Congress’ First Vote: Pelosi Elected Speaker
Second Vote: Make It Easier To Raise Taxes

Loophole in House Rules Will Open the Door to Massive Tax Increases

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected as the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. Following that vote the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 5 which sets forth the Rules of the House of Representatives for the 110th Congress. A key taxpayer protection provision, however, contains a significant loophole which will open the door to raise taxes over the next two years. The Republicans sought to amend the current rule to close the loophole which the Democrats in unison voted against.

“American taxpayers need to hold on to their wallets because the new House rules concerning taxes are not worth the paper they’re written on,” explained taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “A rule which allows a simple majority to waive the three-fifths majority is devious, disingenuous, and slap in the face to every American taxpayer. If Pelosi and the rest of the new House leadership were serious about protecting American taxpayers then they would have amended the rules to ensure this key taxpayer protection cannot be waived.”

Rule XXI, Section 5 (b) requires a three-fifths majority to raise income taxes, a continuation from the House rules dating back to 1995. To waive this key taxpayer protection rule, however, all that is needed is a simple majority, much less than the three-fifths requirement set forth in the rule. As such, the rule is meaningless.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that not one Democrat voted to protect American taxpayers. This includes the newly sworn-in freshman members who campaigned on a promise not to raise taxes. Also voting against this three-fifths provision were about 20 members who in the past supported a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes, clearly even more stringent than what was put on the floor today.

“After spending an entire year on the campaign trail claiming she will not raise taxes, the first vote Nancy Pelosi brings to the floor for a vote as Speaker will open the door to billions and billions of dollars of tax increases over the next two years,” continued Norquist. “And she fought tooth and nail to keep her colleagues votes so she can raise taxes for the next two years. Simply put, Pelosi and her new leadership team will need to raise taxes on working Americans to reward the raptorial spending interests who helped them get elected. Today will mark the first of many votes over the next two years which will seek to extract more money from hard-working Americans to grow the size of government.”