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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 10, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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the military class of 1974, it was a, maybe the first post-vietnam class, members of that class actually were joining an institution whose future was very much in doubt. they make jokes sometimes about themselves, but general david petraeus is one of the distinguished graduates of that class, and he's said they also called themselves class of a of '74, pride of the corps. and that class has produced general petraeus, general alexander and general dempsey, which is not bad. actually, general alexander thought he would only go in for five years but came to see a career in military intelligence. it's been an outstanding career including tours of the g2 for the first armored division in the first desert storm. i worked closely with him when i was deputy secretary of defense, first when he headed army
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command and then when he was deputy staff of the army for intelligence from 2003 to 2005. or andy marshall told me even before i met general alexander that this was an exceptional officer and a real innovator, and after working with him for four year, i can certainly confirm that description. of course, he's since gone on to become the director of the national security agency, serving in that position since august 1 of 2005. that's a record. you can do the arithmetic, seven years. almost sounds like a life sentence, but we are very lucky that he's served that long and that two different administrations have seen the enormous value that he brings to the job. for the last two years, he was given the additional duties as commander, united states cyber command. to both those positions, he brings some uniquely-suitable qualities. he's an innovative and a leader but not a self-promoter.
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he's intensely focused but also deceptively low key. he's a risk taker, but he's also very careful about details. and i might add, he's very smart. oh, yeah. one other thing. he doesn't like publicity. so i'm not sure what we should expect today, but i know we're lucky to have him with us. please join me in welcoming general keith alexander. [applause] [laughter] >> just hide behind the -- well, you know, part of the reason i don't like the publicity is my mother used to say i had a face made for radio. i'm sure you've all heard that before. [laughter] and another comment you could probably add to it is behind every successful army officer is a stunned father-in-law. we have that as well.
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um, there's a few things that i'd like to talk about today, and i know we're going to have of a small group of about 25-30 people to do that with. and i see that's grown slightly. i'm not a mathematician per se. there are some things that i do want to put on the table for us to discuss, and i know we're going to have a panel that will talk about what we talk about here later in more detail. first, what secretary wolfowitz brought out, i think s absolutely important for our nation. cyber legislation. i think it's important that we talk about this. now, i'm not here to talk about any specific piece of legislation, but i do think it's important that we as a nation look at this and say what do we need for our country. and how do we do that. and let's put all the facts on the table as we talk about this from civil liberties and privacy. i think it's important that we talk about that, to protecting
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this country from a cyber attack. how are we going to do that? um, you know, we just finished up the fourth of july, and i had the privilege and honor of hosting 14 young children at my house, my grandchildren. and when you look at these kids between the age of 1 and 10, the average age, i guess, if you use the distribution method would be about 3. they all have ipods, little dss, they're all tremendously smart in this area. you know, you think about it, they are connected to the web when they start. they can run these things down to a battery, and they'll just plug it in, and i can keep on going, mom. i can keep playing. it's amazing what's going on in in this world. think about the opportunities that we have. um, in the year 2000 there were
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360 million people on the internet. today, first quarter 2012, 3.3 billion -- 2.3 billion. and there's today over 200 million u.s. e-mail users. in 2011 there were about 107 trillion e-mails sent. that statistically averages out to a little over 293 billion a day. large portion of that, spam e-mail. it's also interesting, the united states hosts 43% of the top one million web sites in the world. 43%. so that's a little over 430,000 of the top web sites in the world. and by august of this year facebook is expected to go over a billion users. that would make that, what, the third largest country of netizens in the world. incredible changes. the united states would have 184
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facebook users, and 24% of web sites has facebook integrated into it. and in one year, this last year, 461 mobile devices were sold. cisco traffic will evolve and grow 18 times between now and 2016. u.s. cell phone users, 165 million, and 90 million check their e-mail every day. my daughters check their e-mail every half hour. and many of you do the same. you know, how many now get in a conversation, you're in a conversation, all of a sudden somebody, oh, e-mail -- [laughter] they say, i thought we were talking here. no, no, i got that e-mail. well, it is good. there are 500,000 apps for the iphone and about 280,000 apps for android. by 2016 the world population's expected to be at 7.3 billion,
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and the world's mobile device population, 10 billion. and some of you are know who you are, have two of those devices and an ipad, a mobile tablet. and it is growing. it's incredible what we're going to be able to do with this technology. think about it. think of what we can do for medicine, you know, for gene research. what hospitals will be able to do by 2015 that we couldn't do a decade ago. this is incredible opportunities. and stuff that we have to now take the next step. if you think about it, we're the country that made much of this technology. and we ought to be the first ones to secure it. so let's talk about the vulnerabilities and those things that are coming in because that's the real problem. you can't hear me? they can't hear me? can you hear me now? a little louder, huh? oh, i probably moved this too far away.
