Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate 12182017  CSPAN  December 18, 2017 2:59pm-8:00pm EST

2:59 pm
no other country has current competence in such decisions taken by the city council anymore. us administration cannot unilaterally make such a decision. how is this possible? it cannot be left in the hands or up to the mercy of the country in whom history lies such as [inaudible]. it cannot be left in the hands of the country that exponentially. >> we will break away from this recorded program and take you live now to the floor of the u.s. senate where today's senators vote on confirmation for nominees for the pentagon
3:00 pm
and the department of housing and urban development. also this week we expect the senate to vote on that gop tax bill. live coverage of the senate now here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
3:01 pm
eternal father strong to save, we love you because you are our shield and deliverer. you have been our god from the moment of our birth, loving and sustaining us with your mercies. lord, you loved us before we loved you, and you empowered us to live productive lives. cast out of our senators any fear and anxiety, as their love for you increases. teach them to treat others as they would want to be treated themselves fulfilling your admonition to practice the golden rule. may they seek you early, realizing that not an hour goes by when we do not need you. supply all their needs from the bounty of your riches in glory. -- as they would want to be treated themselves fulfilling your admonition to practice the golden rule. may they seek you early realizing that not an hour goes by when we do not need you. supply all their needs from the
3:02 pm
bounty of your riches in glory. we pray in your sovereign name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the
3:03 pm
leadership time is reserved.
3:04 pm
3:05 pm
3:06 pm
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: all of our thoughts this afternoon are with the victims of the tragic train derailment in washington state and with their families as well. and our gratitude is with the first responders who answered the call and rushed to the scene. on a different matter entirely, the senate has a number of important tasks to complete this week for the american people. on friday we took another
3:07 pm
significant step toward delivering major tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses when the house and senate released the final text of the tax cuts and jobs act. we're closer than ever to seizing this once in a generation opportunity to update our tax code, make americans stronger and help middle-class families keep more of their hard-earned money. the last decade has not been easy for middle-class americans. like the many i represent in kentucky who were hit hard by the great recession many continue to feel its effects. but too often instead of helping people get back on their feet, washington has in fact been an obstacle. our broken and outdated tax code lets the government take too much money out of american paychecks. and the obama administration's run-away regulation slowed job growth and destroyed opportunities just when people
3:08 pm
needed them most. but help is on the way. the tax cuts and jobs act is a major step toward a stronger, more prus prus -- prosperous america with higher wages higher take-home pay more jobs and better opportunities for middle-class americans. first and foremost, the bill provides immediate relief by letting americans keep more of their paychecks. a typical family of four earning the median family income will get a tax cut of more than $2,000. we're taking that money out of washington's pocket and putting it right back into theirs. and by modernizing the way we tax businesses, we'll make america a better place to invest start small businesses and create middle-class jobs. our tax bill will make it less attractive for american businesses to send jobs and investment overseas and more attractive to expand and invest right here at home. that's why american manufacturers say they're
3:09 pm
chieted about this -- excited about this bill and plan to hire new workers while chinese officials say it has them worried. the conference report will also repeal the punitive individual mandate at the heart of obamacare. under obamacare americans must either buy the kind of health insurance that washington thinks they should buy or pay a heavy tax penalty. by repealing this unfair penalty, the tax cuts and jobs act will give low and middle-class families more tax relief along with the flexibility to make their own health care decisions. the bill will strengthen america's future by enhancing our energy independence. the tax cuts and jobs act provides for further responsible development of alaska's oil and gas potential unleashing more of our own natural resources will create good jobs and improve america energy security. the historic accomplishments in the tax cuts and jobs act will
3:10 pm
bring immediate relief to struggling families and set america on a trajectory towards greater strength and prosperity. i commend the conferees especially chairman hatch chairman murkowski chairman enzi for their work to help finalize the conference report. i look forward to voting for its passage, and i would urge all of our colleagues to join me in voting to give the american families the relief they need and richly deserve. now on another matter before the end of this week congress must agree on a continuing resolution to sustain the critical operations of the federal government. in this process it's vital that we ensure our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to protect americans and face the challenges of a dangerous world. during the obama administration the readiness of our all-volunteer armed forces was hurt by irresponsible cuts to the department of defense which have damaged combat readiness. the military suffered a
3:11 pm
disproportionate burden under the budget control act. the arbitrary demand that increases the defense funding must be matched by increases in nondefense spending should not stand in the way of delivering resources needed to restore near term and long-term readiness. earlier this year we rightly set aside that misguided standard and took steps to fully meet the needs of our war fighters. this week we need to do so one more time. if congress fails to reach agreement on government funding, our military will suffer intolerable budget cuts that will jeopardize the tools and the training that our service members need to fulfill their missions. but our responsibilities run deeper than keeping the government open and ensuring our war fighters have the resources they need. before the year ends we multihave results in several -- we must have results in several additional areas. we must renew funding for the children's health insurance program so parents of nine
3:12 pm
million children covered by chip can know their children's health care is secure. we must authorize a critical foreign intelligence program that the men and women of american law enforcement need to keep our nation safe from those who wish to harm us. we must renew the popular veterans choice program which aims to cut wait times for v.a. health care and give our veterans flexibility to access care outside the system. we must approve supplemental disaster funding for states and territories that are still struggling to rebuild after a year of devastating disasters. we must pass a routine waiver to avoid unacceptable cuts in medicare funding and other vital programs. since the enactment of the paygo law in 2010 congress never allowed its sequester to take effect especially for tax bills, and we must again act this week to ensure that vulnerable americans are not harmed.
3:13 pm
and of particular importance faced with the continued failure of obamacare to keep health insurance affordable for working americans, we must take this opportunity to pass bipartisan solutions that will help stabilize collapsing health insurance markets and lower premiums for individuals and families across the country. across all these critical areas, congress must do what is right for the american people and take action this week. i urge each member of this body to come together and help pass a funding agreement that fulfills our responsibilities to the nation. i look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that happens.
3:14 pm
i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:15 pm
quorum call:
3:16 pm
3:17 pm
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
3:21 pm
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum call? we have dissension here among the desk. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: we don't want the desk to mirror what's going on
3:22 pm
around here. first, mr. president i want to say that our hearts go out to everyone who was affected by that horrible train crash near seattle, washington. i know authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash. we have to find out what went wrong and then work to fix it. we in new york know what this is like. we have had a few of these derailments and crashes. on the metro where about four people died about a year and a half ago or a year ago or two. very very bad. so we have to work on train safety and there are lots of things to do. i'm not going to talk about that now, but we do have to. but for the now we're wishing the very best for everyone on that train and remain deeply grateful to the first responders who reported to the seen. now, on another sad note, mr. president, and before i move to the substance of the day i want to spend a moment in recognition of a dear friend of
3:23 pm
mine who passed away this weekend, bob wilmers. one of the most respected and prominent benefactors of buffalo, new york, one of the great cities in my state in our country. now, there have been very few men who did as much for buffalo since its founding hundreds of years ago as bob wilmers did over the last several decades. he was chairman of m & t bank. he helped the bank grow from a small bank to one of the largest employers in the region. 6,500 employees. as he built the business, creating thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs, he helped upstate new york dramatically. m & t bank was a large bank, but it was not one of these banks engaging in swaps overseas or other risky types of investments. they lent money to small businesses. they had a deep caring for the communities in which they -- which they served. and they were a model bank, in
3:24 pm
my opinion. they really did an amazing job helping revitalize our upstate economy, which has had trouble over the last several decades due to so many different things, including bad trade policies. but bob was also not just committed to the bank, which he loved, and he loved the employees, cared about them, was such an honorable employee. he was also committed to buffalo in fill on thropy, directing -- in philanthropy, directing almost $5 million to local nonprofit organizations in new york the bank did under his leadership. and that's because bob himself was a philanthropist. he was a man with a big heart and he always gave in every way. he spent many years supporting one of the great art museums in america, the albright knox art museum the buffalo philharmonic orchestra, just to name a few. he was a booster of everything buffalo. he was never in the camp that thought buffalo's best days were
3:25 pm
behind them. he always believed in buffalo's potential and its future, and helped make that happen. the city of buffalo was turning around. we're so proud in so many different ways. it's in good part because of bob wilmer. and on a personal level my wife and i will miss him. he visited my wife for lunch a few months ago. he was 83 years old. he was on his rickety old bike and rode through the streets of new york city to come meet her so they could have lunch. bob's wife elizabeth iris and i spent many happy hours together. a brilliant man a brilliant banker. decent caring, civic minded. the loss is -- the loss to wilmers' family and our condolences go to elizabeth. it's buffalo's loss. it's the united states' loss. bob will be truly missed.
3:26 pm
his untimely death sent shockwaves throughout new york state, and we just will miss him so. now, on a different subject i'd like to again warn about the danger of the smear campaign against special counsel mueller. over the weekend allies of the president in the media escalated their phony attacks on special counselor mueller to an outrageous degree. one of the assertions that arose this weekend was that special counsel mueller improperly obtained e-mails when -- from the trump transition team. this is a bald-faced lie. there's no proof behind the allegations. there's no substance behind the allegations. they can't point to any indication that mueller's team did anything improper, let alone illegal. the mueller team is allowed to request whatever they want. they are special counsel special prosecutor. they either have to get the
3:27 pm
account holder's permission or go through appropriate criminal processes. in this case, there is no indication they didn't follow the guidelines. so those complaining here in the congress, on the immediate point to something specific mueller did wrong here. they can't. they can't. these attackers are creating impropriety when there is none. their attacks are not based on fact or logic. this is a hatchet job, plain and simple. if they have a legal complaint they can pursue it in court but of course they don't and that's why these attacks are only speculation on tv by partisan pundits. robert mueller is one of the most respected and trusted civil servants in our country. his integrity is unimpeachable. the concerted campaign to discredit him in his investigation in the right-wing media is nothing more than
3:28 pm
propaganda and disinformation to try and turn the public's attention away from the real investigation, donald trump's potential collusion with russia and the collusion of his campaign. the attempt if it's found to obstruct justice and prevent an investigation from going forward. i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will defend the special counsel from these spurious attacks. everyone democrat and republican alike must reject the strident voices that falsely impugn special counsel mueller. now, year end mr. president, we have a lot to accomplish before the end of the year. government funding runs out on friday. we still haven't reached bipartisan agreement on lifting the budget caps to ensure our investments in economic growth and job creation rise in tandem with our investments in the
3:29 pm
national defense. or on a disaster supplemental that treats equitably california, puerto rico, and the u.s. virgin islands as well as texas and florida. we need a bipartisan agreement to fully fund the children's health insurance program and community health centers. end the sabotage of our health care markets. protect the dreamers and shore up pension plans for hundreds of thousands of hardworking americans. we should be doing all these things together instead of in a piecemeal fashion. it will lead to a better bipartisan result, which is a necessity. and to try and do it in a partisan way as the house of representatives seems to be doing, will need to nowhere and to a government shutdown. instead of jamming through a partisan tax scam in the house and senate, we should be working on middle-class priorities. and to make matters worse house
3:30 pm
republicans continue to waste time on a partisan cromnibus that is dead on arrival here in the senate. now, there is another path. republicans and democrats continue to negotiate a genuine bipartisan agreement that paves the way for the major unresolved issues to get to the president's desk. with so little time left before the end of the year, those negotiations must proceed with ernest. the republican members of the team called off the negotiations and said let's do it tomorrow as the clock ticks. a few items have become sticking points and should be addressed. we still don't have a deal on pensions. over one million americans are waiting for our flindz to do what's -- friends to do what's right and work on a solution to the pension crisis in america. these working people, every
3:31 pm
month, put money into a pension hoping that when they retire won't become rich but can live a life of dignity. we have an obligation to help them. that's a high priority for we democrats in the senate and house. we still don't have a resolution on democrats' funding requests for opioid treatment. we know the scourge of opioids and the amount of deaths through america, urban rural black white, has hispanic -- hispanic, asian. there's a clamor in the nation to do more. what about veterans' care? our veterans who served us, the cuts have hurt them. they are not getting the help they need. infrastructure. our infrastructure is crumbling. we need help in urban area,
3:32 pm
rural areas suburban areas. what about that. there's no resolution on adequate funding for puerto rico and on its resiliency on the virgin islands nothing about fixing our wildfire problem. we haven't heard about the foist court program -- fisa court program. the majority leader has told us, oh we have to act on fisa. he could have put it on the floor today he could have put it on the floor last week instead of three judges, some of dubious credential, on the floor. so to tell us we're running out of time for fisa when the majority leader controls the floor and hasn't done anything for months seems a little hollow. we still don't have a good deal
3:33 pm
on the health care package now that republicans are pushing through a partisan repeal of individual mandate in their tax bill which causes -- which will cause premiums to rise 10%. america, when you get those premium increases this spring and summer, you will know who to blame. the number of americans without insurance will rise by 13 million. the bipartisan stabilization bills won't have the same impact. we'll need new legislation to account for the republicans' latest attempt to undermine our health care system. we still don't have a disaster package that adequately takes care of puerto rico, california, virgin islands. i hear my colleagues from texas are demanding that we rush through a partisan disaster package before the end of the year. texas needs the money but the governor of texas has refused to
3:34 pm
tap the state's $10 billion rainy day fund, the largest in the country to help houston and other parts of the state to recover from hurricane harvey, yet at the same time he's demanding immediate federal assistance. on its face it's absurd. it's an absurd position for a routine critic of federal government spending to demand money immediately while he was a -- has a $10 billion fund sitting there. you can imagine if those moneys were in new york or maryland what our republican colleagues would be saying, but constantly we have this what's good for the goose is not good for the gander on our republican side. i was going to use a stronger word but i stopped myself. so i say to the governor of texas, if a rainy day fund is
3:35 pm
not for a rainy day which texas had, than what the heck is it for? i, for one don't want to vote for a nickel to texas unless they tap that rainy day fund. and, of course, last, but certainly not least we have to ensure protection for the dreamers. bipartisan negotiations are ongoing in the house and senate. that's good news. democrats and republicans in the senate and in the house trying to come to an agreement on helping the greerms who -- dreamers who just want to help americans and coming up with border security, which we all believe we need. thousands of dreamers are losing their status every week. while our republican friends twiddle their thumbs, we need action on dreamers. we need our republican colleagues to cooperate.
