Congressman Blake Moore questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on President Biden’s budget proposal

On Friday, March 10th, Congressman Blake Moore questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on President Biden’s budget proposal at a Ways and Means Committee hearing. His questions covered adoption tax credit audits and corporate tax rates. A full transcript is below the video.

Congressman Moore: Secretary Yellen thank you for being here. This is a substantive work—it’s important for our nation—I appreciate you willing to come so quickly after the budget was released. I hope you felt that we do respect your expertise. I going to talk about something very personal, something that I think this entire committee is supportive of and that is those individuals that are in the adoption space and the adoption tax credit. According to a GAO report for 2011 and a taxpayer advocate report from 2012, families claiming the adoption tax credit in those years faced an audit rate nearing 70—a 69 percent audit rate. The national average is .8. So, I mean the discrepancy here is enormous, and its concerning. So, this is a specific example of what we want to talk about. Because a lot gets said here in this concept of audits, but these are staggering numbers. I haven’t been able to find any data more recent than 2012, what has been the audit rate for families claiming the adoption tax credit over the past five years?

Secretary Yellen: So, I don’t have that information at my fingertips. But I would be glad to get back to you, and I think the issue that you are raising is certainly a legitimate one that we would try to work with you on and to better understand.

Congressman Blake Moore: These are families that are watching what’s going on. They’re concerned that this is only going to ramp up as opposed to go away, and that is a staggering issue. The fact that you don’t have it here is ok. Is it something that’s being collected over the past several years to your knowledge?

Secretary Yellen: I honestly… I need to look into that. I just am not certain I assume that data is available, but I need to check into it, and we’ll get back to you.

Congressman Blake Moore: Thank you Ms. Secretary. I joined this committee with real legislation that should be hugely bipartisan to help address this and other issues with our folks that are out there adopting, foster care and, you know, from infancy, and I mentioned that this is very important for us. One piece of your testimony… and I’m going to keep the time here… one piece of your testimony it talked about the race to the bottom with respect to corporate tax rates. I can give specific examples from Proctor & Gamble, from Newcore. These are rural-based companies in my district, and I have met and sat down with each of them and they talked to me about when their taxes become globally competitive. So, from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, you know the two things they highlight the most is, one, their ability to pay middle class and frontline workers more salary, and they’ve got the data that show they raised those wages. And the second thing is what they have been able to do to give back to their communities. Ambulances for Box Elder County, a specific example that sticks out to me. I am concerned at the communication that just raising… going ahead and not looking at what actually happened with some of these tax rates when we became globally competitive, and just going ahead and raising them just to cover more spending that we’re seeing from the President’s budget. What am I to tell these companies right now as there’s a potential from 21 to 28 percent increase—which is an enormous, and it will be a very impactful increase—what am I to tell these individuals?

Secretary Yellen: Well, I think that the tax cut on the corporate level that was introduced by the Tax Cut and Job Act—I think it was appropriate to cut corporate tax rates. We had one of the highest rates globally, and it needed to come down, and it wasn’t very effective in raising corporate tax revenue. But it came down too much. And I don’t think we have seen the economic payoff from that in the form of great increases in investment spending.