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tv   House Rules Hearing on Social Spending Plan  CSPAN  November 4, 2021 12:48pm-1:31pm EDT

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meaningful way. i hope you have a very nice day. we'll keep you informed. stay tuned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy visit] >> download c-span's new mobile app and state up-to-date with live video coverage of the day's biggest political events from live streams of the house and senate floor and c congressional hearings, the white house events and supreme court oral arguments. even our live interactive morning program, "washington journal." where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. >> rules committee is expected to meet later today to continue working on president biden's social spending plan. we plan to cover that committee meeting live when it happens on our website, and the
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c-span networks. the committee started work on the bill yesterday. leadership from several house committees shared their thoughts on the legislation. here is some of that as we wait for the house to return. king up
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social spending plan. >> this bill has changed. today we're back to talk more about it. and as we'll hear, it includes provisions to lower prescription drug costs established paid family leave and new protections for immigrants and i'm proud of that and i want to thank speaker pelosi, the committees and all of those who made this transformative bill an even stronger one. i don't want to sound like a broken record here, but let me say it again for the record, we know this bill will need to comply with the senator's arcane rules. so it may still need further perfecting. that's part of the reconciliation process. i'm proud of this process and i'm proud of this bill. establishing universal and free
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pre-k. capping insulin prices at $35. rental and down payment assistance, bolstering our domestic supply chains and i could go on and on and on. this is transformational and i -- and i look forward to the discussion today. before i return to our ranking member for any comments he wishes to make, i do want to wish the gentlemen from minnesota a happy birthday. and i think the best birthday present we can give her is to be concise and help her get out of here so she can go and celebrate tonight. people of minnesota must have a different idea what a gift is. but in any event, i turn to the ranking member for any comments he wishes to make.
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>> first of all, thank you for recognizing her birthday and we're touched that you would want to celebrate it so robustly. thank you, mr. chairman, it may be a new day, but we're in the exact same spot we were last thursday. i'm still flummoxed by what we're doing here. i reiterate what we said last week, the rules committee is the last stop before the floor. it's not the first stop. that's exactly what we're being asked to do today. the speaker has chosen to go it alone and back to the old playbook of making points rather than making law. many democrats senators are raised objections to provisions that are included in this bill. it's clear that the senate is going to make changes. it's also clear that the senate cannot touch this bill until there's a cbo score. that cbo score is also of importance to many house members on both sides of the aisle. their request is being ignored
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by the speaker. democrats are not ready for this hearing, mr. chairman, and frankly are any of our witnesses, neither are any of my fellow republicans. we should be given time to read the text. i noted last time we could get through it if we could read 28 pages a minute. with the new improvements, it's now 36 pages a minute. i can read pretty fast, but there's a limit. we should be given time, again, to read it. we should be given time to process this bill and consider it and we should know how much money it will be spending, how much money it will be raising. it's astonishing that we're here holding a hearing and we don't know those big elements of this bill. with that, mr. chairman, it's a delight to spend time with you. but i think we could spend it more productively pursuing other members while the cbo gave us the information that all of us need.
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of course, we'll be here and do our duty and look forward to working with you. welcome our witnesses back. i know you must love this committee so much because you come over and over and over again. and i'm sure you've all had time to read all of this stuff too. not just your own sections, but the broader bills. i look forward to the hearing. with that, i yield back. >> thank you very much. let me just assure the gentlemen that the bill keeps on getting better and better and better. >> it does get big and her bigger and bigger. >> i will say this, we have former chairman sessions on display here. his portrait is up there. >> appropriately texas-sized portrait. >> i just want you to know that i think louise is still okay with it -- >> i was shocked seeing them side by side.
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i was sure that -- >> i think that was probably a gesture of consideration from our former chairman's part. >> that's a nice concession. anyway, i want to welcome back our witnesses to provide testimony on the bill. the build back better act. we have ranking member smith, representative thompson from california, representative rice of south carolina, chairman pallone, ranking member rogers, chairman scott and ranking member fox. let me just say to everybody, you know, even though people think we do not have time limits here, we actually do. we just don't enforce them. and that's our policy. and i just say that because i think the last time you were all here, your panel was over four hours long. so i want to, again, give a good birthday present here. i think -- i would urge people
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to be concise and i think, you know, we should try to aim for not four hours, if that's possible. in any event, the chairman is very liberal with time allotment. at this point, i recognize chairman yarmuth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and happy birthday. tomorrow is my birthday and i hope we're not here into my birthday. [ laughter ] mr. chairman, ranking member cole and members of the committee, it's great to be back. i'm happy to be here to continue our work on the build back better act. the bill we are debating today is even stronger than the one i first presented to this committee last week. we've made progress in a few areas that represent major victories for the american people. we have included the first ever paid family and medical leave guarantee for workers, a medical prescription drug negotiation provision, and an out of pocket limit that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for millions of seniors.