3:36 pm
well mr. president on these issues and more there's a lot to do -- a lot of work left to do. instead of rushing through their partisan tax bill, i'd urge my republican colleagues to focus on the year-end negotiations. speaking of the tax bill, it appears it will be before us on a final vote early this week. though there were significant changes in the conference report, senators won't have much time to grapple with them. the conference report was released late last friday. we are taking a vote on a tax bill only a few weeks later. it will be a culmination of the sloppyist process i have witnessed in my time as a senator. my republican friends are squandering their so-called once in a generation opportunity for tax reform on a massive
3:37 pm
corporate bailout paid for -- at a time when our economy is increasingly stacked against the middle class and in favor of the wealthy, the republican tax bill will skew the playing field even further out of whack. the top 1% of earners capture 20% of national income while the bottom 50% take in 13%. then it will explode the deficit, starving our country the resources it needs to invest in infrastructure and scientific research. after that, it will endanger social security, medicare, made when a year or two or three down the line republicans come back to slash those programs to pay for the deficit they created. finally, our republican friends say, well, it will create a whole lot of jobs, give money to the wealthiest corporations, but
3:38 pm
as has been shown over and over again, the wealthiest corporation corporations have -- corporations have a ton of money now, they are not creating more jobs. the only claim our republican colleagues have for the middle class is trickle down. well, my friends no one believes in trickle down except a handful of wealthy greed which are people who seem to control what you're saying and doing in this tax bill. so the bill, in short is a cynical one two gut punch to the middle class. raise middle-class taxes to pay for corporate taxes and decimate the earned benefits as a kicker. surely we can do better than this. tomorrow republicans will have a chance to vote down this tax bill which is one of the least popular pieces of legislation in the last 30 years. my republican colleagues have accomplished an amazing trick. this is unpopular in america.
3:39 pm
they know what's in it. the public know. they know they are getting crumbs if anything, many are getting increases while the highest income people do great. well, let me just say if by some miracle our republican colleagues get the good sense to vote this package down and really help the middle class instead of just helping the wealthy, we democrats will be there. they will find a democratic leader and a democratic party willing to work with them on real bipartisan tax reform. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume the
3:40 pm
nominations en bloc. the clerk: department of housing and urban development, jay paul compton of alabama to be general counsel, department of defense owen west to be assistant secretary. the presiding officer: the time until 5:30 p.m. will be actually -- equally divided in the usual form. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president listening to my friend, the democratic leader, leads me to conclude that he and the american people have given up on their dream they want to settle for the status quo which is stagnant growth of the economy and people haven't seen increases in their wages for years. and, yes they seem to be rooting for failure. that seems to be the attitude of
3:41 pm
our missing in action congressional democrats on the tax cuts and jobs act. we, on the other hand, think that american families need more take-home pay higher wages more jobs, and a competitive economy. and we believe that they shouldn't have to settle for less. i'll come back to that in a moment mr. president. i do want to talk about tax reform and make the perhaps obvious statement that tax reform is hard. that's the reason it hadn't been done since 1986. and it's even harder when you have a political party that's determined to fight against every single proposal that we have made in our tax cut and tax reform bill, including ones that they themselves have championed in the past. i've heard the ranking member of the senate finance committee
3:42 pm
senator wyden from oregon, talk about corporate giveaways. the democratic leader just alluded to the same thing. we are approaching the same approach they took in previous tax proposals and that president obama advocated for in 2011 when he asked for republicans and democrats to lower the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. he knew it was chasing jobs overseas and he knew it was important to bring those jobs back to the united states, and that's exactly what our bill does. my friend kevin brady head of the house, ways and means committee called tawrm a rubiks cube. thank my we figured out how to solve the rubik's coup. we -- cube. it is not perfect, but it is
3:43 pm
good and it is much better than the status quo which our democratic colleagues seem to have settled for. last week the conference committee met between the house and senate and members including myself, had many difficult conversations about how to reconcile the differences between the two bills. thosing discussions were -- those discussions were necessary, prudent and productive. we now have a consensus about how to get this bill across the finish line and to the president's desk before christmas. we will vote on this final bill after the house does tomorrow -- hopefully by tomorrow night perhaps will carry over into wednesday morning but we will get it on the president's desk for him to sign into law as we have pledged. i want to talk for a few moments about why i'm so excited at the prospect, and so are so many
3:44 pm
other people across the country. because oftentimes their words get lost in the chatter some of which is designed to mislead and presents an inaccurate picture of ow -- of how this tax reform will be. but those good people deserve to be heard. let me first talk about manufacturing. there was a survey released last week that showed historically high optimism among 14,000 small and large employers in the manufacturing sector. how long have we heard that we need to bring manufacturing back to the united states rather than outsourcing it to mexico, china or other places around the world? well we tried to address that and i think we met with some success. because more than 94% of manufacturers are now positive about their company's outlook --
3:45 pm
94%. nearly 64% said tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending. capital spending is what goes into infrastructure and equipment and things that allow them to become more productive and to create more jobs. and a majority of these manufacturers said they would indeed expand their business, they would hire more workers after this bill is signed into law by the president. in fact, manufacturers predict that the number of jobs could surge to two million by the year 2025. now there are roughly 350,000 american manufacturing jobs. a leap to two million is almost fantastic hard to contemplate but very exciting if true. now, the second group i want to mention that is very excited about the tax cuts and job
3:46 pm
relief act are small businesses. we know small businesses are the economic engine of the country. indeed 70% of new jobs are created not by fortune 500 company businesses but by small businesses. as one piece in the houston chronicle recently pointed out the 2.6 million small businesses that call texas home are enthusiastic because tax reform will provide them much needed relief. small businesses, of course, all have to pay taxes which is burdensome enough, but they also have to spend hours and money to comply with our unnecessarily complex tax laws. according to 2017 survey by the national small business association, 58% of small businesses reported that the administrative burden of federal taxes posed a greater chal
3:47 pm
listening than the cost of the tax -- challenge than the cost of the taxes themselves. the burden of compliance was worse than the check they had to write to the federal government. the houston op ed put the matter succinctly and it said arks i quote, for large corporations that can afford a small army of lawyers and accountants the tax laws are a nuisance. for small businesses, they are a nightmare. now, mr. president that situation will change. our bill will simplify the tax code by eliminating many special deductions and credits while broadening the base and bringing down rates. now, to those cynics here inside the beltway who roll their eyes, who think that changes to the business provisions of the code don't matter, i'd point out two more important pieces of news. first, the federal reserve an
3:48 pm
independent government institution recently said that this tax package is one of the factors that have led them to increase their projections for growth next year. that's welcome to say the least. tax reform said federal reserve chair janet yellen last appointed by president obama she said it will boost spending and could do the same for productivity. so the federal reserve has raised its growth projections for next year, particularly in response to what we're doing. and for those who worry about deficits, that we're cutting taxes too much and that don't believe the economy will grow to compensate for those cuts in taxes, all they need to do is look at the projection of the federal reserve. they currently project the economy growing at a 2.1% but she said next year it could go to2.5%.
3:49 pm
even if you believe that very conservative estimate, that is enough growth to compensate for the cut in taxes and the loss of revenue next year. but we expect that will continue and grow over the next ten years years. and it's another thing to note how the rest of the world is reacting to what we're doing here. to name but one example china is worried which should tell us something. according to a "wall street journal" story printed last week, china sees these tax plans as making the u.s. a much more attractive place to invest, which means less investment will occur in china. one official in beijing has called our tax plan a huge and imminent danger that can't be ignored. china is worried that job creators will relocate, which is a well founded concern. and one of the goals of this tax bill. relocate here in america.
3:50 pm
that's exactly what they will do when we lower the corporate rate and go to a territorial system rather than taxing these businesses ties and encouraging them to keep the money they earn and the jobs they create overseas we encourage them to bring them back to america. by making our businesses more internationally competitive. so to summarize what we're seeing already and we haven't even passed the bill yet the conference report at least. we passed the senate bill, the house bill. now the conference report was released friday which is the reconciled version between the house and the senate version. but to summarize what we've seen already, nationally manufacturers are raving about the tax plan. in places like texas, small businesses desperately need the relief this bill offers. the federal reserve an ipt financial -- an independent financial body of the federal government has increased their
3:51 pm
growth estimates in part based upon the tax relief provided in this bill. and our chief competitor in the global economy is startled -- startled by what we're doing and afraid of what it might mean in terms of america's competitiveness globally. put all this together and what do you have? a brief snapshot of the huge economic impact of the tax overhaul that will be signed by the president in the next few days. signs of that impact are all around us. almost everywhere i look. i know of at least one major airline, southwest airlines that's already announced big plans, what they plan to do with their tax savings. with the benefits afforded by this tax reform, it said it will purchase new aircraft. this means more jobs for the people who build those aircraft. it means more jobs for the pilots and the flight attendants that travel on them. it means better customer
3:52 pm
experiences. and it may even mean lower fares for consumers. but let's talk about what this bill does for americans that get up and go to work every day and just try to eke out a living, providing for their families. well i'll tell you for those worried about how tax reform will affect real people's actual lives, let me give you a couple of concrete examples. let's take a single teacher making $50,000 a year. she will see a significant reduction in her tax burden, between 17% and 20% less taxes that she will have to pay. this comes from a lower marginal rate and a higher standard deduction. how about the married couple -- a married couple with three
3:53 pm
children having median earnings of $75,000 a year. well their tax bill will decrease as well by as much as $2,000 from a lower rate and a higher child tax credit. as i've said before, maybe some of our democratic friends don't believe this is a big deal. maybe they don't care about those american families living paycheck to paycheck who would welcome $2,000 additional each year. their actions make me think like they are okay with the status quo because they've refused to even participate in the process and they've been rooting for failure every step along the way way. well, we saw the latest example of this over the weekend, mr. president, when a left-wing website masquerading as a
3:54 pm
legitimate news outlet led by a former staffer of the junior senator from vermont published what it advertised as a breaking news story about the final bill. this story breathlessly claimed that without a shred of evidence that a provision had been air dropped into the final draft in secret in order to secure the vote of a member who would supposedly personally benefit from it. this was a salacious tale from beginning to end. it was also completely false and invented. as a matter of the senate intelligence committee i've been joining with my colleagues over the last year to investigate russian intelligence operatives' efforts to undermine public confidence in our last elections. well the way this phony news
3:55 pm
story broke and was picked up on social media and in the mainstream media would make a russian intelligence officer proud. what the whole purpose of this exercise was this false and invented story is to undermine public confidence in this tax reform package that we will pass perhaps as early as tomorrow and be signed by the president before christmas. some of our friends on the other side of the aisle and their allies in the so-called mainstream media ran with it in a dishonest attempt to derail us from passing the bill and undermine the reputation for integrity of one of our fellow senators. all from a made-up story. again the russian intelligence officials, it's well documented by now through a combination of
3:56 pm
cybertheft, propaganda creative use of social media and the gullible mainstream media undermine american confidence in our most basic obligation and institution of our government, which is our election system. but what we saw happen this weekend, as i said, would have made a russian intelligence officer proud. there's a letter from chairman hatch, chairman of the fans committee makes clear -- of the finance committee makes clear today, this website which by the way also posted a false report about an amendment i introduced several weeks ago and later had to correct it, spread a false story irresponsibly and dishonestly. in this letter chairman hatch writes, it takes a great deal of imagination and likely no small
3:57 pm
amount of partisanship to argue that a provision that has been public for over a month debated on the floor of the house of representatives, included in a house-passed bill and identified by the joint committee on taxation as an issue requiring compromise between conferees is somehow a covert and last-minute addition to the conference report. it reminds me of another quote sometimes attributed to mark twain, perhaps apockly who says a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. i can travel faster than that today because of social media. shame on those who would perpetuate lies in an effort to deny the american people a much
3:58 pm
needed tax cut and tax relief. thank goodness that attitude isn't shared by most americans and by the texans i represent who want and deserve much better than the same old same old. they don't believe we have to settle for the status quo. and we're going to give them that something better. we're going to keep our promise. and i can't wait til this bill gets on the president's desk. let me just close, mr. president, by saying i'm a proud son of a world war ii veteran. my dad was in the army air corps, flew b-17's out of the air force base in england over nazi germany during the end of world war ii. he was a member of the eighth air force the 303rd bomb group. on his 26th mission he was shot down.