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can you hear me in the back? don't worry, you didn't miss anything. [laughter] if you need some quotes, get some good ones from anybody if there were any good ones. there was nothing worth quoting there. look at the number of pieces of malware. mcafee's got some great statistics on this, and all these statistics that i'm giving you are publicly available. you can go out on the network and pull down some of these from, zd net, pew. they have some great things, gartner have some great statistics on where we are today. and if you go to softpediacom and mcafee, mcafee will tell you they've got 75 million unique pieces of malware in their inventory right now. 75 million pieces of malware. botnets send 89.5 million
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unsolicited e fails a -- e-mails a day, roughly one-third sent by botnets. and over 100 countries have network exemployeation capabilities -- exploitation capabilities. in 2011 the number of cyber attacks rose 44%. malware increased by 60%, and the number of attacks on u.s. critical infrastructure went from nine in 2009 to over 160 in 2011. and from january of 2011 to june of 2011, 19,000 malicious addresses appeared a day. urds. 80% of the web sites have been hacked or compromised. it's interesting, when you go out to companies in the fortune 500, of 168 companies that were queried in this, 162 had been hacked. and i'm going to give you only o insights of some of those that
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have been hacked. just some unique statistics on this when you start to look at what's going on. in the june of 2011, google was hacked. in july of 2011, booz allen. in august, another u.s. company. mitsubishi heavy industries in september, sony in october, a, t in november, visa, chamber of commerce in december. symantec in january, nissan in april of 2012, visa and mastercard, april of 2012. and when you look at this, you look at these companies, the first thing you've got to say, these are some really good companies. what's going on? you know, is some of these are the best in our station. why are they being hacked? let me explain. they're the ones that know they're being hacked. our experience is when we look into that, when fbi and others
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look into it, they find out there are more than 100 companies for every one that knows they've been hacked that doesn't know they've been hacked. that's significant. in fact, in my opinion, it's the greatest transfer of wealth in history. symantec placed the cost of i.t. theft to united states companies at $250 billion a year. global cyber crime at $114 billion annually, 338 billion when you factor in down time. and mcafee estimates that one trillion was spent globally on remediation. and that's our future disappearing in front of us. so let me put this in context, if i could. we have this tremendous opportunity with the devices that we're using. we're going mobile, but they're not secure. tremendous vulnerabilities. our companies use these, our
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kids use these, we use these devices that are not secure. and when you look at what's happened in estonia in 2007, the monument issue, look at what happened in latvia, lithuania, georgia, azerbaijan, kurdistan and ore countries that have been -- other countries that have been hit with cyber attacks. we've gone from exploiting networks for intellectual property to attacks. and these attacks have been disruptive in nature. and this is like the kids all screaming at once at supper time. it happened every night. and -- that was a joke, i'm sorry, i can go shore. [laughter] slower. no jokes, okay. [laughter] the kids screaming every night and you're trying to talk, have a conversation, you can't communicate. as soon as they're quiet, you
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can communicate. in a disruptive service attack is much like that. your pipes, the communications pipes are filled up with this spam or botnet e-mail, and there are different versions of this that either block the communications channel or use up the computer capability of your system. either way you can't communicate. but as soon as that stops and that's cleared out, you can go back to communications. what i am concerned about and what i think we really need to be concerned about is when these transition from disruptive to destructive attacks. and i think those are coming. and a destructive attack would simply make your computer not work anymore or have to be replaced. if buy quos or some other portion of the firmware were destroyed, your system would
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have to be replaced to work again. so we've got to consider that those are going to happen, those are coming up, and we have to be ready for that. so what what do we talk about h? and this makes this even more difficult than the nuclear deterrence strategies and theories that we've talked about in the past. because when you think about cyber actors, let's put them into five groups. you have nation-states, you have cyber criminals, you have hackers, you have hacktivists and terrorrests. not all of those are nation-states. so you're not talking about just nation-on-nation deterrence theory, you have other nonnation-state actors that you now have to consider. and in one of these attacks you may not know who's doing it, who is attacking your systems. either way the outcome could be the same. you lose, the financial sector or the power grid, or your