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we have also made changes, mainly to comply with senate rules which my fellow chairs can discuss in more details. the ke component of president biden's framework, the most transformative investment in childcare in generations, the largest effort to combat climate change in american history, the biggest expansion of affordable health coverage in a decade, the most significant effort to bring down costs and strengthen the middle class in generations, key reforms to make our tax system more equitable are all still included in this legislation. these essential investments, 1.75 trillion over ten years, will overhaul and reimagine sectors of our economy and society so that everyone, not just those at the top, will benefit from a growing economy. this plan is responsibly paid for by insuring the wealthiest americans pay their fair share of taxes. americans making less than
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$400,000 a year will not see their taxes increase by a penny. build back better plan is not only what america needs, it's what american families want. this historic agenda enjoys support from the american people who know all too well the painful challenges facing our nation. any one of the major provisions in this bill is an enormous victory for the american people. combined, they represent the most consequential legislation for our country and our people we serve since the new deal. i look forward to discussing with you further today as we move closer to delivering true, transformative change that will benefit generations to come. i yield back. >> thank you very much. ranking member smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ranking member cole. once again, it feels like groundhog day from where we were on thursday. we have the bill before us that was filed at 3:00 this afternoon.
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and we're in this committee hearing at 4:30 and you added 400 more pages to it. it's 2,135 pages. knowing that no one on our side can read it, let alone on your side can read it. i think this is a horrible way to do business. the american people knows it's a horrible way to do business. and even five of your colleagues yesterday sent a letter to speaker pelosi saying they would not support this reconciliation bill without a full score of the congressional budget office. it will take two weeks, two weeks for the congressional budget office to score the bill. and then they want 72 hours from that point to read it. this is a budget bill. a budget bill. a budget, according to speaker pelosi, says it's a statement of their values. you know what, let's look through the 400 new pages you added in. because there's a lot of things that you didn't point out, mr.
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chairman, that the american people needs to know the senate. like almost $350 billion tax cuts for the 1%ers of this country. you put in the states and local tax cap that was on it at $10,000 a year and you increased it to 72,500 per person? in this bill. that shows your priorities. and you know what's -- i was like, where is 72,500 come from? guess what? you live in the state of new jersey and you make a million dollars and you're married, that's 72,500. new jersey wasn't so good last night for the democrats. maybe this is a way to help them. i don't know. but the american people do not like the direction of where we're going. and the fact that the -- one of the biggest pay fors in this bill is a tax break to the
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wealthiest 1%ers. the bill that is before us right now, the bill before us will give a tax break to the 1 percenters, but by the year 2023, it's a tax increase for a family of four, a family of four will have a tax increase of $3,200 a year because you're letting the child tax credit expire in the year 2023. but you're making a cap for ten years at 72,500. people in southeast missouri don't make that. but you all are doing it. it is unacceptable and you didn't even mention one of the biggest portions and changes in the bill in the opening part. and paid family leave. taxpayer-paid family leave. there's no income. you can make a hundred million dollars and get paid family
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leave under this bill. this is what happens when you -- maybe that's what you want to do. it could be what you want to do. and that's a disgrace. because american families are upset with the control, with the control that this congress is trying to have on their lives. and we saw that yesterday in virginia. we saw that in texas, in minnesota, in new jersey and in new york. they're not happy with the direction of how things are going. unfortunately, you all aren't paying attention to what happened last night. and you're trying to push through things that the american people don't want. they don't want this. and you don't even have the votes in your own party to pass this. i don't know why we're playing groundhog day. it's absolutely unacceptable. the fact that you're giving a $23,000 tax cut to the 1%ers in
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this legislation is unacceptable. the fact that you're allowing people who make a half a million dollars a year to have huge tax credits for luxury electric vehicles is unacceptable. with that, i'm happy to take any questions. but this is such an unfortunate situation for the american people. they're not going to be happy with it once they know what's in it. we're going to make sure the american people knows what's in it before you can pass this bill. >> thank you, mr. smith. we'll put you down as undecided. i will now yield to mr. thompson of california. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member cole and all the members on the committee. i'm pleased to represent the ways and means committee on behalf of chairman neil to discuss the changes in the rules committee print. as chairman neil stated last week, the provisions in this
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bill make bigger investments in our children, families and communities. they invest in the economy to fight climate change, they bring us closer to having universal health coverage and address our racial inequities. we're responsibly funding our priorities by making sure everyone pays their fair share. the changes before the rules committee today are in line with these priorities. for example, the new legislation recognizes the importance of investing in underserved communities. it includes investments, affordable housing for both renters and buyers. it contains changes that -- and encourages investments in indian country. i'm very pleased americans now provide four weeks of universal paid family and medical leave.
