans take what we call the standard deduction for their taxes. It's just that—it's standard, straightforward. You're not taxed on that income.

All of this is about tax relief. It's about fairness. It's about simplicity. It's about easing the stress and anxiety that's in this country. But we need better jobs, more jobs, faster economic growth, higher wages.

And this brings us to the way we tax ourselves as businesses. This brings us to what do we do to make America the most competitive place in the world?

Here is the real problem we've got when it comes to the way we tax our businesses. We're the worst in the world at it. We tax our businesses at the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. What does that do?

Let me give you an example where I come from. In Wisconsin, the example is Johnson controls. Johnson Controls is a company with a history dating back to the 1880's in our state. It was the biggest company we had headquartered in Wisconsin. Not anymore. Because Johnson Controls is an Irish company. The Irish tax rate is 12.5 percent.

This is happening all over the country. Companies just to stay competitive are becoming foreign companies.

And when the headquarters of that company leave yours hometown, when the headquarters of that business and that employer leave yours state and goes to another country, there goes the United Way campaign. There goes the white collar jobs. There goes the manufacturing. There goes the research and development. There goes America’s competitiveness.

What’s worse, foreign companies are buying U.S. companies because it's cheaper because of taxes. So here's what we do. Instead of being the worst in the pack, we leapfrog ourselves by bringing that tax rate down to 20 percent.

Because guess what? When you tax your businesses at much, much higher tax rates than our foreign competitor’s tax theirs, they win and we lose. We have got to stop losing. We have got to start winning.

That’s what this does. What’s even more impressive about this is it lowers taxes for those small businesses, those mom and pops, even more. So we got to make sure that our businesses, the job creators of America, have every incentive to stay there, have every incentive to build here, have every incentive to hire here.

What’s more, we're finding that by doing this, we're going to get faster economic growth. We’re going to get more jobs. We’re going to get higher wages, better take-home pay.

My colleagues, right now, we are in the middle of a long day where people are working tooth and nail in their jobs. We are right here in the middle of a day where America's workers are trying to figure out how to make ends meet, trying to keep up with everything.

Those people, the hardworking taxpayers of this country that we represent, that is why we are here. This is why we're doing this. They are the foundation of this country. We’re here today for them. The special interests are trying to protect their piece of the pie.

All the negativity you see out there, there's probably a special interest group back there trying to keep their special place in the tax code. It is fine time, it is high time we root that out, we don't settle for the status quo and we give people the kind of tax code they need and deserve.

It has been 31 years since we last did this, and it is finally time that we get the general interest of this country to prevail over the special interests in Washington. We know that this brings more fairness. We know that this increases tax-home pay and bigger paychecks. We know that this grows the economy and creates more opportunity.

Faster economic growth is not going to fix every problem America has, but my colleagues I ask you today to raise your gaze and do something bold—to see the forest through the trees, to think about the people we are here to actually represent, to think about the people who are struggling, who are going to go to bed tonight and probably not sleep because they're worried about what's going to happen tomorrow.

That’s what this is. This is one of the most historic and the biggest things that we will ever do. And the reason is because this is one of the biggest things we can do to improve people's lives, to revitalize that beautiful, American idea, to spread liberty and freedom. This is something that's going to refresh our confidence in ourselves, in our confidence in each other.

Enough settling. Enough giving in. Let's start to reclaim our future right here in this moment, in this chamber, in this moment. Let's pass this bill.

Speaker of the House
Paul Ryan