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systems capabilities for a period of time. doesn't matter who did it, you still lose that. so you've got to come up with a defensive strategy that solves that. from my perspective. so let's talk about that in a couple different venn use. first -- venues. first, a closer look at some of the international programs, and i want to use some quotes here just to show you it is a team, a team sport. because i think one of the things that people look to us and say, well, are you going to handle all this, i come from the tom sawyer, huckleberry finn approach. we want to get as many people as we can working together to solve this problem, and that's what it takes. and i think the white house has led a great effort on bringing that team together. both past and present. bringing in dhs and their role and working with commercial industry, private sector, fbi
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and their role in law enforcement and dod in the intel community. that's us. bringing us all in as a team with our responsibilitying being the foreign intelligence and defend the nation from an attack. now, a lot going on in this area. let me give you some quotes about what secretary clinton has noted. the united states' growing concern about the threat to economic and national security across the world posed by cyber intrusions, the theft of intellectual property and commercial data by cyber means. just this past month, in june, secretary panetta, while testifying before the senate appropriations subcommittee on defense, said america faces the potential threat for another pearl harbor and that technologically the capability to paralyze this country is there now. he went on to say that the more this technology develops, the more the will to potentially use it increes.
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increases. in response to these risks, with many countries on this issue -- we're working with many countries on this issue to respond to these types of risks as we see those. um, at the 2012 u.s./china streej ec die -- strategic dialogue, for example, secretary clinton stated that it is vital to the united states and china to have a sustained, meaningful dialogue on cyberspace issues and work together to develop a shared understanding of acceptable norms of behavior, establishing clear and acceptable practices in cyberspace is critical. so what are we doing to address this, and let's set initial framework. and i'm not sure how familiar you all are with, um, penetration test in hacking. so let me just give you a real quick understanding of that.
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first, some of you -- how many are familiar with backtrack? one. okay, well, that's good. [laughter] two. okay. well, that'll make this -- please, don't correct me, you two. [laughter] actually, there's a great book out there on the basics of hacking and penetration testing. and the reason i bring this up is because we're looking at this, i'm actually reading this book. and when you look at me, here's an army officer who has learned to read -- [laughter] and actually reading a book. and there are pictures in it -- [laughter] but the reason this is important is i think we have to understand the issue of what's coming at us. we have to understand that issue to train our people. we, the defense department and the intelligence community, have to know what it is we're training our people towards and then how we share those.
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and if you think about this, we should have a way of discussing that with industry. because we're going to ask them to do many of the things that we're doing today. and if you look at this book, what the book does is it refers you to a program called backtrack. backtrack is a penetration penetration-testing tool kit delight. it's great, it really is. of -- you can get backtrack, you can download it off the internet free. the price is great. i thought, okay, you can get it free. you can get a virtual machine vm-ware capability, you can download that, and you can upload two systems; your system and the system you want to do penetration testing on, all in your own computer. to train yourself and others on how to test your system to see if it's secure. because this is what people are
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doing to our systems today. and what the book teaches you is how to do reconnaissance. if you think about 2.3 billion systems out there, it's not like hugh jackman drinking champagne, typing on the computer and launching these cubes into morph and there. it's actually much -- no, i'm just kidding. [laughter] it's much different. it is much more difficult than that. so this book walks you through it, and in this case it's hard to do reconnaissance. how once you find a system to scan that system and determine the vulnerabilities. so, for example, one of the folks in our office actually uses this to test his system at home to see if he's got vulnerabilities that others could be exploiting and to patch those. just like you would do if you have mcafee or symantec capabilities on your home system.