3:59 pm
and captured as a prisoner of war. thank goodness he survived and came home, met my mom married raised a family, and became a productive member of civilian society after his military service. but i remember like it was yesterday what my parents said they wanted for me and my brother and my sister. it's what parents of that entire generation wanted for their children and grandchildren. they wanted to know that their sacrifice, their willingness to fight and win america's wars against a terrible tyrant, like adolph hitler, that the consequence of their sacrifice and their service would be a better standard of living, a safer world a better quality of life.
4:00 pm
in short what they wanted for us and what i want for my children and what i believe everybodyevery american parent wants for their child or their children, it's exactly what my parents wanted for me and my sister and my brother. we sometimes call that the american dream. some of us believe that the american dream is still alive that we don't have is -- don't have to settle for second place. we don't have to settle for the status quo. we don't have to settle for flat wages and fewer jobs. we can do better. we believe we have done better in this piece of legislation which will help reawaken the slumbering giant of the american economy. it will put americans back to work. it will mean more take-home pay.
4:01 pm
it will mean a better standard of living. but surprisingly and disappointingly, our colleagues across the aisle want no part of it. i hope they haven't given up on that american dream. i haven't given up, and i don't believe americans have given up on that dream. mr. president, i yield the floor and i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:02 pm
mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i'd ask the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i neglected to offer by unanimous consent a copy of the letter from chairman hatch that i referred to earlier. i'd ask consent that it be made part of the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: madam president, i rise --. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. king: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. king: madam president, i rise today to talk not about legislation or about the tax bill -- well, i may talk about the tax bill a little. but i do want to talk about deadlines, how we do our work, how we all do our work whether it's in the united states senate in our businesses or our personal lives. i want to talk about deadlines missed and deadlines that don't exist. one of the realities of this place that i think is very unfortunate is that we rarely
4:05 pm
make our deadlines. and these are self-imposed deadlines. these are deadlines that we create. we pass a law that says something has to happen by december 30. we set the deadline and then we don't make it. most notoriously with budgets. i don't know when the last time we had a budget on time. i think it's like 17 years ago. i suspect there are probably less than a dozen senators in this chamber who were here when we last passed a budget on time. there's no excuse for that. the problem is when we put it off, we don't know anything more than we did at the time of the deadline. we could have done it. and yet because we're able to we do. that's human nature, unfortunately. who among us would not have put off the deadline for a book report if we could have said to the teacher gee, i don't think i can make that monday morning deadline. i'll just do my book report on
4:06 pm
tuesday. life doesn't work that way. in the real world, there are deadlines, there are consequences if you don't get your work done on time. things happen. and if you don't get your work done on time, usually those things that are bad. i don't know where else, other than in this body, where deadlines, which have enormous implications and enormous importance are simply ignored. now, i just sat in the last day or so and put together some real deadlines that we have in the law right now. what are they? well the children's health insurance program deadline september 30, 2017. that's gone. that's passed. i can give you 23,000 reasons that we should have met that deadline. that's the number of young people in maine that are covered by the children's health insurance program.
4:07 pm
nine million nationwide. but we missed the deadline. why? i can't find any reason. we don't know anything now that we didn't know in the middle of september or in august that we could have passed this program but we just blew right by it. maybe it's because none of our kids are in this program. i venture to say if the children of the members of the united states senate were in the chip program, we would have met that deadline. but we didn't. what's another one? community health centers. another deadline of september 30 that was missed. i'll give you 200,000 reasons that we should have met that deadline. that's the number of people in my state of maine that are served by federally qualified health centers. i was at one just on friday. they serve people who otherwise wouldn't get care.
4:08 pm
they fill an enormous gap particularly in a rural state to provide health care to people who need it. but we didn't make the deadline. no particular reason. no reason not to make this deadline. we just blew right by it. not all that important. i venture to say if our families were covered under this program, we would have gotten it done. no senators' families are covered by federally qualified health centers. if they had been, we would have gotten it done. of course the granddaddy of all deadlines mentioned is the budget. october 1 2017. we missed it. no deadline. we just went right by it. nothing happened. well what we did was pass a continuing resolution. a continuing resolution really should be called a cop-out resolution. it's basically saying we're not going to make the decisions
4:09 pm
the hard decisions in a budget. we're just going to push them forward for a month or two. but the problem is the month or two comes. and in fact it's coming this friday. and now we're talking about another continuing resolution to go into january or february. no business would do this. families can't even do this. some time ago i was the governor of maine and i remember vividly, i can practically tell you where i was standing in my office, we have a deadline in maine of july 1 for our budget. we always make it. and members of the legislature of one of the parties came to me. they were having a hard time getting a budget. it was very contentious as the budget is every year, and they said governor, let's just do a continuing resolution like they do in washington, and we can solve this problem in the next two weeks. i said not on your life. because if we do, once we open
4:10 pm
the pandora's box of continuing resolutions in maine or in iowa or in mississippi or florida then we're stuck. we'll never get a budget on time again because it's too easy to put off the hard decisions. what do we know now about the budget that we didn't know in august? what will we know in january that we don't know now? and, by the way a continuing resolution for the entire budget is bad for the government and disastrous for national security. i serve on the armed services committee. we have hearings both from our civilian leadership and from our military leadership. and they have told us repeatedly please get us a budget. the continuing resolution doesn't allow us to plan. it locks us into last year's priorities. it doesn't allow us to look forward, to make commitments that will save the taxpayers money if we have the authority.
4:11 pm
it is a disaster for national security. but a deadline was missed on september 30. it looks like we're going to miss another deadline on december 22. and we'll be here talking about funding the government, doing the budget sometime in january maybe in february, and there's no reason for it. there's no reason for it except that we're simply avoiding making difficult decisions. the next one daca, deferred action for childhood arrivals. the real deadline started on october 6. that's when people started to lose the ability to re-up their qualifications for daca. it's over 100 people a day are losing their daca status. in the last week it's been i think something like 1,700 in the last week or ten days. these are people who are going to go into the holidays unsure
4:12 pm
about whether they're going to be able to continue to live in this country. these are young people, as we all know. this is the only country they know. they were brought here as little kids. they weren't illegal immigrants. they were brought here as children and they're contributing to our society and they're working and they're paying taxes. but we missed the deadline starting in october. now the president even the president says we should fix this program and he gave us six months. he said i'm going to, i'm going to disallow the program but not until march 5 2018. i don't know whether it's legal to bet in the district of columbia but i'd be willing to bet that we're still struggling with this question on march 4 2018. i deeply hope not because lives are being toyed with here. unnecessarily.
4:13 pm
we could make the decisions now. we could decide and reach a compromise agreement on this program which members of both sides of the aisle needs to be done including the president. let's get it done. but it's one more missed deadline. national flood insurance program, deadline december 22. four days from now. i don't think we're going to make it. and if ever there was a time with the importance of the national flood insurance program, it's now. we've had enormous flooding issues with the hurricanes in texas and florida and puerto rico and the virgin islands. and yet the flood insurance program expires on december 22. why don't we get it done? because it's not our houses. it's not our houses that are at risk to get the flood insurance. i suspect if we had the houses that were part of this problem it would be solved.
4:14 pm
medicare extenders expire on december 31 of this year. are we going to get those done? i deeply hope so but i'm not sure. fisa section 702, one of the most important national intelligence provisions that we have also expires at the end of the year. are we going to get that done? i deeply hope so, but i'm not optimistic. wildfires, fema disaster aid for harvey, irma, maria wildfires, these are huge disasters. we have partially funded them, but certainly not to the point that's going to be required. and those deadlines were all through this fall. now at the bottom of my chart of priorities is tax reform. boy, are we going to make that deadline.
4:15 pm
the only problem is it doesn't exist. there's no deadline for that. there was no deadline. it's not december 22. it's not christmas. it's not new year's. it's a self-imposed deadline that's not in law anywhere. and i agree we need to do tax reform but we have been doing it on an unprecedented scale and speed that's unnecessary. we have missed and ignored all these real deadlines in exchange for focusing all of our attention on a fake deadline. sure it would be nice to get it done. we could have gotten it done. it could have been done on a bipartisan basis. we started last summer, and we would have had a bill just like the bill that emerged from the help committee with regard to health care on a bipartisan basis. but instead, it was a closed process done with unprecedented speed with virtually no
4:16 pm
hearings no real hearings on the bill, no serious outside experts, no analysis of what's in it. we have been given a 500-page bill that we're going to vote on probably in a day or so. and yet we're racing to meet a deadline that didn't exist. it's boring to talk about process, but that's what i'm really talking about today. i just don't understand an institution that doesn't make its real deadlines and yet races and throws everything aside to try to make a deadline that just came out of the air. it's not in any law any rule, any expectation. let's just do it by christmas or by the end of the year. it's no way to run a business, and it's certainly no way to run a government on behalf of the american people. i have never been in an institution or in a group of
4:17 pm
people that are so capable as the people that are here, and i find it genuinely puzzling as to why we have performed so poorly, why the public opinion of us is so low because these are good people on both sides of the aisle. and yet something about the way this institution works keeps us from meeting the rules and expectations that the rest of the society takes for granted like making deadlines. doing your job. doing what you're paid to do. one of the most fundamental responsibilities is to pass a budget. we have members of our appropriations committee who have been working for a year to put the budget together. it's done, and we could do this. but instead we're putting it off and putting it off and putting it off and i would be surprised if come january or february assuming we don't make it by this friday, there are
4:18 pm
going to be people who say let's just do a continuing resolution for the rest of the year. a cop-out resolution. a nonresolution. a nondecision on behalf of the people of this country. madam president, i think we can do better. i think we can begin to regain the trust of the american people by going back and doing things the way we're supposed to. according to the old norms with hearings and considerations and making deadlines and meeting our obligations to our citizens and to our country. madam president, i deeply hope that as the year turns we also make a turn, and we make a turn to do this place better, to do our work that the american people hired us to do, to do it
4:19 pm
on a timely basis and to meet our responsibilities. i believe we can do it. i believe we can do it better, and i deeply hope that we do so. thank you madam president. i yield the floor. ms. collins: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: madam president i rise to express my support for the conference agreement on the tax cuts and job act. the first major overhaul of our tax code since 1986. this legislation will provide tax relief to working families, encourage the creation of jobs right here in america and spur economic growth that will benefit all americans. madam president, let me start by discussing the effects of this
4:20 pm
bill on the -- on individuals and families. throughout this debate, i have emphasized that reforms to our outdated tax code must help working families. i therefore authored three key amendments that were retained in the final package. my amendments allowed families to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes increasing the deduction for medical expenses, and protect tax-free contributions for retirement savings. the original senate bill would have eliminated the deduction known as salt that allows taxpayers to avoid paying a federal tax on state and local taxes that they have already paid. this provision has been in the
4:21 pm
tax code since 1913 when the income tax was first established. it is intended to prevent double taxation. my amendment which was adopted by the senate restored the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000. i'm pleased that the final bill goes a step further by allowing the deduction of property and income or sales taxes up to this level, which will assist even more americans. my work to restore this deduction is especially important to families living in high-tax states like maine which has one of our nation's highest tax burdens yet maine's per capita income ranks only 31st, which is nearly $5,200 below the u.s. average.
4:22 pm
maintaining this deduction therefore provides important tax relief for those mainers who itemize. madam president, my secretary amendment included in the conference agreement is a very important one. it is aimed at helping americans struggling with high, unreimbursed health care costs including seniors paying for long-term tear for a loved one and those with expensive chronic health care conditions. my amendment lowers the threshold for claiming this deduction for these unreimbursed expenses from 10% to 7.5% of income for 2017 and 2018. now, the house bill would have eliminated this long-standing deduction used by approximately 8.8 million americans annually.
4:23 pm
nearly half of whom make less than $50,000 per year. retaining this important deduction and lowering the threshold will provide relief for those experiencing particularly high health care costs. that is why aarp and 44 other consumer groups strongly endorsed my amendment stating quote, it provides important tax relief which helps offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions for older americans, children, pregnant women, disabled individuals and other adults, as well as the costs associated with long-term care and assisted living, end quote. at a time when we need to be encouraging americans to save
4:24 pm
more for their retirement, i'm encouraged that the final agreement preserves the pretax contribution limits for retirement savings plans. madam president, we are in the midst of a silent but looming retirement security crisis in this country. according to the nonpartisan center for retirement research, there is a $7.7 trillion gap between the savings that american households need to maintain their standard of living in retirement and what they actually have saved. we should be doing everything we can to encourage more savings not less. for this reason, i'm pleased that the final bill includes my third amendment which struck the
4:25 pm
original senate language, eliminating the ability of public employees like firefighters schoolteachers, and police officers as well as clergy and those employed by charities and nonprofit organizations to make what are called catchup contributions to their retirement accounts. these employees are generally paid less than their counterparts employed by for-profit companies and thus are less able to save for their retirement. my provision will allow them to continue to making these important extra investments toward a secure retirement. the conference agreement benefits lower and middle-income taxpayers significantly while simplifying the tasks that no
4:26 pm
one relishes of completing our tax returns. significantly, this bill nearly doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for those filing jointly. the child tax credit will also be doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 and thanks to senator rubio's efforts which i strongly supported up to $1,400 of that tax credit will be refundable in order to benefit low-income families. but, madam president let's be more concrete. what do these reforms mean to families across our country? the 72% of mainers who already
4:27 pm
use the standard deduction will have their taxes reduced. a family with $24,000 in income will pay no federal income tax. a single mom earning $35,000 a year with one child will see her taxes drop by nearly 4,000%. instead of paying money back to washington, she will be getting back nearly $1,100 to help her make ends meet. a couple with no children earning $60,000 will see their taxes fall by more than $900. and a couple with two children earning $60,000 will get a tax cut of about $1,700. that is a reduction of more than 100%.
