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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney Votes No on GOP Tax Plan

November 16, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) today voted against the House tax plan. During debate on the bill last night, Courtney highlighted the impact of the measure on efforts to fill jobs through job training, higher education support and other efforts to close the national “skills gap.”

I would like to zero in for a minute during National Apprenticeship Week on the broken promise that the bill represents to growing the U.S. economy, which has a shortage of skilled workers,” Courtney said on the floor. “The obliteration of the student loan interest deduction, which will add $24 billion to the cost of higher education; the taxation of graduate students' tuition waivers, 60 percent of which are concentrated in STEM curricula; and the elimination of tax-free employer-funded tuition assistance, to enhance workplace skills, often using apprenticeship programs, moves this country in exactly the wrong direction to close the skills gap in our workforce, which we all know every Member in this body has heard about from employers back home.”

Watch Courtney's remarks during debate in the House

Transcript of Courtney’s remarks:

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney), a leader on the Higher Education Subcommittee and well known nationally as a spokesperson on education issues.

Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1.

Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Neal for his tireless leadership pointing out the trail of broken promises that are in this bill for middle class families, who will pay dearly with higher costs for healthcare, home ownership, and, in many cases, Federal taxes.

I would like to zero in for a minute during National Apprenticeship Week on the broken promise that the bill represents to growing the U.S. economy, which has a shortage of skilled workers. The obliteration of the student loan interest deduction, which will add $24 billion to the cost of higher education; the taxation of graduate students' tuition waivers, 60 percent of which are concentrated in STEM curricula; and the elimination of tax-free employer-funded tuition assistance, to enhance workplace skills, often using apprenticeship programs, moves this country in exactly the wrong direction to close the skills gap in our workforce, which we all know every Member in this body has heard about from employers back home.

Indeed, America's CEOs told the President last February at a White House manufacturing summit: Jobs exist, skills don't.

In fact, the Trump's Labor Department reported 6.1 million job openings in the month of September, a near record high.

Sadly, this antigrowth tax bill robs American job seekers and employers of the tools to fill those jobs, ironically, during National Apprenticeship Week.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the Members of this body to vote "no.''

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