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why do we go through this and why do i bring this up? so my time on this, and i'm not the elite computer operator that we have in our young folks today, but i was able to upload this, able to take one of my virtual machines against the other, and over a ten minute period break into this other machine, download files, upload a key logger system and essentially take control of it and do with that machine anything that i wanted to do. now, what that does is it says what are the training requirements that we have to defend against that? how do we help explain that to the american people? because if we can't explain that to the american people, then how do they know what we're talking about is true? and my concern is what happens is we throw out these words without having any context for
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'em. and that context is civil liberties and privacy. that context that you're going to break the machines, you're doing something illegal. and the reality is we can do the protection of civil liberties and privacy and cybersecurity as a nation. not only we can, but i believe that's something that we must do. and so this cyber legislation that's coming up is going to be absolutely vital to the future of our country. so what are we doing within dod on this? we've actually set up five key areas, and i want to talk a little bit about these. what's it take from the defense department perspective, and i'm going to focus on the defense department initially, and then we can use that as an analogy to look at what you have to do for the country. so the first thing is building a defensive architecture. we've talked about that within
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dod. when you, when we talk about building a defensive architecture, there are some things that we can and, i this this -- and i think, must do. one of those is, in my opinion, going to the cloud, a thin, virtual i.t. infrastructure that is much more defensible than what we have today. now, many of you know from just reading that the cloud's not perfectly secure either. we know that the system that we're on today is not secure. 15,000 enclaves, you have seen that. each of those enclaves with system administrators that can patch those at their frequency which insures that if humans are involved, the probability that somebody makes a mistake and, hence, there's a vulnerability is almost one. we should reduce that vulnerability by going to thin, virtual cloud what we can do is have the computer update those
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patches and mitigate those vulnerabilities at network speed. that's a huge step from where we are today and something that we should take on right away. we need to build a trained and ready cyber force with the right number, right capacity. and so one of the things, the reasons i'm reading that book is know what the national security agency does and what cyber command does and what our services are doing, what are the future standards that we have to have for our military and civilians to defend this country in cyber cyberspace? how do we know we're training them right? and the answer is lay that program out, get the right people. we have over a hundred universities that are doing information assurance, cybersecurity-related stuff. take the west of that, put it on -- take the best of that, put it on the table, and that's how we educate our future force. and we need to build them, and we're taking that on.
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situational awareness. how do you see cyberspace? think about that. you know, if we -- if you got a group of folks together and say draw me a picture of cyberspace and what's that mean, show me what you're talking about, you're saying you've got this, you know, different type of vulnerability. what's that mean? how do you see that? how does your system defend -- how do you know? how do we share information between government departments? how do we share information between the government and industry? and how do we do that in such a way that the american people know that we're protecting their civil liberties and privacy? and this is a great case in point. when mcafee and symantec and
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others look at the different types of malware that are potentially getting in your system, they have a number of ways of doing it. they're not reading your e-mail per se to see that. they're looking at the stream of data that's coming in hexidecimal format looking for signatures or ports or different types of activity then if they see that activity, they alert off of it. jump forward to our cyber legislation. one of the things that we have to have then is if the critical infrastructure community is being attacked by something, we need them to tell us. at network speed. it doesn't require the government to read their mail. or your mail to do that. it requires them through the internet service provider or that company to tell us that that type of event is going on at time. and it has to be at network
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speed if you're going to stop it. it's like a missile coming in to the united states. if you think about a missile coming into the united states, there's two things you could do. we could take the snail mail approach and say i saw a missile going overhead, looked like it's headed your way, put the letter in the mail and say how'd that turn out? now, cyber is at the speed of light. i'm just saying we perhaps ought to go a little faster. probably don't want to use snail mail. maybe we could do this in realtime. and come up with a construct that you and the american people know that we're not looking at civil liberties and pryce, we're actually -- and privacy, we're actually trying to figure out when the nation is under attack and what we need to do about it. nice part about cyber, everything we do in cyber you can audit. with 100% reliability. seems to me that there's a great
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approach there. so for situational awareness, we need to be able to see what's going on. now, when i say "see," i don't mean that the government has to be in the networks to see. i mean how to -- how do you see what's going on, and like the police force, like the fire department they don't sit around every building waiting for a fire to come off. you call them when there's a fire. they come down, they help put it out. in cyberspace i see very much the same thing in our partnership with industry. as indiana poach. as an approach. another part, and secretary wolfowitz talked about this a little bit, but transforming the way the government works, especially within dod, what's our command and control, so some of the stuff that we're working on is how do we work with the ore combatant commands, how do we work with the department of homeland security, how do we work with the fbi, what's the command and control relationships, and how do we set
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those relationships up. first and foremost, in my opinion, it takes a team. no one agency or department can do this by themself. we have to have a command and control that leverages the best of what each of us can do. you know, the fbi has some tremendous capabilities in this area. we've got to leverage those. dhs, the public face for our cyber with private industry and state and other governments. we provide them technical support, and we ought to do that. if the nation is attacked and finding out foreign intelligence and providing that, that's our job. that's where nsa and cyber command come in. finally, perhaps most importantly, obtaining the authorities, policies, rules for how we're going to operate. and we're actually working through that, and i think we're making symptom great progress, and -- some great progress, and i think the white house is taking the lead on that.