4:28 pm
the bottom line, madam president, is that most maine households will see their taxes go down. madam president, i was very concerned about a number of important deductions for individuals that would have been eliminated under the house bill. having worked at hudson university in bangor before my election to the senate, i am well aware of how critical education deductions and credits are to our students and their families. therefore, i had several fruitful discussions with a key conferee, senator rob portman about preserving those deductions that help students afford higher education and i appreciate his strong advocacy for these provisions that i care
4:29 pm
so much about as a result of my direct experience working with college students. in fact, madam president one of the very first bills that i introduced in the senate as a new senator in 1997 was to provide a deduction for interest paid on student loans. the conference agreement maintains that dubility on student loans as well as the tax exemption for employer-provided tuition assistance and for graduate student tuition waivers. all of those important deductions are maintained in this bill and will help americans improve their earnings because of the increased education that they will have.
4:30 pm
the bill also maintains a $250 deduction, a provision i authored some 15 years ago that allows teachers to deduct the costs of classroom supplies that they purchase with their own money. and having visited more than 200 schools in the state of maine i know how firsthand -- firsthand how dedicated teachers buy supplies to enhance the education of their students. this bill would modernize the able accounts which are tax-preferred accounts for providing long-term support for individuals with disabilities and their families. the bill also continues the tax credit to encourage adoptions.
4:31 pm
the final agreement also preserves a number of deductions and credits that are so important to our communities. i worked hard to preserve the historic tax credit so that businesses rehabilitating older buildings in communities like lewis in maine will continue to do so. i'm also pleased that private activity bonds which are vital to many hospitals and institutions of higher education, are continued as are the affordable and new market tax credits. madam president we have found proven ways to encourage public-private partnerships and we ought to continue to incentivize these important partnerships. madam president how this
4:32 pm
legislation treats employers has also been the subject of much debate but the reality is that the united states cannot continue to have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world at 35%. we are losing jobs as businesses make the calculation to invest overseas. i have talked to the executives of general dynamics which owns batdz iron works -- bath ironworks in maine and united technology which employees more -- employs more than 1,900 people and general electric which has a major place in
4:33 pm
bangor and to idex, which is such an important high-tech employer in westbrook about the positive difference this legislation will make in their ability to create jobs in america. new balance which has about 900 workers in maine manufacturing footwear describes the tax reforms as follows it will manufacture more footwear in maine that we can export across the globe. this signature maine -- significant maine employer said that companies like new balance which already have a strong domestic manufacturing presence, will be able to increase investments in their facilities
4:34 pm
and be more globally competitive while remaining a u.s. company hiring u.s. workers. these words are echoed by the manager of the pratt & whitney plant who wrote to me that these reforms for companies like ours will bring home earnings and invest in research and development, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency and workforce initiatives. pratt & whitney plans to hire thousands of people over the next couple of years over our u.s. operations and this tax reform will further support our efforts. madam president isn't that what we seek? isn't that what tax reform should bring about more jobs right here in america? the bill also includes changes
4:35 pm
important for our small businesses which employ more -- employ nearly half of all workers and generate two out of three net new jobs in our country. they are the true engine of our economy, especially in the great state of maine. the bill will provide tax relief that enables them to create more jobs, increase paychecks and grow our economy. as the president of the retail association of maine recently commented about this tax reform bill for maine and its nearly 9,000 retail establishments and the more than 80,000 retail jobs this is welcomed relief for small businesses. according to the national federation of independent business maine ranks fifth in the nation for the shared workers employed by pass-through
4:36 pm
businesses as most small employers are structured. the nfib, our nation's largest small business advocacy group has strongly endorsed this final bill. small businesses make an outsized contribution to our nation's economy and yet they face a tax burden that can reach nearly 40% at the federal level and can be significantly higher than the corporate tax rates paid by large firms. small businesses are forced to have more tax resources rather than investing in their communities. this bill provides important tax relief to small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. let's listen to the words of some of the small businesses who have written or talked to me
4:37 pm
from maine. the owner of windham mill work, an architectural woodworking company described the relief for small businesses and how it will help manufacturing workers and families this way. most pornl it -- importantly it means that windham millwork will have more money to spend on what matters, our workers and community. with the money we save, we can create new jobs or offer better pay to our workforce and that helps everyone in our community and contributes to a growing maine economy. the inkeeper of the nonatum resort noted that this tax reform bill helps level the playing field for small
4:38 pm
businesses, not only in the hotel industry but across the economy. with a lower tax burden, small businesses in all industries can continue to grow creating more jobs. moreover a family owned business in southern maine described for me how the bill would benefit maine companies and the people who work at them. when companies become more profitable they reinvest faster, grow faster, and increase profit sharing. employees benefit when companies grow. there are more jobs, more opportunities, more security, more mobility, more innovation. tax reform should spur this kind of economic growth. the weak growth and stagnant wages that we have seen in
4:39 pm
recent years cannot be accepted as the new normal for our country. it is clear where the current path would lead if we do not act. c.b.o. projects the current slow growth of just 1.9% per year will continue throughout the next decade, far blow the -- below the historic average of 3%. this would result in our public debt exceeding 90% of g.d.p. by 2027 just as our obligations to the baby boom generation begin to crest. surely, madam president we can do better. tax relief and reform will lift our economy leading to higher wages for workers and more revenue for government.
4:40 pm
extrapolating a c.b.o. estimate, an increase of just .4% of 1% in economic growth could produce revenues that are in excess of $1 trillion over the next 10 years. if we remain on our present trajectory however growth will remain stagnant. continued slow growth will crowd out many funding priorities, harm our national security, play significant strain -- place significant strain on federal programs and impose a burden on our children and our grandchildren. we must act now to reignite the engine of growth to provide for the next generation the same promise of a brighter future we received from those who came
4:41 pm
before us. finally, madam president, let me discuss the critical issue of health care. it has been deeply disturbing to see seniors frightened about the possibility that this tax bill could trigger an automatic 4% cut in the vital medicare program. although i knew that the law that could cause this reduction has been waived 16 times i felt that it was essential that our leaders publicly commit that medicare reductions would not be triggered by this legislation. i don't know of any senator on either side of the aisle that is seeking to have automatic 4% cut
4:42 pm
in medicare go into effect, and i would ask unanimous consent that my exchange of correspondance with the senate majority leader be entered into the record at the conclusion of my statement. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: this pledge is ironclad and i hope reassuring to our seniors. madam president i'm also concerned about the inclusion of the repeal of the individual mandate of the affordable care act as part of this tax bill. i don't think that the two issues should have been combined but let me be very clear: i have never supported the individual mandate. there is a big difference
4:43 pm
between finding people who choose to go without health insurance versus the bills considered last summer and fall that would have taken away insurance coverage from people who have it and want it. it would also -- those bills also would have made sweeping cuts in the medicaid program. madam president the financial penalty under the individual mandate for failing to comply with it falls disproportionately on lower-income americans. 80% of those who pay the fine make under $50,000 a year. for many of these individuals the cost of insurance under the a.c.a. is simply unaffordable.
4:44 pm
individuals making 250% of the federal poverty level that's just over $30,000 are not eligible for the subsidies to reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs that are known as the cost-sharing reductions. so essentially the insurance that they are being find if they don't buy is virtually useless to them because the deductibles and the copays are so high, and if they make under 250% of the port level, -- poverty level under $30 thousand -- $$25,000 a
4:45 pm
year, they cannot afford it. i want to make an important point that has not been made in this debate. any senator democratic or republican could have struck the repeal of the individual mandate. none not one chose to do so. that is telling indeed, and reflects both how unpopular the mandate is and how burdensome its impact is. nevertheless, madam president repealing the individual mandate without other health care reforms will almost certainly lead to further increases in the cost of health insurance. premiums that are already too expensive under the a.c.a. for these reasons i've made it a priority to secure passage of
4:46 pm
two bipartisan bills that will help make health insurance more affordable. shouldn't that be a goal that all of us can embrace, madam president? both of these bills have the support of the president the vice president and the senate republican leaders. in fact, majority leader mcconnell and i engaged in a colloquy affirming that commitment. the first bill, the bipartisan health care stabilization act sponsored by senators alexander and murray will provide vital funding to help low-income families pay their out-of-pocket costs includingdeductible and copays associated with certain a.c.a. insurance. i'm proud to be one of the 22 cosponsors of the bipartisan alexander-murray bill.
4:47 pm
the second is a bipartisan bill that i introduced with my friend and colleague senator bill knell nelson. it would protect people with preexisting conditions while lowering the cost of health insurance through the use of high-risk pools. this plan will provide $5 billion annually for two years and money for states to establish invisible high-risk pools or traditional reinsurance programs. and, madam president we don't have to guess about the impact. i'm going to quote some actuarial studies shortly but the fact is we know from experience in states like maine and alaska that high-risk pools can help to lower premiums substantially by an average of 20%. analyses show that enactment of
4:48 pm
these two bills together will reduce the cost of health insurance, thus, making it more affordable. according to analysis by experts at oliver wyman the passage of these bills will more than offset the premium increases caused by the repeal of the individual mandate. in fact, ole oliver wyman suggests in its estimate that the $5 billion in funding would be sufficient to allow states to leverage more than $15 billion in reinsurance coverage and that it would result in premiums that were more than 20% lower than if the individual mandate were repealed and the package of provisions were not implemented.
4:49 pm
furthermore analysis suggests in combination c.s.r. funding and $5 billion in annual reinsurance could lower 2019 premiums by 18% and increase enrollment by 1.3 million people. the national association of insurance commissioners wrote that these two bills would significantly reduce health insurance premiums and help promote more stability in insurance markets. the naic said the following. providing reliable federal funding to reimburse health insurance carriers for the cost-sharing reduction program assistance that they give low income consumers and grant states to establish high-risk
4:50 pm
pools or reinsurance programs would reduce premium increases as much as 20% and could encourage some carriers to stay in the market. madam president in evaluating this bill, the question we should ask is not does this tax cut make washington better off? the right question to ask is does this tax cut make the american people better off. and the answer to that question is yes. the bill puts money back in the pockets of the american taxpayer with tax cuts beginning january 1. as soon as the i.r.s. updates with holding tables this winter, taxpayers will see the benefit of this bill in their paychecks.
4:51 pm
over time americans will also see more benefits from this legislation in the form of higher wages. businesses small and large will make investments that will create more jobs. the presiding officer: senator, your time has expired. ms. collins: thank you, madam president. i will cast my vote in support of the conference agreement on the tax cuts and jobs act. while it is no means perfect on balance this reform bill will provided much needed tax relief. it will benefit low and middle-income families while spurring the creation of good jobs and greater economic growth. thank you, madam president. mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president does the senator from maine need some more time? ms. collins: thank you very much senator nelson. i would say through the chair
4:52 pm
that's very gracious of you. i have completed my statement. thank you. mr. nelson: madam president while -- the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president while the senator from maine is still here, let me just say what a great senator that she is and what a player it is to do business in a bipartisan way as the two of us have done for now several years here in the senate including the legislation that the senator from maine just talked about. i just want to say to the senator from maine that it is my hope that the statements that have been made to you the statements that these two pieces of legislation that you referenced will be passed i do believe that the majority
4:53 pm
leader, senator mcconnell will honor that with regard to the senate. it is my -- this senator's concern that down at the other end of the hall in the house of representatives that they may not honor that. and i certainly hope that the senator feels like that she has the statements of commitment by the leadership in the house of representatives that they will do as senator mcconnell has indicated. madam president i want to talk about the tax bill and needless to say you're going to hear a different version from me than my good friend and the very distinguished senator from maine because last night we got the conference agreement on the tax bill and you can actually -- i
4:54 pm
said last night. i meant last friday night. and you can wonder why it was held until friday night late when nobody was paying attention what all was in the details of the bill. and what's becoming increasingly clear is that this tax bill is not for ordinary folks. it's going to give a few nuggets to the middle class but that's too mask the true intent. the real purpose of the bill is to give huge tax cuts to multinational corporations and to make it easier for them to shift jobs overseas. that's the bottom line. right now under current law
4:55 pm
corporations that send jobs overseas have to pay taxes on the money that they bring back into the u.s. but now what this new g.o.p. tax bill says is corporations that send jobs overseas can bring the money back u.s. tax free. once this bill passes companies will come under increasing pressure to take advantage of the tax savings in the bill by sending their jobs overseas to low-wage countries particularly those jobs that can't already be automated. this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. instead of this version of the tax bill that will inevitably
4:56 pm
send america's jobs overseas, we should be working on a bill that cuts taxes permanently for hardworking middle-class families. supporters of the bill will argue a lower corporate rate will encourage companies to keep jobs here. they'll argue that rather than going in a country with a higher corporate rate, america's corporate rate will be lower but that's ignoring the attraction that companies have to send jobs overseas because of cheaper jobs and lower environmental standards. so you take china. china has a corporate rate of 25% except they make exceptions for certain companies at 15%.
