Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce to all Americans that the Spanish-American War of 1898 has ended. It has been 107 years since the war was over and Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders went up San Juan Hill and we won that war. Yet 95 percent of all Americans are still paying for it and do not even know it.

Introduced in 1898 was a phone tax, which established the concept of a temporary luxury tax to defray costs on the Spanish-American War. It started on 1,300 phones, a tax on telephones. Today more than 100 million American households across the Nation still are paying for this excise tax to the tune of $5.6 billion a year on their phone services such as land lines, cell phones, and dial-up Internet connection. This tax strikes at every use of the telephone and burdens everyone, especially those in lower incomes.

Initially, this tax was used to finance this 3-month Spanish-American War, but it has been made permanent and was even raised in World War II.

So I would like to commend the gentleman from California for sponsoring legislation to get rid of this ``temporary tax.'' This tax has proved there is no such thing as a temporary tax, and let us disconnect the Spanish-American tax on telephones.