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you can see this on a actions of the defense department and the intel community are doing as we move forward. so there's a lot going on in these areas. what i'd like to do is give you a few thoughts on cyber legislation and then open it up for questions because i don't want to take all the time. i know there's maybe one question out there. when we talk about cyber legislation, there's a couple things that i think we need. first, we talked about information sharing. if we know there are vulnerabilities out there, we have to have a way of sharing those vulnerabilities with the private sector or whoever's going to defend the critical infrastructure so that they know what the threat looks like. and we need to be told that when that threat hits that part of industry what's going on so we can help stop it if it's our responsibility to do so. ..
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to tell the government when we have a problem so we can respond to it? that is a straightforward thing and we need to do that. if we don't my concern is we will argue about this and never get to a solution until something bad happens that when something bad happens we are going to jump over here where we
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don't want to be. so while we have the time, the patience and the understanding, let's get this right. let's do it now. the second part, i am going to quote the sand institute here. they have a great web site. not on their payroll. they don't have a payroll actually. they have topped 20 things you ought to fix if you are an industry. the top 20 thing you would fix on your network and here they are. those are kind of rules of the road and we talk about those rules of the road, and think about this driving. if we had no rules of the road,
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you could drive on the left side or the right side and there might be some problems for solutions and after a while, set up rules of a row like drive on the right side and that will stop one of collisions if we start the right side. we got to work with them and this is an international problem. but you can set up standards. what are the standards that we need now to protect our system? we have to set up some for how we protect and inshore those systems out there are secure because those are the problems we will face in the future. there are two things we need. information sharing from my perspective. we need to think about that in terms of situational awareness. can we get it in time at network
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speed? to protect civil liberties and privacy. what is the set of standards? a couple things. as we look at what goes on in this area it is the greatest growth in our nation. it is tremendous what is going on. tremendous opportunities for our country and tremendous vulnerability is and we are seeing other countries using this space that conflict is growing, probability from crises is not -- while we have the time we should think about and enact those things we need to ensure our security in this area and do it before a crisis so we don't jump after a crisis and you don't have me hold down explaining why we didn't stop. i would prefer not to do that.
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those things as are not fun. that is coming our way. you see statistically the number of attacks are growing, you can see their growing from disruptive to destructive and our country has the bulk of the network. it is the part that started it. as a consequence i think we are the most vulnerable and we need to do something about it and now is the time to do that. so we will open it up for questions. [applause] >> waiting for a microphone. okay. i am going to pass on the
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circumstance question. just three rules, state your name and affiliation and make it a question and get as many as i can. >> wait for the microphone. somebody over here. over year . over here. >> my question is could you speak about the cyberthreat china poses to the united states? >> yes. did you want a longer answer? if you just look at the networks the hardest part is to go into the details of your question but if you look at it statistically
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the united states and china as secretary clinton pointed out we have been two biggest numbers of computers and related devices. from my perspective there are two issues. the greatest probability that those devices will be used for disruptive and destructive and other forms we need to get together to figure out a way forward and as quoted in many things, the theft of intellectual property is astounding. we have to figure out how to stop that. my perspective, part of that is having a viable defense. that defense is something we can put together and that is where the cyberlegislation comes in. i can't go into the details. and keep my job. >> over to the middle. >> sydney freedburg of aol