4:57 pm
so even though in this tax bill, 2 1% for corporations on income earned in the u.s. it may still be higher than what they are charging in china and the corporations' pressure is to take it to a country that has lower environmental standards and lower wages. so i think our friends on the other side of the aisle this is a head fake. we're not fooled by this. we know what you're trying to do with this bill, and the more people learn about it, the worse it looks. and that's why you waited until friday night to be able to let the spotlight shine on it so over the weekend people weren't
4:58 pm
paying a lot of attention. there's a reason why my friends on the other side of the aisle are in such a rush to get this passed. it's because they want to get it enacted before all of the new loopholes, the sweetheart deals for the special interests and what is the bottom line of encouraging jobs to go overseas until that's discovered. and it's going to be starting right now to be discovered. it would be nice if our colleagues showed as much urgency for some of the other things that we should be doing in the senate, such as providing millions of kids with health insurance through the chip program or helping folks recover from the massive hurricanes this year including millions of people in puerto rico who are
4:59 pm
still without reliable electricity or drinking water or what about hundreds of thousands of kids in the u.s. that are here in a deportable status because they are the dreamers. that's what we ought to be worrying about. you look at puerto rico, it's been over three months going on four months since hurricane irma and maria devastated the island. it's been months since harvey, irma devastated farmers in texas and florida. and while the congress has passed two disaster supplemental funding packages, neither of them have included any relief
5:00 pm
for florida's agricultural community. they're hanging on by a thread. they can hardly make payroll. they're having to lay off people and they desperately need our help, which i hope we are going to address in this next disaster aid funding package. so instead of spending all of our energy on cutting corporate taxes and making it easier to send jobs, american jobs overseas, we should be focused on reauthorizing the children's health insurance plan, chip, so that nine million children across the country including nearly 400,000 in florida can continue to have access to the health coverage that they desperately need.
5:01 pm
or we should be negotiating permanent protections for the dreamers before they are kicked out of the only country that they have ever known. unfortunately, the only thing that this republican-led senate seems to care about is helping out large multinational corporations. the truth is these multinational corporations are doing just fine. we shouldn't be moving heaven and earth or addinga million and a half trillion dollars to the national debt or upsending our nation's health care system -- upending our nation's health care system to make it easier for them to send american jobs overseas. that's not right. that's not fair. the american people deserve better.
5:02 pm
mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, first i want to thank my friend senator nelson, for his comments on the floor in regards to the tax bill that we will be voting on later this week. the experience i had this morning just underscores the issues that senator nelson has brought to the floor. i had a meeting of the greater baltimore committee. we had business leaders labor leaders. we had advocates from different sectors of our community, we had graduate students that were there. all expressed concern about us voting on a tax bill this week that we first saw on friday evening, the latest version. and it still is fundamentally flawed as senator nelson has pointed out. i say it's fundamentally flawed because it gives significant
5:03 pm
big tax cuts to corporations and high-income taxpayers and leaves middle-income taxpayers footing the bill. the conference report actually makes it worse because they lower the highest tax rate from 39.6% to 37% another advantage for high-income taxpayers. in addition, of course, the estate tax is doubled which affects .2% wealth why he felt people in this country -- wealthiest people in this country. corporations get the lower tax rate cut to 21% but also get relief from the alternative minimum tax. to make matters even worse the tax relief for individuals for middle-income families, is temporary whereas the tax relief for businesses is made permanent. it is definitely a tax bill that is going to hurt middle-income
5:04 pm
taxpayers in my own state independent analysis show 800,000 marylanders will end up paying more taxes and guess who's going to foot the bill? who's going to pay for the big deficit? mr. president, if you just look at the corporate tax cut alone that's somewhere close to the $1.5 trillion that we've been talking about, which is baked into the bill to increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion. i think that's unconscionable. i think it's unconscionable to say that we can afford tax cuts when we already have these large deficits that is going to make us borrow more money and make our economy more dependent. and the truth is that even the republicans are telling us, well even with dynamic scoring we're going to have a $1 trillion gap in the deficit. but in reality that $1.5 trillion is conservative because if you extend all the temporary tax provisions, and when you look at the individual tax
5:05 pm
relief it's temporary it expires. some expires in two years. now most of my republican friends say well just extend it. if you extend it, it's even a deeper hole in the deficit closer to $2 trillion. who's going to pay for that? middle-income families are going to pay for it. they're not only being left out as far as tax relief is concerned, they're being asked to foot the bill for tax cuts for corporations and high-income taxpayers. in addition, it will affect other elements that middle-income taxpayers depend upon. this is a direct attack on medicaid and medicare. we see that. we saw that in the budget instructions where we had a cut in medicare and medicaid. we see that in the paygo rules. we see that as the next chapter of this tax reform will be now we have these deficits, we've got to pay for it. who's going to be held responsible for paying for it? we know that it's going to affect our own budgets.
5:06 pm
i'm now hearing we're going to take it occupant on our federal workforce, deny them a pay raise for next year or less federal workers to carry out the mission or make them pay more for benefits. we know that's going to come. the argument is going to be made we have these large deficits now. how are we going to do this? how are we going to respond the issues senator nelson woos talking about on -- was talking about on these disaster relief when we have large deficits. we're going to ask middle-income families not only to pay for the deficit created directly by this but also to pay in the future with cuts in government spending. and then in addition to that, we have 13 million americans who will lose their health coverage under this bill because of the elimination of the individual mandate. 13 million. that's going to affect 13 million families, but it's going to affect more than that. because guess what these families do? they use our emergency rooms rather than going to their
5:07 pm
family doctors. they enter the health care system in a more expensive way. they don't have the money to pay for the visits. it becomes part of uncompensated care and all of us pay higher premiums and our health care system becomes more expensive. that's been one of the bright spots of the affordable care act, is reducing the number of uninsured. now we're going to be moving in the opposite direction. the affordable care act has worked. the republicans tried to dismantle it. couldn't succeed and now you're doing it, and the worst part is you're counting the loss of these 13 million people insurance as a revenue gain for the treasury and then spending that money. that's unconscionable. all states, the taxpayers in all states are going to lose. i must tell you in maryland we have particular problems with this bill. not only will we see a problem with the federal workforce a large part of which live in maryland but the state and local tax deductions, maryland
5:08 pm
has the largest number of taxpayers who take advantage of the state and local tax deductions on their federal tax returns. in other words you don't have to pay a tax on the tax. makes sense. it's been in our tax code since the beginning because we recognize federalism and it's morally wrong to pay tax on tax. maryland has the most taxpayers who take advantage of state and local tax deductions, close to 50%. now the average for maryland -- this is the average is $12,900 they deduct for state and local taxes. under the conference report that's going to be limited to $ 10,000. think about all those who have a lot more in state and local taxes that are going to be denied that help. i was talking to some of our local government officials over the weekend. they're going to be disadvantaged by it. it was an interesting analysis that we don't think about what this bill is going to do.
5:09 pm
all the consequences. but if you're in a state that has its own itemized deductions like maryland, we have itemized deductions on our state income tax return. our standard deduction will be significantly lower than than the standard deduction under this conference report. you'll have marylanders not able to take their state deductions because you can't take state deductions unless you use the federal itemized deduction. it is estimated nationwide only 5% of the taxpayers will be using itemized deductions. guess what? if you don't use the itemized deduction at the federal level you can't take the state itemized deductions. this is going to have a direct impact on our state and local governments, and yet that hasn't been considered. quite frankly the consequences of this bill haven't been debated. we haven't gone through public hearings because of the process that was used, a partisan process called reconciliation. we haven't seen daylight. we haven't had a chance to know
5:10 pm
what impacts what impacts is it going to have on property values. the fact that you now limit property tax deductions and we have a further limit on interest deductionsants mortgages. what impact does it have on property values? what impact does the reduction of property values have on our economy, have on the individual values of people who have loans on their homes? are we going to be creating a problem? we don't know because we haven't had any hearings on it. i was with, on friday, a group of nonprofits that do very valuable work, and they're worried about what impact this tax bill will have on charitable giving. when only 5% of the taxpayers in this country use itemized deductions it means a great number of people who were able to take advantage of their charitable deductions on their tax returns no longer will have that ability. does that change their charitable giving? and if it changes their charitable giving pattern what does it do with our nonprofits?
5:11 pm
if our nonprofits can't do that additional pressure on government services, how have we thought that out? i doubt we know the consequences and yet we're not prepared to have hearings on this. one of the major issues here that had very little discussion is the pass-through. you've heard a lot about it. the reason for this is that 95% of american businesses don't use the corporate tax returns. they use pass-throughs s corporations individual proprietors, partnerships, et cetera. so this bill provides a lower tax rate for their pass-through business income at 20%. but here's the problem. in an effort to make sure that this isn't a way of getting around paying taxes on basically salary there are certain guardrails that have been put into this bill based upon a person's income, based upon the type of services or type of business that they're in, based upon the assets of the
5:12 pm
business based upon the amount of salaries that are paid in the business. and you're trying to tell me that can't be manipulated in order to shelter income? we're creating a whole new industry in sheltering income under this bill. and then i heard so many of my colleagues talk about the fact that we don't want to outsource jobs. okay none of us want to outsource jobs. having competitive rates help us in that regard. but moving towards a territorial tax structure where it rewards companies for doing their businesses offshore, even the tax rates might be the same, they can say labor costs or some other costs to outsource jobs. have we thought about that on our territorial tax? no. do we know what impact it's going to have? no. so there's a lot of issues here we really don't fully understand. but we do know there are individual provisions put in here, for example drilling in the arctic, that, to me, should not be part of this bill. i worry about that being
5:13 pm
expanded to the atlantic coast and to other areas. i think we all should be concerned about it. the bottom line, mr. president, is this, when you do tax reform, you would hope you would simplify the tax code and make it predictable. that's what i hear the most. let's simplify the tax code and let's make it predictable. neither will be accomplished with this conference report. you know that with all these temporary tax provisions that are going to have to deal with extenders, you're not going to be able to plan as to whether this tax code will stand the test of time. and if you think this is simplification you try to figure out whether you're eligible for the pass-through 20% on your business taxes. it's anything but simple. so this bill fails in its principle test of helping middle-income families which it does not do. it is for corporations and
5:14 pm
high-income people. it is fiscally irresponsible to add to the debt, makes our tax code more complicated and doesn't deal with the predictability we need in the tax code and should be rejected. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio.