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ways and means, democrats, led by chairman neil, have championed paid leave from the very beginning of this process, including the policy and fighting to ensure its inclusion in the final package as well. this investment will offer long overdue support for workers, families, employers, and the broader economy. americans will no longer need to worry about losing their paycheck after welcoming a new child when caring for a seriously ill loved one, or grappling with their own health emergencies. the benefit will particularly help women remaining in the workforce as they so often take on the majority of the caregiving responsibilities in their home. the impact of this policy will be truly transformative for workers and for america's economic competitiveness on the
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global stage. the package also provides long overdue relief from the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. it's from every congressional district in the country and has proven a particular burden for middle class taxpayers in high cost of living areas. the capex erts pressure on state and local governments and discourages charitable contribution. the republicans do acknowledge the legitimacy of it. they preserved it in their tax bill for corporations. they just didn't keep it for families. today's package finally likely restores this important tax deduction for all taxpayers. one of the most important reasons why we approved -- the
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republicans $10,000 cap is that it pressure states and local governments to cut essential programs and services that they fund. in addition, the tax provisions -- text provides the authority and the tools for medicare to negotiate drug prices. after nine years, all small molecule drugs and 12 years for biologicals. it redesigns the part "b" benefit to protect senators from high out of pocket spending, including a $2,000 annual out of pocket cap on spending. and the bill requires rebates from drug companies from drug prices growing faster than inflation. this is a down payment on addressing the high prices and out-of-pocket cost that is have plagued consumers for decades. finally, this package contains
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important compromises. it's been right sized to satisfy the goals of the house and also to address outstanding issues in the senate. in order to get these important provisions signed into law as soon as possible. as i know from my work on the green act, the basis for tax provisions on climate change in this bill, we're -- it's truly urgent. this revised version of the build back better act responds to the urgency by making the historic investment in communities, green energy, jobs, childcare, education, and health care that our country needs right now. thank you and i yield back. >> thank you very much. representative rice, welcome. the floor is yours. >> thank you, sir. i am astonished that we're sitting here to debate this bill
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when we're talking about a multitrillion dollar bill with over 2,000 pages that was only issued an hour and a half ago. not one soul in this room has read or even knows what's in it. we think we know most of them, but we don't know for sure. we've heard zero testimony from experts about the effects on our economy, effects on industry, effects on everyday people. we're just moving on a whim and asked to take your word that this is going to be wonderful for the consumer. it's you job as legislators to vet these -- any legislation that we enact. but particularly something that is going to cost multitrillion dollars and add $5,000 -- or we're going to borrow $5,000 for every man, woman and child or spend $5,000 for every man, woman and child in this country if we enact this law. this is simply -- this is simpl.
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this is legislative malpractice, that we would even consider moving forward on this with no understanding of the cost and no understanding of the effect on our economy or inflation or on people. this is going to further fuel the inflation fire. guess what? every time they go to the gas pump they're taxed from inflation based on your policy. every time they go to the grocery store they're taxed from inflation based on your policy. this thanksgiving dinner people back home in south carolina majority african-american, they're wonder how they're going to pay for their thanksgiving dinner due to large part to the multidigit inflation you guys have spurned. and you're going to keep adding to that with this bill. it's absolutely inexcusable that we would take this up with no
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time oruble to review it or take testimony. now, off of that it seems you never learn. coming out of the 2008 financial crisis the response of the democratic party was we need massive new economy programs, massive new taxes and massive new regulations, aka dodd/frank. what was the result of that? we had ten years of stagnant recovery. ten years. at the end of obama's turn 75% americans think their children will have the same future they did. we come in and lower regulation, we lower taxes and we enact new trade policy and next thing you know wages are growing over 3%. first time that's happened in decades. poverty hit forever lows, lowest
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ever reported. and the economy, unemployment for every demographic was at record lows. and so we're going to say, well, gosh, we're going to try to do better, we're going to go back and do the act exact same thing, increase regulation and guess what we're going to stagnate the economy all over again? when we were coming into a sharp recovery as we should have out of the coronavirus which was much worse than the financial crisis. we were coming out of it just fine because we hadn't changed the and here we enacted the american rescue plan, people stayed home, started up inflation, and you want to keep adding to that, the massive tax