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defense. offensive abilities in general -- you have discussed our vulnerability but there are a lot of folks in the united states in a position of being the most skilled rock thrower in a city of glass houses and we have the biggest glass house. it is a two edge sword. what vulnerabilities do we create for ourselves when we talk about offensive and work on offensive cyber? >> that is a great question. i will try to address it directly -- i suspect the latter would be better. i think the issues that we face in cyberspace, different from the physical world. think about the two. in cyberspace, this is an area
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where we have to look at and other companies -- countries are looking at what are the alternatives? what are the means of getting countries to do something that they may or may not want to do. it would have been a war. world war ii is an example. what are the things that you could do that are short of a war and what should we do that our diplomatic leverage the economic, informational and not just military? how can you put those on the table? those are policy decisions that are not our decisions. the consequence in my experience is people way those considerations deliberately. as a consequence what they do and the policies they come up with is all of that. i can go into any more detail than that general statement in
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general. being a general. >> with bloomberg news, to what extent have al qaeda or other non state actors acquire the expertise to move into destructive cyberattacks against the united states? are they close at all? what are the ingredients for the tools that have to work to become a viable threat in that realm? >> i don't personally believe they are a viable threat in that realm. let me qualify that. the reason that book is so important and is worth a quick scan is when you look at that and say this is pre easy to conduct some of these exploits the ability to get on a machine and exploit it if it is that
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easy, we look at the event into our networks, but dot networks as that toughing. now will get critical infrastructure and say they are all curious. those are available to anyone with access to the web and is semiliterate. from that perspective the gap because of the internet itself is decreased. someone with a computer education at the bachelor's level can conduct it. i am concerned that while i don't see it today that they could quickly do that. they and others. that does concern me.
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>> general alexander, the automatic digital network -- control the internet before. what i have seen in recent times -- excuse me? >> please say your name. this for diplomat. what i see in security events is there doesn't seem to be an urging to this legislation that there are a lot of people talking about it. nothing is being done. in the meantime, presidents of russia -- he is not sitting by and letting cyberattacks go by and china doesn't need guidance.
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so when are we going to get serious about it? does the president have to have a cybersummit? where he gets them together and say pass this bill? >> so many things i could say. i am trying not to get in trouble. i think this time of year, politically very difficult to move through congress but my experience on working with both sides of the leaders of the republican and democrat, see this as the key issue and the key problem is how do we help articulate what is in that legislation? i am getting a lot of calls from both sides and from my perspective they do want to push this. i do think it is hard because there are fundamental disagreements. and resolving those and helping
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people understand those disagreements and getting to the right middle ground is a step in the right direction. we may not get everything i would personally want but we are heading and the legislation and different forms of it generally speaking have the key issues and understand them. as the secretary pointed out we had a chance to talk to members in an unclassified unclassified setting and they take this seriously. there's no doubt in my mind but it is also a difficult piece of legislation because there are different views and you see those in different versions of the bill that are out there. what we are trying to do -- what i can do is help educate people and what it means, we can help educator everyone on the civil liberties group privacy and we need to do that. we need to address that head on and show the american people that we can do both.
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and i think we do a good job protecting civil liberties and privacy. the information sharing is one that everybody agrees we have to set up. the hard part is going to be what do you mean by setting standards and how do you do that? that is a tough part because industry and everybody has got some thoughts on that. that is the part that we have to work our way through. i see a need for that. that is why i point to the institute and it is worth looking at and what is the right starting point? that make sense? >> katherine harris, fox news channel. does that hold the date of american citizens? >> no.