5:15 pm
mr. brown: thank you mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. brown: thank you. i rise, mr. president today to oppose the nomination of paul compton who came out of the banking committee mr. president. i might add, who is president trump's nominee to serve as general counsel to the department of housing and urban development. mr. compton is a long-time housing and financial services attorney in the state of alabama. mr. compton, if confirmed would bring deep familiarity to affordable housing to the office of general counsel. that part i like. but with 11 million families paying over half their incomes for rent, with homelessness on the rise for the first time in years, a nominee who appreciates the affordableness of -- the importance of affordable housing in h.u.d. more than half a million people paying half their income on rent. a book by matthew desmond called "evicted," in his book, he said
5:16 pm
people at that income level when your paycheck come, the rent eats first. everything depends on being able to stay in your home and not being foreclosed on. when 11 million people pay over half their income in rent, homelessness is going to be on the rise. i appreciate mr. compton's commitment to me during our banking committee hearing that he would look out for the interests of renters and homeowners if confirmed but i'm voting against him because i'm concerned about the administration's approach to fair housing protections and the role that he will likely play in helping to carry that out. i was troubled to learn that secretary carson had said that he plans to, his word, reinterpret h.u.d.'s affirmatively furthering fair housing, its affh rule. since 1968, the fair housing act has required h.u.d. and its grantees to affirmatively affirmatively further fair housing. unfortunately, in the 50 years since our country passed the fair housing act h.u.d. had not provided enough direction to
5:17 pm
help communities meet this goal. at the 2010 general accountability office report recommended that h.u.d. improve its processes for many of its obligations to further fair housing. in response, h.u.d. developed a revised rule to finally finally help local governments across the country to support and to foster fair housing policies throughout their communities. the rule gives clear guidance to communities to help think in new ways about how to create housing opportunities for all of their residents, regardless of race or religion or disability or the size of their families. the rule helps them to assess their own fair housing needs provides them publicly available data to inform their decisions while setting their own goals and timelines. since its adoption two-plus years ago h.u.d. has been working with communities to implement the new guidelines. that's the good news. the bad news is the secretary has said he wants to reinterpret but is not elaborating on what
5:18 pm
he meant by his plan to reinterpret the rule. if the secretary intends to reinterpret the rule in a way that undermines h.u.d.'s efforts to help communities fulfill their long-standing obligations under this 50-year-old law mr. compton will be called upon to carry out this vision. i voted against his nomination in committee because of my concern that he could help guide the administration efforts to reverse progress on this fair housing rule. more recent activities by administration officials have only heightened concerns many of us have about their approach to fair housing. 2013 h.u.d. issued its discriminatory effects rule. this rule formalized h.u.d.'s long-standing prohibition against practices with discriminatory effects under the fair housing act provided uniform guidelines for applying standards across the country. because homeowners insurance is central to the ability to obtain housing, h.u.d. and the courts have held for decades that the fair housing act applies to
5:19 pm
discriminatory practices in insurance. a very easy to understand, logical step. nevertheless insurance representatives sued to block h.u.d.'s application of the discriminatory effects also known as disparate impact rule to their industry. to have block the discriminatory effects rule to their industry. h.u.d. and the department of justice have been fighting this suit ever since. as general counsel mr. compton would guide h.u.d.'s enforcement and litigation strategy. in response to a written question mr. compton declined to provide his views discriminatory effects rule and whether it should apply to the rance industry, noting it would be inappropriate quote-unquote, his words for him to comment on the matter, given the pending legislation. the administration it seems does not share his reluctance to comment on pending legislation. the treasury department a month and a half ago issued a report entitled the financial system that creates economic opportunities asset management insurance. in this report, treasury
5:20 pm
recommends that h.u.d. reconsider the use of the disparate impact rule. not that this administration decides to support on the side of big insurance companies every time. maybe they don't every time, but it seems like they almost always do. they did it in this case, yet mr. compton thinks he shouldn't comment when other already confirmed trump appointees have. the treasurier's report sides with others made by the insurance industry. despite the fact that litigation is pending and h.u.d. and the department of justice have been defending the rule. the next court date for the suit is scheduled later this week. if the administration reconsiders its drive to reconsider fair housing protections imposed by the industry mr. compton will likely be called upon to help the administration in its efforts, but he defined to answer our question. because he declined to answer the question, we don't know what his thinking will be. i might be inclined to give mr. compton the benefit of the doubt, but we have seen too many officials in this administration
5:21 pm
working against the mission of the agencies to which they had been appointed. financial regulators so often come from wallt. environmental regulators so often come from the chemistry and the oil industry. we have seen it time and time again. it's happening at a time when we see the administration taking steps to remove protections for average americans and consumers in order to carry out the bidding of their support -- carry out the bidding of their supporters on wall street. these include sending in nick muscle vain yea who once called the consumer financial protection bureau a sick, sad joke. he's now serving as director. it's his moonlighting job. he is also secretary -- he is also director of the office of management and budget. but he is director of the cfpb also. his first act as director of the cfpb was blocking the payment of funds owed to consumers consumers who were cheated or wronged by wells fargo or other big banks or big financial institutions, and consumers in
5:22 pm
many cases service members who had been cheated by these financial institutions. mulvaney's first day on the job he said no, we're not going to move forward on collecting those penalties and pay those consumers and those service members and those seniors and those families. i am concerned about this emerging effort to roll back protections for consumers. i hope mr. compton proves me wrong. i hope he's a strong advocate within the agency and the administration for fair housing for consumer protection, for affordable housing. but when given the chance to demonstrate his commitment to fair housing he took a pass. these matters are too important to far too many americans for us to leave their future to chance. i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing mr. compton's nomination. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: i ask unanimous
5:23 pm
consent to be able to speak on behalf of mr. compton and to conclude my remarks before the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. crapo: thank you mr. president. i rise today in support of mr. compton. he has dedicated his entire legal career to affordable housing and community development and for many years has headed the affordable housing practice of a prominent alabama law firm. over his distinguished career, mr. compton has played a direct role in over 70 transactions that led to the creation of more than 5,000 units of affordable housing throughout the southeastern united states. among peers he has come to be recognized as an industry-leading expert on the low-income housing tax credit, the new markets tax credit, public-private partnerships, and the regulatory environment surrounding housing production. mr. compton's extensive track record his experience, and intimate familiarity with h.u.d.
5:24 pm
programs make him an ideal fit to join the leadership team at h.u.d. as general counsel mr. compton will not only serve as the principal legal advisor to secretary carson but will have a hand in nearly every departmental initiative. once confirmed i look forward to working with mr. compton to find solutions to our nation's housing challenges, to eliminate barriers to safe and affordable housing, and reform our housing finance system. this confirmation vote is long overdue and is sorely needed. following the storms that ravaged through houston florida, puerto rico, and the virgin islands and elsewhere h.u.d. has been deployed on the front lines alongside fema and other agencies, working to provide emergency and transitional housing to the thousands of families who have been displaced. this work is far from over, and i urge this body to confirm mr. compton today as well as to confirm the various other h.u.d. nominees who are awaiting a vote so that they can get to work for
5:25 pm
the american people. thank you mr. president.
5:26 pm
5:27 pm
5:28 pm
5:29 pm
5:30 pm
the presiding officer: all time is expired. the question occurs on the compton nomination. the yeas and nays have been requested. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
5:31 pm
5:32 pm
5:33 pm
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
5:37 pm
5:38 pm
5:39 pm
5:40 pm
5:41 pm
5:42 pm
5:43 pm
5:44 pm
5:45 pm
5:46 pm
5:47 pm
5:48 pm
5:49 pm
5:50 pm
5:51 pm
5:52 pm
5:53 pm
5:54 pm
5:55 pm
5:56 pm
5:57 pm
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
6:00 pm
6:01 pm
the presiding officer: is there any senator in the chamber wishing to vote or change his or her vote? if not the yeas are 62. the nays are 34. the confirmation of mr. compton is confirmed.
6:02 pm
the question now arises on the west nomination. the yeas and nays are requested. is there a sufficient second? appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
6:03 pm
6:04 pm
6:05 pm
6:06 pm
6:07 pm
6:08 pm
6:09 pm
6:10 pm
6:11 pm
6:12 pm
6:13 pm
6:14 pm
6:15 pm
6:16 pm
6:17 pm
6:18 pm
6:19 pm
6:20 pm
6:21 pm
6:22 pm
6:23 pm
6:24 pm
6:25 pm
6:26 pm
6:27 pm
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
6:30 pm
the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senators wish to change their vote? on this vote the ayes are 74, nays are 23. the nomination is confirmed. the the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted
6:31 pm
to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each and for debate only. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. capito: thank you. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum:
6:32 pm
6:33 pm
6:34 pm
6:35 pm
6:36 pm
6:37 pm
6:38 pm
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
6:41 pm
6:42 pm
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
quorum call:
6:46 pm
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. the senate is in a quorum call. mr. bennet: i'd ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: thank you. i want to come to the floor to talk about this tax bill that's being rushed through the house and senate. this is the first time in 31 years that this tax bill of this magnitude has been considered. i don't refer to this as tax reform because it's barely reforming anything. but it seems a shame that we didn't follow in the footsteps of what then-president reagan
6:52 pm
chose to do when he had the opportunity to reform the tax code when he was president. that bill that he wrote worked on was every bit as consequential as the one that is in front of us, commanded the vast majority of votes in this chamber, democrats and republicans voting together after years of process years of committee hearings, years of hearings even out in the country listening to business owners and economists and citizens talk about what they thought our tax code needed to be to be competitive and to be fair to the american people. and now 31 years later i was in college, i say to the chair and the pages when this last bill was passed. 31 years later we're on the verge of passing a bill in the senate with not one democratic vote not a single one. and without a single hearing in the senate finance committee on
6:53 pm
which i serve. not a single hearing about the text of this bill, not a single hearing to tell the american people that on the individual side of this bill, we are borrowingborrowing $34 billion from our kids to give a tax cut to the 572,000 taxpayers that are fortunate enough to make more than a million dollars a year. 572,000 taxpayers fortunate to make a million dollars a year we feel it's so essential that each one of them get a $59,000 tax cut that we're willing to borrow money from that children to do it. we can't think of a better use than that. that's a better -- a better use is not to give a tax cut to the middle class because we know what those numbers look like in this bill because they're not half a million people that make $50,000 or less, mr. president in this economy. there are 90 million people.
6:54 pm
and those people are not getting $34 billion. those people are getting $13 billion. and if you do that math, that adds up to about $160 on average per taxpayer making $50,000 or less in the first year. that's the best year, 2019 is the best year. that $160 a taxpayer works out to $7.50 a taxpayer -- a paycheck. so we're justifying $34 billion going to 572,000 families because we say at the essence of this is a tax cut for the middle class that's worth $7.50. i think it's disgraceful to call that a middle-class tax cut when it's -- what is as disgraceful is we're blowing a $1.7 trillion
6:55 pm
deficit hole in our deficit. now, there are people on the other side and i grant them this who say we will grow out of this, that we will -- that the tax cut will pay for tsz which is -- for itself, which is exactly what president bush said in 2001 when he cut taxes. it's exactly what he said in 2003 when he cut taxes. remember, mr. president when george bush became president of this country he inherited a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion. and then he cut taxes and said it would pay for itself in 2001. he cut taxes and said it would pay for itself in 2003. we invaded afghanistan. we invaded iraq. not only did he not ask the american people to pay for those war, the 2003 tax actually came after the invasion of iraq. today we have massive readiness problems with our military. today we confront the potential
6:56 pm
for conflict on the korean peninsula. today we confront uncertainties in the middle east and behavior by russia that we need to worry about and we're going to go in debt to give the wealthiest people in america a tax cut they're not asking for? i'm more sympathetic on the corporate side. i believe our corporate rate is too high. and if we had worked in a bipartisan way i think we could have gotten to a deal that 75 or 80 people would have voted for. and that would have been beneficial for two reasons. it would have represented more widely the american people's view of what we ought to do here. i've heard the majority leader out here on the floor talk about partisan efforts like this and how they're doomed to fail because most of the american people won't support them. we can see that in the polling numbers on this bill. but we could have cut a deal that said let's bring our corporate rate down to 25. and by the way let's get rid of some of those loopholes all
6:57 pm
this stuff we've said over the years about lowering the rate and broadening the base. let's actually do that. that's not what this bill does. this bill cuts the corporate rate to 20% and leaves all the loopholes in place. there's no broadening of the base. so if today the effective rate is actually in the low 20's even though the published rate is 35%, the effective rate is going to be far below 20% if we don't actually reform the tax code. i think there would have been bipartisan agreement about doing something with the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit as my colleague from florida has tried to do, to a degree. i think there would have been bipartisan support for the idea we ought to do something to repatriate the money that's stuck overseas and invest it here in the united states in infrastructure. but there was no effort to make a bipartisan effort here, none.
6:58 pm
there certainly have been cases when democrats have been guilt of that. this is a profound case of the republicans being guilty of that. and the you result of -- and the result of that is they have a lousy bill that speaks to the extreme wing of their party rather than to middle america. because only in that way could you end up with a piece of legislation that the president is describing as a middle-class tax cut that is not one. nothing about the math in this tax bill suggests that it is. by the way that $34 billion i talked about does not include the estate tax. when you include the increase of the estates that are not subject to the estate tax in this bill, that adds on average another $10,000. now you're talking about borrowing $69,000. so we are now borrowing an additional $10,000 from the sons
6:59 pm
and daughters of police officers, of firefighters, of teachers, in order to finance an estate tax cut that we won't pay for. pay for it. don't borrow the money. mr. president i got here nine years ago. at the depths of the worst recession since the great depression. our economy had locked up. and because of those two tax cuts under president bush and because of those two wars that we didn't have the decency to pay for and because president bush passed so-called medicare part d which is a prescription drug program for seniors which he didn't pay for and then the supply side economics they pursued drove our economy to of worst ditch since the great depression. the surplus when president obama showed up was not a surplus.