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increases in this bill in the form of no work child tax credit, in the form of no verification for family paid leave. all these things are going to make our economy flow. it's going to make our economy less productive. we're going to have less jobs and more jobs who move overseas. folks back home -- adding a spur tax to many, many businesses rather than a 15% corporate minimum tax, guess what we had 4,000 american -- we were going to add a brand new corporate
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minimum tax of 15%. let's clamp those offshoring right back up. we've got the wonderfully popular bank reporting requirement. folks at home that don't recognize what that is, state and local taxes. under current law you can write off up to $10,000 in state and local taxes. that really isn't important to most people because most people don't itemize. why? because everybody gets to write off $24,000. and in addition to that you can write off $10,000 in state and local taxes. so this only applies to the top 10% of earners. what we've done is lifted that
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10,000 cap and applied a cap what is it again, jason? $72,500. well, guess what? not the top 10%, they get some but most of it goes to the top 1%. the top 1%. the thing that really galls me about that is you guys always say, hey, we represent the little guy. guess what? one of the biggest single costs in this entire bill is a tax-deductible for the people at the top 1%. we want to give money back to our donors and give money back to the top 1%. child tax credit and paid leave with no verification, uncle
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jerry breaks his ankle ten family members can take off and take care of him. on one weeks notice they can take four weeks off. how is that going to help american businesses? what's that going to do to american jobs? what we're doing, woo we have this pattern here we want to pay people to stay home and not to work. the american people at home don't like it, and the more they learn about these things in this bill the more angry they become. if you meet the washington -- i've got three of the poorest counties in the state. guess how many child care
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centers they're going to have? like zero. where do they get their child care? they get it from faith based organizations. are these people going to qualify? no, because they don't meet these washington big government requirements, certifications that these kwhield care centers have to pass. so the poor people back in the rural areas of my district are going to get left out. and my kids went to a presbyterian church with kids of every stripe, and it was a wonderful, positive day care experience for child care for them. and those people are going to get left. and it is not right. prescription drug price control. you know, we had a bipartisan agreement that would have protected innovation and protected research in this country and would have provided reasonable means to prescription
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prices. it will result i believe in its 5 to 10 less innovations every year in the country, less cures, less cures for cancer, less cures for parkinson's, less cures for alzheimer's. that's not what the american people want. we want the best health care in the world. all of this will continue to fuel inflation. it's going to undermine our entire economy and hit poor people the hardest, the people you say you represent. it is a direct tax they have to pay every time they go to the grocery store, every time they go to the gas station. this is an abomination. it is inexcusable that we would go through this process without a single hearing, without any understanding of what its effect is going to be on our economy, on our businesses and on the
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people who live here. with that i yield back. >> thank you. chairman pollone? >> thank you, chairman and members of the rules committee. i want to say that, you know, i agree that i think as democrats and republicans we all understand that people are hurting and that there are a lot of challenges out there, but i think the difference is that as democrats we feel we should take action here to meet those challenges and try to address those challenges. from the perspective of our committee, the energy and commerce committee, we have this continued public health crisis that mostly relates to covid. we have a rapidly escalating climate crisis, which the world recognizes. that's why we're having this conference in glasgow next week. and then of course there's the long-term economic challenges which are severe. but what i wanted to say from the perspective of the energy and commerce committee it goes
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back to what i said last week, and i'll try to not be repetitive, mr. chairman. for energy and commerce purposes, there aren't a lot of changes from the bill we discussed here last week. i said three things. i said looking at this as democrats in sort of a three-pronged approach. one was the american rescue plan which was a direct response to covid. the fact that people were hurting, many people unemployed. we gave them cash payments. we did child tax credits. we increased the subsidies that they received under the affordable care act among other things. and mainly what we did with the american rescue plan was try to get us back on track in terms of the covid crisis making sure people got vaccinated. we didn't have shortages in the supply chain at hospitals for ventilators and those type of things.