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i can't go into all the details of the data center. we don't hold data on u.s. citizens. one of the things from my perspective that is grossly misreported is everybody says you grab all the e-mails and put them down some place in the united states. we don't do that. think of the volume of u.s. e-mails statistically just one minute. we are talking about probably forty trillion e-mails the year or more. anybody read -- thing about how that is. let me go back to the mission. foreign intelligence. with a focus on counterterrorism our mission is to protect this country from things like 9/11. look what happened in world war
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ii as you mentioned. inga -- in a guerrilla --enigma. red and purple. i have the privilege of working with nsa. they take your civil liberties and privacy as the most important thing they do in securing this nation so when people show up they have all this stuff at the new data center. that is baloney. we need people to know is not true. as secretary wolfowitz said, every time some bees says something bad about me or the agency at don't go public. eyewall not say what we're
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doing in utah. that would give the enemy is an advantage. >> i am from china's inter television. according to american newspapers there are six specially trained cyb cyberwarfare graduates from the school. kind of another evidence of showing what america is doing -- from the general -- to the welfare. what are your comments? another question. thank you. >> depending our country in cyberspace is one of our most important missions and to assure that we are secure and the president and secretary of state have laid out those limits. in the 2009 speech to white
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house more accurately quoted but there, and was we will respond to those attacks in different forms so from our perspective we need a trained and ready force to defend this country and we are not doing that. it is military and civilian. we have some great technical capabilities here and we have got to set those and we have got to stop the theft of intellectual property and other things that are going on. part of that is setting the defense to do that and part of it is cyberlegislation we just talked about and i think we can fix that. time for one more question. >> over here. >> let me guess. you look familiar. >>:--ellen nakashima with the washington post. you are not interested in
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reading e-mails. --ellen nakash washington post. you are not interested in reading e-mails. what date with you want from the private sector in real time and if you got it what would you do to block an attack or prevent an attack? >> that is the great question and going into that deeper is important. in the interests of making this understandable i will use signature a, signature be and signature see which could be pieces of malware. this is malware that could be courts that they come in on. could be the ip address it comes from or the web site or some combination thereof. what the anti virus world does is map that out and create a signature. let's call that signature a and
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say that you are the power grid. if signature a were to try to get into the power grid we need to know that it was trying to get into the power grid and came from ip address x going to ip address why. we don't need to know that was in the e-mail -- just that it contained signature a. the answer is yes. if we do it at networks speed we can respond to it and those of the authorities and rules we are working through. you have a tremendous ability to help inform the american people in this area. i would offer that many of you could get with companies like mcafee and say how do you do that and what we should do if the power grid -- you could be the financial sector, or government networks if they were attacked what do we do?
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we are not sins sitting in the power grid for the financial sector. we have parts of the government covered. so i don't see and the fbi doesn't see -- somebody has to tell us so that information sharing portion of the legislation is what the internet service providers and those companies would be authorized to share with us at networks speed and it only says signature a, ip address, that is far different from that e-mail coming. it is interesting -- i am not and will it but you could almost see it is interesting to note that a bad guy sent that attack. the issue is what about the good people sending their information? are you reading all those? the answer is we don't need to see any of those. only the ones that had the malware on it. everything else and only the
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fact that it was fair. you didn't have to see any of the or original e-mails and only the ones that had the malware did you need to know that something was going on. does that make sense? [inaudible] >> now requesting is what is the actual event that is occurring? if it is the i s ps is this an attack on the country? if it is an attack and the country would you don't want to do is say there went the power grid and the financial structure. wake up, general alexander, time to go to work. the only workable have for me is going to the hill to explain why we didn't stop it. that will be a full-time job after that. the reality is defend the country in this area will take real time capabilities and sharing and it will take the fbi and the dhs to make that happen
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and the intent would be predators with that occurring now we have a problem that the defense department has to act. dhs is part of that. the fbi is part of that. dot and dt and i and ic have a and that is what we're working through but the key part of that is the legislation so from my perspective helping people understand technically exactly what we are going to do is vital to our future and one that you can help get right. thanks for taking the time today. thank you very much. [applause] >> the senate coming in in about 5 minutes. senators this morning voting on moving ahead with a payroll tax credit. legislation would lower taxes for businesses that hire new
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workers and voting today on a federal judicial nomination for tennessee. live coverage gets underway on c-span2 in just a few minutes. and noon eastern on c-span the house takes up a bill to repeal the 2010 health care law that upheld by the supreme court in june. senator robb portman touched on these issues before the american builders and contractors conference. here is a look. >> we all love this country. the president of this country. i believe he thinks he is doing the right thing but frankly i don't think he gets it. i don't think he understands how the private economy works. the state is doing fine and a real problem is the public economy, needs to have more of a stimulus, indicates the lessons have not been learned. we gave him the ball. the american people gave him the ball at a time when he was inheriting a tough economy. let's be honest. in my view he fumbled the ball. time to give the ball to