7:00 pm
it was a $1.5 trillion deficit. and, mr. president i was here when we tried to work in a bipartisan way to figure out how to respond to a terrifying circumstance, not for this senate but for our country. i had a woman come to a town hall then who told me her plan was to die sooner because overnight she had lost half of her net worth. and she didn't know how to make it through. because the stock market had cratered. because her pension was cut in half. we had more than a 10% unemployment rate in the united states of america and we couldn't get a single person to lift their finger on the other side of the aisle because they said the deficit was too big. they said that president obama was pursuing what the pollsters
7:01 pm
told them was job-killing government spending. that was the word. it wasn't his $1.5 trillion deficit. that's what he inherited. he left without a -- with a $550 billion deficit. it was cut by two-thirds. today, mr. president we stand here talking about this absolutely irresponsible tax bill. it's already at $660 billion. $666 billion. and we've got a government where we're collecting 18% of the g.d.p. in revenue. it's actually about 17.9% before this tax cut goes through and we're spending more than 21%. and our answer is let's cut some more taxes. so we will be spending 17 and
7:02 pm
change. that's a big delta, 17 to 21. that's a conversation we should be having together, not in pieces. so all these people that say to you don't worry about it, it will pay for itself, remember what they said in 2001 and 2003. they said the same thing. and they're going to show up here after this christmas season has passed us, and they're going to say that's why we need to cut medicaid. that's why we need to cut medicare. there is no doubt we have to have a conversation about the sustainability of these programs and there is no doubt that we have to have a discussion about how we're going to get out of the fiscal issues that we confront. and i have no doubt that the moment we face, the next crisis we face, whether it's a national security crisis or an economic crisis, we're going to wish we hadn't passed this tax bill. we're going to wish that when
7:03 pm
this economy was at full employment when interest rates are what they are that we had thought about how to come together in a bipartisan way and actually do something responsible for once. there is a mayor in indiana who sent an op-ed into "the washington post" last week that said let me break this down for you in terms of my local community. the equivalent of what the republican tax bill is for my community would be that we would go out and borrow $400 million, which is a staggering sum. not billions and billions of dollars, but on the basis of the size of their government, $400 million. four or five times what our indebtedness is today he said. and then what i would do is say we didn't borrow this money to build infrastructure. we didn't borrow this money to make sure we ended poverty in my community or make sure the water was clean. we gave it to the people in the biggest houses, the richest
7:04 pm
neighborhood in our community hoping that somehow the benefit would trickle down to everybody else. he said we would be run out on the rail, and they should be. so mr. president i wanted to come to the floor tonight to say look -- and again, there are some people who say -- politicians that say it will pay for itself. there is no economist who has said that this is not going to create a deficit and there is probably a consensus around $1.4 trillion. i have seen some math that says a trillion dollars and others that say $2.5 trillion but let's take the $1.4 trillion and just consider as an order of magnitude if we didn't care about our deficits, which apparently we don't anymore what else we could spend the money on besides giving this tax cut to the very wealthiest americans in our country. in the nine years i have been here, we have gone from no opioid crisis to an opioid
7:05 pm
crisis that's killing 50,000 americans. there are communities all over our states, especially in rural parts of the states, where we have no answer. we have provided no additional treatment, even though we have an emergency today that we didn't have before. that's not the america i grew up in. that's not the america that our parents and grandparents set up for us. and look at what you can do to create treatment in every united states county for ten years. that's this $60 billion. that's this little orange part of a $1.4 trillion hole in our deficit. that's one thing you could do. another thing you could do would be to provide universal pre-k for low-income children for a decade. that might be worth borrowing from the next generation from, because they would actually be getting a benefit. they're not getting any benefit from this $59,000 that we're
7:06 pm
giving to people that make more than a million dollars a year. you could double federal funding for research and development on clean energy for over a decade. you could maintain our technological advantage over china in emerging industries for a decade. that's a huge concern. that would be $50 billion. just this little slice. a foregone priority if they pass this bill, just like the response to opioids. you could fund a 20-man mission to mars because of our fecklessness, we can't even put an astronaut into space without putting him on a russian rocket. that has nothing to do with our lacking the engineering talent. that has nothing to do with our lacking imagination or for some of us a sense of mission. it has to do with the fecklessness of this congress and the inability of it to walk
7:07 pm
and chew gum at the same time. we could repair all of america's aging dams, which our parents and grandparents were thoughtful enough to build for us but which we feel like we don't need to maintain for the next generation of americans. we would rather give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in america. you could end the backlog of infrastructure repairs at america's airports, ending five years of funding. that's only $100 billion. i say only. that's a huge number, but not compared to $1.4 trillion. you could end the u.s. air force pilot shortage. why would we have a shortage of air force pilots? because this place for nine years has run itself on continuing resolutions. and the military can't plan, so we have airplanes that are being scaf engd for -- scavenged for
7:08 pm
parts and who can't fly. if the pilots can't fly they can't get the training hours. and if they can't get the training hours they can't move ahead in their career, and they can't be ready when the battle comes. you could easily pay for that here. you could fund the first five years of the navy's plan to build a 355-ship fleet. everyone around here walks around saying we don't have any money, we're broke. it's a matter of choices and priorities mr. president. i cannot think of a set of priorities less out of whack with what republicans think of in colorado, much less our democrats and independents. here's one we really do care about in colorado. you could pay -- and all across the country. pay for all the deferred announce at our national parks and other land management agencies. that's this right here, this tiny purple square, $19 billion.
7:09 pm
and if you look at the bottom right, mr. president that includes over a dozen priorities for rural communities who have been kicked around by this congress and our c.r.'s year after year. here are just a few of what fits into there. extend high-speed internet to every rural community in america. that might be a good use of money, a good reason to borrow money to extend high-speed internet to people who don't have it in a world where telling a kid in a rural school they don't have access to high-speed internet is no different than telling them sorry you're not getting textbooks but these other kids do. we could reimburse rural areas with significant public lands for lost tax revenue. the pilt payments -- i promise my colleague from pennsylvania i'm coming to the end. i know he doesn't believe it. these pilt payments are a pain point for my rural counties every year.
7:10 pm
we go through the same nonsense at the end of the year, every single year where they say is it going to be funded in the c.r.? they are using it to pay for something else. and yet it would cost a tiny fraction of just the rural priorities part. that's $111 billion for all the rural priorities eliminating the national backlog or the usda rural water program. can you imagine what that would mean to rural america and economic development in rural america? they wouldn't have to wait for somebody in new york to triple down to them, because they would have an investment in their community. it would create jobs. it would allow them to do economic development to keep their children in their communities and their schools open and their banks open. but that's not a priority for the people writing and voting for this bill.
7:11 pm
president trump cut essential air service in its budget, zeroed it out. we could fund essential air service for ten years providing the critical economic lifeline to small towns across america and in my state. we could fund the united states forest service fire suppression for a decade so they don't have to keep cannibalizing other parts of the budget. this year for the first year, they spent more than half their budget fighting fires mr. president. because we don't have the sense to budget them so they can do fire mitigation. talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish. in colorado, we can clean up the gold king mine spill. we could fund the arkansas valley conduit to provide drinking water to some of the most remote areas in southeastern colorado, which we have been promised since john f. kennedy was president of the
7:12 pm
united states. if we could do everything i just mentioned, all of these investments in infrastructure, research public public health, housing, national security and rural communities for the cast of this tax plan. and this is yet another illustration mr. president of how profoundly washington's priorities have decoupled from the priorities of the american people. beyond that, this bill confirms every other suspicion about how washington operates. president trump ran for office saying he would drain the swamp. this tax plan is a creature of the swamp. it was jammed through with last-minute changes scribbled by hand in the dark of the night 2:00 a.m. votes. shameful. 2:00 a.m. votes on the legislation that no one had a chance to fully understand. input from lobbyists on k street but not a single hearing where the american people could
7:13 pm
express their view. and given the process it should surprise no one that the bill has substituted the priorities of the american people with a litany of carveouts and loopholes that powerful special interests that gotten into this bill. i'm going to skip this part, mr. president, because i want to yield to my friend from pennsylvania, but let me just finish by saying that today incredibly in america incredibly the top 10% of earners take home more than half of america's income. we have not seen that since 1928 the year before the great depression and i know the president knows these folks as well as i do, everybody on this chart's working hard, whether they are the top 10% or the bottom 90% but this is not the way our economy ought to work. and for almost all of our history, this is not the way it did work. i was a businessperson before i
7:14 pm
came to congress, before i was a school superintendent. i have nothing against anybody who's done well, but it is preposterous to suggest that the real problem in our economy when we have a record stock market and record income inequality, is that wealthy individuals and businesses don't have enough. my final chart is this chart mr. president, which shows median household income since 1980 until now. the cost of housing the cost of higher education the cost of health care. we have done nothing to address this or help this. we have turned our back on this. i think we could have written a bill, as i said at the outset, that had a real middle-class tax cut in it, and we chose not to do it. last year, i met a mom in rifle colorado at an early childhood center and in the course of our conversation, she said to me she said i work so i can have
7:15 pm
insurance, and every dollar that i make goes to pay for this early childhood center so i can work. that's the story of too many people in my state and my state has one of the most dynamic economies in the united states of america and still too many people who i represent who are middle-class families whose income hasn't really gone up since 1980, the cost of housing cost of health care, cost of higher education, cost of early childhood education has conspired to create for them impossible choices that their parents and grandparents never had to make. tax reform should have been the opportunity to address that. it should have been the chance to remind that mom in rightville that government, or someone in
7:16 pm
our government, understands the struggles she faces and has the capacity and will to do that. this tax bill squanders that. it reminds americans about the vast space between their lives and the priorities of americans. it reminds them of the yawning gap between their voices and the voices of powerful special interest. we should reject this bill. it fails on the merit. we should reject it because the bill makes a mockery of how our government works. there is still time to set aside this legislation and do bipartisan tax reform. i know the other side may believe they have to forge ahead for a political win but i would ask, at what cost? as with so many actions around here we put it on the next generation of americans. we kick all the hard choices on them ever since i've been -- we told them we're going to
7:17 pm
continue to live in the house of our -- they are going to pay the mortgage. we are so fortunate that our parents an grandparents didn't behave the way we do. they had the decency to look ahead. we enjoyed years of peace and prosperity in this country. mr. president, i think tonight and this week, it's worth all of us asking, will our children be able to say the same of us? mr. president, i thank my friend from pennsylvania for his indulgence and for the president's and i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you mr. president. i request consent to be speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: the senator is recognize. mr. casey: i thank my colleague
7:18 pm
from colorado. i heard most of his remarks some of it on television before coming over here to speak. i'm grateful for his commitment for the arguments he's made on tax reform and his commitment, not only to the people of his state but to the people of our country. i'll speak on tax reform this week. i wanted to rise tonight to talk about the so-called daca program, the dreamers, the young people we've heard so much about, especially the last couple of months. as many people across the country know in september president trump ended the deferred action for childhood arrivals program known as daca. this decision and so far -- so far -- congressional refusal to address the dream act has created fear and uncertainty for
7:19 pm
800,000 young people across the country. i know many have met them over the course of not just the last couple of months but over the last couple of years. i've had the chance most recently on two occasions where we set up time to sit with young people who were pennsylvanians, once in -- in the city of philadelphia where i stat with young people from both philadelphia and lancaster not too far a drive from philadelphia, about an hour or so who came to philadelphia to sit with us, and then later -- a couple of months later in the lehigh valley, north of philadelphia about an hour. the first group was a larger group, maybe 15, and the second group was a group of three individuals. i was struck in both of those meetings by how -- not just how
7:20 pm
concerned and worried these young people were about what would happen to them and happen to their friends and in a larger sense happen to their families, but i was also both impressed by their stories what they had achieved in their young lives but also moved by the commitment they had to hard work, to being part of the fabric of america and the real concern and love they had for their own parents. they were worried about how this might affect their parents and love for the commitment that their parents had made and their family members had made for them to succeed coming here when they were babies or very young children and living in america all of these years. not technically as citizens, but living a full life.
7:21 pm
and they were made a promise by the president of the united states of america that if they came forward and made certain disclosures, this program would protect them. i think that promise is -- this promise should not be broken by any administration. congress has work to do to enforce the promise and to give the promise an even stronger foundation. but you don't have to be on one side of the aisle or the other to be moved by these stories. i'll get to some of the detail later, but one of the young women who was in the first group that i mentioned sitting around a big conference table -- and of course, these individuals don't have to sit with me and they don't have to travel to tell their story but they are concerned about the policy and how it may affect their lives.
7:22 pm
the one young woman said to me, i don't know -- these are young people who have lived here virtually their whole lives even though they technically weren't born here -- lived here their whole lives have achieved so much have gone through our schools, our nation has invested in them and they have succeeded holding down jobs, getting education, getting higher education, and all they ask is that we set up a process so they won't be deported. it doesn't make any sense the direction we seem to be heading in. rescinding the daca program will cost the united states of america jobs. it will hurt our security, i think over time. it also, as i said before, is a broken promise a promise that
7:23 pm
was made to young people made by our government. it's not just a casual promise but i would argue a commitment, a bond, an agreement that should be honored. would would as i have said so many times before, and i'll keep saying it, why would so many other countries believe us when we made a commitment if we can't keep our commitment to these young people. somewhere in the order of 800,000 young people who live in the united states of america who were given a promise that if they came forward they would be protected. why would any country believe us after that if we broke that promise? why would they believe republicans or democrats? why would they believe this administration or future administrations, this congress or future congresses down the road house and senate. if we break that promise would
7:24 pm
our word be good around the world? these dreamers are young people who have lived in this country since they were children. they've been law-abiding residents. they learned english they pay taxes, they secured jobs that have supported themselves and their families, and they were given a promise. what are some of the numbers? well here's the economic impact by -- in the context of one state in our country. in pennsylvania alone estimates say that ending the deferred action for childhood arrivals program would cost the commonwealth of pennsylvania nearly $357 million per year in g.d.p. losses, and this is according to the center of american progress. so one state $350 million. how about the nation? the comparable number for the nation is about $460 billion.