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and then with the bipartisan infrastructure framework it was a recognition that our infrastructure is falling apart whether it's roads, bridges. and i don't think it's just new jersey where we have major infrastructureedes needs, but it's also our sewer lines, our water pipes. you know what happened in michigan, in flint and other places. but there's also recognition in the build back better act, which is the bill before you today, if we're going to change things economically for people hurting, we have to look at things like child care, like pre-k, like public housing, like what was added today with family leave as well as build on some of the other things that are out there. i don't want to be repetitive. with regard to the health provisions the one thing that is different that wasn't in the
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bill last week is the reduced prices for prescription drugs. i know mr. thompson explained that to some extent, but i wanted to tell you where we are. i would have preferred hr3. it's not exactly hr3 but it does have the three most important provisions of hr3. one is this cap on out-of-pocket expenses at $2,000 a year, out-of-pocket costs which is significant for our seniors under medicare. and then it has the inflation rebate, which says, you know, you can't continue to raise these prices beyond inflation or otherwise you have to pay a rebate. we had some drugs that went up 300% during the covid crisis. i thought during the covid crisis that, you know, the drug companies would try to give everyone a break knowing that everyone was hurting, but it wasn't true. we had major price increases
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that continued for prescription drugs throughout the covid crisis and continues today. then the negotiation which is the part that has changed from hr3 but still the basic idea which is that there are a number of drugs out there that are in widespread use that have had major price increases. and the only way we can effectively bring those costs down is by having the secretary of hhs and force the drug companies to come to the table. basically the idea is you would choose 100 of these drugs that have the most widespread use and over the course of years you would have a process to negotiate the prices for those drugs which are primarily under medicare part "d." i don't want to get into a lot of details but i do want you to understand this does not apply to the initial exclue sievety period. in other words, as we know we'll
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have a debate for a long time, but he knows very well it's a molecular drug and patented for five years and we don't negotiate during that initial period, but we do start negotiations for the drugs after nine years and an additional four and after 12 years for the biologic and we start as we say with a list about 100. as far as the drug prices are concerned but it is significant. it really is one of it most important things people face in the issue of affordability. on the medicaid coverage gap, there are those states that have not expanded medicare -- i'm sorry, the medicaid coverage gap. we provided some incentives over the years. we basically say we extend the subsidies under the aca to the
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people in those states. we have a hearing aid or hearing provision. we have a significant amount of funding for home and community based services. everyone here knows how difficult it is to go into be providers, be home health care providers because they don't get paid enough. so they're basically making it so they would get paid better, have better benefits and at the same time more people would be eligible. so they could stay at home, not have to go to a nursing home, not have to be institutionalized. the children's health nurns program, bipartisan over the years, we make that permanent. we improve maternal health outcomes for vulnerable populations. one year of medicaid coverage postpartum. with regard to 9/11 which is
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something not just in my area but across the country we expand that funding. with regard to the public health infrastructure and the public health preparedness we have significant funding to continue the deal with the covid crisis whether it's a lab, whether preparedness or other thingsf of that nature. let me talk briefly about climate action and i'll stop. i do believe collectively the climate action piece of this bill will meet the paris goals, will meet the goal of the united states to achieve through the paris agreement. a lot of that is the tax credit that are provided to get utilities to move away from fossil fuels and into renewables. but, again, if you use coal or use fossil fuels and you can capture the greenhouse gases, then this is energy neutral.
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you can use coal, you can do nuclear. you just have to make sure that you capture the greenhouse gases. there's all kinds of things in individuals as well as industry to try to get them to move away from increased greenhouse gas emissions. i know someone criticized the electric vehicles, but that's a significant way of reducing greenhouse gases. we also upgrade the electricity grid around the country. many rural areas the electricity grid, you know, is collapsing or cannot be hooked up to renewable resources to capture the renewable resources. i'm not going to go through the whole list, mr. chairman, because i think you heard quite enough. but i did want to mention a couple more things. there's money in the senate bill, more money, an additional 9 billion to try to get rid of
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the lead pipe making it so our drinking water is unsafe. we have to reduce the air pollution at the ports. that's significant. and the last thing i'll mention even though i'm sure i'll get some criticism from dr. burgess. we have this methanes emission reduction program which we talked about before. i do want to mention that's a significant factor in trying to reduce greenhouse gases. but collectively this is really going to make a difference for climate and make it possible for us to say we are taking the lead on addressing the need to reduce greenhouse gases and address the climate problem that we face. so thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity.
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>> i heard the chairman say this is about covid. i'm reminded before covid our economy was booming. we had -- we had a record economy, record unemployment, people coming off the side lines, record low unemployment, record jobs being created. covid hit. we worked together. we worked in a bipartisan fashion to address covid, and we came together as republicans and democrats. this is not about covid. it's not about the response to covid. this has been -- it has been described over and over as transforming america. we heard it over and over. this is to transform america. speaker pelosi has said this is a once in a century moment to
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fundamentally transform america. that's what this is about. and why is this the moment? you might be able to hide behind covid, but the fact of the matter is the democrats have the majority. in the house it's very slim, proving hard. so perhaps you don't have majority too much longer given the outcome last night. that's what this is about. it's about a political agenda. you look in this bill a lot of it is a socialist agenda. i just heard the chairman of energy and commerce talk about >> you can continue watching this on our website or go to our c-span video now app. we are going to the house as part of our


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