Pelosi: On This Tax Day, Democrats are Restoring Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility
"As Americans pay our taxes this week, we deserve a government that reflects our priorities for the future, but also respects the value of taxpayer dollars," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "From taxpayer protections, to "pay-as-you-go" spending discipline, to reforms in government contracting, Democrats are restoring accountability and fiscal responsibility to Washington."
The Taxpayer Protection Act of 2007, H.R. 1677, which passed this evening by a vote of 407 to 7, includes measures to: require IRS investigations to provide notification of possible citizen identity theft; simplify business tax filing for spouses in a family-owned business; provide more protections for citizens who have had wrongful IRS levies; increase penalties on those impersonating the IRS on the Internet; and allow the IRS to post unclaimed tax refunds on the Internet.
The Democratic budget, passed last month in the House, promotes permanent protection for middle-income taxpayers, as part of ongoing House action to keep the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) from hitting American families. The AMT was created in 1969 to respond to the fact that 155 of the wealthiest families in America were avoiding paying any federal taxes by using loopholes, deductions, and exclusions. In the last six years, the AMT has morphed into a tax on middle-income families -- partly because it was not indexed to inflation, and partly because the Bush Administration never acted to protect the middle class in their major tax bills in order to obscure the true cost of their fiscal policies. The Democratic-led House is working to protect middle-income families and fix the AMT.
Congressional Democrats took a key step toward restoring fiscal responsibility at the beginning of the 110th Congress with the return to "pay-as-you-go" budgeting, earning commendation from a series of responsible budgeting groups, including the Concord Coalition. Budget discipline is key to turning around the fiscal mess of the last six years in Washington, and was instrumental in the federal budget surplus that the Clinton Administration's leadership helped create in the late 1990s.
Government spending reforms passed by the House in the first 100 days also include a major legislative effort to reform government contracting and protections for federal employees who point out waste, fraud, abuse, or safety threats. The Accountability in Contracting Act, H.R. 1362, as well as the Whistleblower Protection Act, H.R. 985 will restore accountability while potentially saving taxpayers billions of dollars.