7:25 pm
the first number with an m millions in the context of a state, the second number $460 billion with a b almost half a trillion dollars from g.d.p. over the next decade. so roughly in the context of a yearly number, $46 billion a year. so even if you didn't think that we had to honor the promise even if you don't believe in the program, why would we want to take a step that would hurt our economy and lose about $46 billion every year for ten years, adding up to $460 billion over ten years? according to 91% of daca
7:26 pm
recipients are employed and repealing daca could result in 8,r500 daca recipients losing their jobs each week as a result of that. 91% of them are employed, working in the united states of america, the country that promised them that if they came forward we would give them protection and they are working -- working every day following the law loving this country and we've told them, at best that their status or their fate is uncertain. that's the best we can say about what's happened between the administration making the announcement a couple of months ago and congress doing nothing to address this problem. daca recipients have jobs that are critical to our economy like
7:27 pm
health care, like science technology engineering and month, so-called stem jobs. additionally, more than one out of everyone seven daca-eligible immigrants have language skills that are currently in short supply in the u.s. military according to the new american economy. the u.s. military benefits when we have individuals residing in our country that have that skill in languages. the institute on taxation and economic policy estimate is that 1.3 million young people enrolled in or eligible for daca pay $2 billion each year in state and local taxes. so they are working -- they are working and they are paying taxes. dreamers across pennsylvania and the nation represent the america
7:28 pm
we should all be proud of. i think everyone could agree to that. the work that they are doing the commitment to our country. we should be proud of that. a country in which hardworking young people who are working to better themselves and their communities are given a chance to do just that. that's the kind of country that we all profess to believe in. that's the kind of nation we want to be. another estimate is that between september 5 of 2017, when the program was terminated, and march 5, 2018, the deadline coming up, daca recipients will lose their protection every day. that means that by march 5 of 2018 22,000 dreamers will lose their daca protection. 22,000 dreamers will lose their
7:29 pm
protection. so congress should move immediately. the united states senate should move immediately to make sure that we protect these dreamers and pass the so-called bipartisan dreamers act. here's what the bill would do in short form. it would allow the dreamers to become permanent residents if they meet the very stringent qualifications outlined in the bill. we aren't talking about any kind of free pass here. these are young people who have worked so hard to become the very sort of americans we want employed law-abiding and paying taxes. the numbers in pennsylvania are about 5,900 individuals have been given daca status. passing the dream act would give these young people some security and a future they can count on. i was proud to support the dream
7:30 pm
act, the version of it back in 2007 and 2010. we should have an up-or-down vote on the floor of the u.s. senate that is a clean version of the dream act not embedded in some other legislation but an up-or-down vote on the dream act. let's see where people stand. i would hope it would be an overwhelming vet -- vote. let's have an up-or-down vote for the young people. let's keep the promise for the dreamers so our promise is good at home and our promise and our word "credibility will be good the world over. because if you break that promise, it's going to be pretty difficult for people around the world to believe us on a whole host of fronts. i know that might offend somebody but that's the way i see it. so keeping a promise is the principle reason to pass the dream act but we should also try to help our economy not allow
7:31 pm
our economy to lose hundreds of billions of dollars over ten years, tens of billions each and every year because we're deporting people that have offered so much to the country that have worked so hard, that have become the fabric of -- become part of the fabric of american life, part of the fabric of the american family. these are folks who live in every community that are part of the fabric of a neighborhood, part of the fabric of a community, part of the fabric of a school, part of the fabric of a state and the fabric of a nation. the third reason we should pass the dream act is to unite our country. this is one area we can all come together. we might have a lot of disagreements and they'll be played out this week on the tax bill, on this issue or that issue. but we can bring the country together. most people in both parties understand what this is all
7:32 pm
about. they understand the promise. they understand the impact on our economy. and they also understand that a great country can make the right decision on this issue. so by uniting our country on the dream act we can make a downpayment on a bright future for these young people who love the united states of america and who have demonstrated that by their commitment to the country by their work ethic and by the commitment they've made to their communities. so let's pass the dream act. mr. president i would yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: senate senator leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn til 10:00 a.m. tuesday december 19. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hours be deemed expired the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day.
7:33 pm
further, following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each until noon and that upon the conclusion of morning business the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of the newstead nomination under the previous order. finally, that following the disposition of the newstead nomination the senate recess until 2:15 toll allow for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the
7:34 pm
>> especially not so much the bigger guys but the smaller ones have been active in the space because if we have to
7:35 pm
pay a toll to reach consumers that will hurt us because we cannot afford to do that. that they already settled. the senators after the president reported the deal. a sad and dangerous result of rhetoric now today we are using emergency procedures so when the republican controlled congress is not an emergency
7:36 pm
for community health centers are not emergencies. but rushing tax cuts to the wealthiest ms. i think the entire process is a hoax. we all bought into the deficit neutral and we all know tax reform is long overdue. we literally could have had some good tax reform with this bill that would have admitted the democrats into all of the rooms with committee hearings. there were no hearings or anything at all. but the healthcare bill good grief with meetings all over the place over a year and a half. i feel pretty sad about this.
7:37 pm
i don't believe anybody will be happy except the big donors. do we have a question? i think in my years with the three legislatures i have never seen an invitation i have felt so useless and ashamed of the product of the congress of the united states i yield back. >> gentlemen welcome to the rules committee we are delighted you are not only here but we knew you were coming so we had to make sure that you had water and just in case there is a problem if you have the time that you need to explain yourself on both sides
7:38 pm
that you have an opportunity to be fully heard in this manner. >> thank you for allowing us to testify on the conference report the tax cuts and jobs act time accompanied from the illinois contrary and chairman of the tax policy subcommittee. thank you for your consideration of this historic bill to reform the broken tax code to bring relief to those across the country the house passed legislation overhaul for the first time in more than three decades shortly after the senate took action as well as sweep we came together in the house and senate conference committee to deliver one unified transformational tax reform bill for the american people there are several key differences from the bill that we passed but the main focus hasn't wavered one bit focused
7:39 pm
on delivering more jobs and fair taxes and bigger paychecks a typical family of four with the median family income of $73000 is to blue-collar workers will see a tax cut of nearly $2100. but for a lot of families that is real relief result doubling the standard deduction with those key provisions that families count on. for example it doubles the child tax credit from 1000 of the 2000 increases 1400 of which is refundable it preserves the mortgage interest adduction and specifically maintains the local property taxes and from
7:40 pm
there americans can deduct $10,000 with state and local income taxes or sales tax so another words the families can use that the way it helps them the most so with this provision and many others reflect how closely we listen to the american people for example the conference report preserves the student loan interest reduction because we were listening to you a graduation tuition assistance waivers because teachers could deduct out-of-pocket cost for school supplies also to make clear it maintains and improves the medical expense deduction because due to obamacare more and more families are paying huge out-of-pocket bills lastly as it relates to health care this
7:41 pm
repeals the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate no longer will americans be strong-armed into health plans they don't want and can't afford. again these provisions and numerous others show how we welcome feedback with every step of the process and work hard to help americans from all walks of life in the same is true of the historic progrowth for the job creators that you talk about. this bill provides the lowest tax rate in modern history for businesses of all sizes. with the corporate tax rate to compete worldwide to create more jobs here at home and for mainstream it grows with them to provide the first ever small business production and
7:42 pm
with this small business deduction the top marginal rate of 29.6% that is over ten-point allowing small businesses to invest more in their operations so finally we take landmark action that helps businesses and encourages them to invest profit right back here in america so bring it back to our community to strengthen energy security and independence by harnessing more resources protect workers and prevent american jobs manufacturing research from going overseas and above all establish america as a 21st century magnet for job
7:43 pm
creation growth bringing the nation back. thanking the members of congress with the senate finance committee's and all members whose ideas brought this historic bill to this moment. and we will have an opportunity for the first time in three decades to reshape the tax code into simple and fair to focus on helping the american people not washington special interest. we have that opportunity to make old progrowth tax reform in the first time in three decades. thanks for your consideration and we look forward to answering your questions. >> an opportunity for you to join us this evening giving us
7:44 pm
advice on a number of bills. >> i have a feeling we will see a lot of each other with a series of proposals and i think it is the result directly of the entire revenue system rewritten without public hearings or witness testimony. in addition the idea has promised with president trump growing $2.3 trillion paying for a tax cut for the people at the very top. then the new general said nobody at the top get any tax relief will take 3% at the very top. the reference to the stock market going up in march 2009
7:45 pm
clinton and obama both had higher growth rates but the question we should be addressing is human capital we all need to be discouraged by labor participation rate with the technological revolution the decline of organized labor unions in this tax bill will not help that. the tax package is a bad deal to raise taxes on middle-class americans and their families and increases the debt at the same time that showers the wealthy with huge tax breaks. in fact i am still stunned that this was done lowers the top individual rate from 39% down at 37% leaving it clear
7:46 pm
where the majority of the priorities lie. this was never entertained in the markup of the ways and means committee in fact we were told it was about certification and i believe the senate added the eighth bracket. this is a missed opportunity because in reference to your consideration you are right everybody thinks the system needed improvement and we were prepared to participate but middle-class americans were told they would get a lot of tax relief when the people of new jersey get their tax bill i daresay they will come to a different conclusion. two weeks ago this bill was pulling at 32% now it is 27% in terms of what people will think will happen to their own
7:47 pm
pocketbooks the skills gap is something we need to be concerned about and that is where the focus should have been in this discussion with infrastructure is in need of an infusion -- infusion of capital investment to create thousands of jobs now we are all very frustrated by as well. the majority feet ailed the ryan mcconnell tax package pays for permanent tax cuts the few provisions that help individuals by the time we do the phase in and the phaseout to call simple vacation that congress will never raise those rates down the road it also has an array of windfall for the wealthy pass-through
7:48 pm
business owners now with $22 million for joint filers. the. the package also includes a huge loophole and opportunity to avoid taxes. by repealing the individual mandate it throws the marketplace into chaos and 13 million people will be uninsured i am already working on a substitute for those rule changes that will damage communities the home represents the single largest investment from each bank account scaling back that mortgage interested action on home equity to use it for time to send kids to college
7:49 pm
finally they show their cards because they are going to entitlement reform to pay for this going after social security and medicare and they argue we can no longer afford these programs i argue we cannot afford this tax cut for the very wealthy this puts the wealthy and america first in the middle class deserves better and i yield back my time. >> do you wish to make a statement? >> he is here to answer the questions not give a presentation so it is good to have adult supervision left left left. >> i am well aware he is well-versed.
7:50 pm
>> you are provoking me. [laughter] >> will you recognize me for that purpose? >> i was asking the gentleman's preference. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and ranking member. mentioning fear and trembling we all fear in trouble different things i fear in trumbull we don't recognize where we are right now in terms of an opportunity to have a transformational moment there was a family wedding in november my niece was married outside of chicago i had siblings and nieces and nephews talking about tax policy. i say do you want this tax bill to pass? they said why? i said our children are launching into an economy
7:51 pm
right now we want to be vibrant and buoyant and expansive and dynamic we know what it looks like when it isn't. then it grows a little over 1% maybe with a couple part time jobs together living at home so i understand the nation but -- the notion but i trumbull about lost opportunity. she is arguing the alternative she acknowledges those tax cuts but criticizing them so i think with the presentation of some of these examples the typical family of four their taxes going down by $2000 is a 58% tax cut that is incredibly significant that is not
7:52 pm
minimus or the single mom earning $41000 per year her tax liability drops by 73% under this plan. or a married small business owner of income of $100,000. their tax liability drops by 24%. these are staggering figures. i think it is best characterized by the shock loan -- chicago tribune to say this tax bill will make america more prosperous. they tip their hat into fear and trembling but in their own way they said any vote against this bill is to maintain america as it looks today. but nobody likes the tax code as it looks today as it relates to the tax code.
7:53 pm
notwithstanding the criticism but the notions that the democrats do not have an opportunity to participate i do not find persuasive of course they did it took four days at his request at during the day and not during the evening. and it was the gentleman's prerogative but simply amended to restore the status quo. but was lost was the opportunity to offer a big alternative. there was no big alternative. i don't think people were shot out but they declined to actively participate. i actually agree with the skills gap that we as a congress need to be doing that i wholeheartedly agreed with.
7:54 pm
and there is much more to be done in 2018 particularly as it relates to the entitlement programs. with the over one -- oversight subcommittee bringing in the person who was fighting fraud and medicare. under the obama administration who said what is your fraudulent and erroneous payment rate? they said 12.7%. that is $1 billion per week that they acknowledge is going out the door fraudulently or erroneously. we work on a bipartisan basis as members of the minority work with the majority to move forward so the idea to take on these programs doesn't mean
7:55 pm
they will be cut but it does mean they are in desperate need of reform. i am here to be an advocate of this conference committee report thank you for recognizing me. i look forward to try to be as responsive as possible. >> thank you very much i will defer my time. >> thanks to all the witnesses and chairman brady i know you all have done yeoman's work and i want to say thank you to chairman roskam and chairman brady we have had heated discussions even across the aisle and i don't know of an
7:56 pm
example of two people that handle that with more grace and focus and handling a whole range of difficult questions and i appreciate that. that is how policy debates and discussions should be proud of this bill that is not perfect but it does what we told the american people we would do to reflect a fundamental difference with the philosophies of this side of the aisle and our philosophy very much is people should keep more of their own money invest that money to expand their business to create jobs and i am very pleased to go back home to wyoming where the vast majority of people will be seen as a significant tax cut and it does a number of
7:57 pm
things as well that one point that was made about the mandate i am particularly pleased we repeal the individual mandate. one of the points we have heard consistently is the idea that somehow kicking people off health insurance only in washington telling them they don't have to buy a product they don't want or need could be interpreted as somehow kicking people off of health insurance so can you explain? >> also thanks for your engagement through the process as you were focused on those families. thank you for that. removing the individual mandate is a freedom if you want that healthcare and need
7:58 pm
it for your family you can get the help to do that but if you say that doesn't work for me or i cannot afford that you have the freedom not to buy that but the vast bulk of that is saying not what i don't want or cannot afford you have the freedom to use your money the way you want that was the whole goal. he finished eight years of washington spending your money now are going to give you eight years for you to spend your money and see what happens because we can stick with this economy or try something new and that is what we are doing. >> i think the other thing we have seen about the mandate is
7:59 pm
that it doesn't work in wyoming we see scott on -- skyrocketing premiums so to impose a burden on people i am very pleased we are repealing that also dealing with the estate tax there is a perception about this that representatives who don't have farms or ranches in their district do not understand the burden of the estate tax of those who try to make a living off the land and it prevents families from passing the operations from one generation to the next i am pleased we dealt with at the part of this historic effort where we really do return authority and giving money back to individuals across the country. i yield back.
8:00 pm
. . . . i appreciate that very much. i came to you on a number of other items and you couldn't accommodate me, you still offered a way forward. mr. neil made a remark and i think accurately, that we are going to see a lot of you next year. couldn't do a change of this magnitude and not be coming back for technical changes. don't have to vote for the original bill to be part of fixes you thi


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on