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somebody else who has the game plan. who has a strategy to turn things around and understands because he has the experience and the record and the public policy position to do it. that is what i am supporting mitt romney. [applause] some people say this is just a typical recovery after a tough recession. it is not. there is something else going on here and it goes again to the policies that have been put in place that haven't worked and the policies we are not pursuing that we need to that you are advocating in washington today. in 1981 we had a tough recession. a lot of you live through it. the unemployment numbers in 81 were higher than they were in the most recent recession. in that respect it was a deeper recession than the one we are trying to recover from now. let me give you just one statistic that shows the
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difference. at this point after the 1981 recession under ronald reagan's leadership with an aggressive pro jobs agenda we had gained back seven million jobs after the recession. seven million new jobs. think about that. today in the weakest recovery since the great depression we are still down 4.9 million jobs. that is pretty big, isn't it? remember the jobless recovery of 2001-3 after the 2001 recession when no jobs for coming back? at this point we had gained back 400,000 new jobs as opposed to today when we are still down five million jobs. something is not working. time to try something else. and again it goes to the policies that are making it more
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difficult to create jobs. some say the president is not doing enough to create jobs. it is worse than that. will we're doing in washington and what the president and the democrats are advocating is marking -- making it more difficult to create jobs. [applause] we need to follow ronald reagan's example. we need to enact aggressive pro-growth policies to get us out of this mess and that is not more government spending. is not what president obama and the democrats have pursued which is not just more government spending but more regulations, more taxes, more anti business rhetoric, more class warfare. we saw it yesterday. right across the way we have the president telling us the way to get out of the economic problem is to raise taxes on small business owners. some of them are in this room. i think we ought to reform the whole tax code. we shouldn't be debating whether
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to deal with the current code by allowing it to be extended or not. we should have a president who shows leadership who comes to congress and says we need to reform the whole tax code. we need to be sure the economy gets a shot in the arm by lowering the marginal rate. not tax cuts but a revenue neutral approach to tax reform that gives the economy a shot in the arm. economists agree the current code is antiquated and doesn't work for the american worker. our corporate tax cut is a mess. it is the highest corporate rate in the industrialized world right now and we are losing jobs every day. >> the senate continues debate on a one year payroll tax credit that will give tax breaks to companies that hire or increase salaries 2012. the bill would allow business to deduct equipment purchases this
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year. senator is this afternoon before 2:30 on moving the bill forward. also a judicial nomination for the western district of senate -- tennessee. they begin debate in an hour and a half 11:30 eastern with a vote scheduled for new. they recess between 12:30 and 2:15 eastern and they will return and resume debate on the payroll tax credit bill. the house gavels in at noon eastern to begin debate on a bill that would repeal the health care law. live coverage now from the u.s. senate on c-span2. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the world and all that is in it belong to you. you built our earth on the deep waters and laid its foundations in the ocean depths. great and marvelous are your works.
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give our senators this day your hand of mercy, so that they will feel your peace and be guided by your wisdom. remind them that their value comes not only in actions in the work arena, but also in reflection and meditation and prayer when they are not on capitol hill. keep them close to you and constantly aware of your abiding spirit in their lives. as they make time for quiet deliberation and circumspection, may they grow in assurance of your power. we pray in your sacred name.
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amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the 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 clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., july 10, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 341, s. 2237.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 341, s. 2237, a bill to provide a temporary income tax credit for increased payroll and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, the next hour will be equally divided between democrats and republicans. we will -- the majority will control the first half, republicans the final half. at 11:30 today, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of john fowlkes to be united states district judge for the western district of tennessee. then there will be a roll call vote on nomination of that confirmation. the senate will then recess from 12:30 until 2:15 p.m. to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. at approximately 2:25 then, there will be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to s. 2237, which is the small business jobs and tax relief act. yes, 3364 is at the desk and is due for a second reading, i'm
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told. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for a second time. the clerk: s. 3364, a bill to provide an incentive for businesses to bring jobs back to america. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any further proceedings with respect to this bill at this time. the presiding officer: the objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that interns in senator bingaman's office be granted floor privileges during today's session. sara rasmussen, edmond reyes, emily schwab. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i also ask, mr. president, unanimous consent that staff of the finance committee be allowed today to have floor privileges. jeffrey arnold, amanda chapman,
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salina christman, arun dogo, farrah friesz, pete markinson, christopher tosovicz, daniel herring. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, my republican colleagues made a good talk on taxes, but democrats' record of cutting taxes for small businesses speaks louder than republicans' rhetoric. since president obama took office, taxes have been cut for small businesses 18 times. today he will advance a plan to cut taxes for small firms for the 19th time in just three and a half years. small businesses jobs and tax relief act would put money back in the coffers of true job creators. under our plan, business owners
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will hire new workers or give raises to current employees who get a 10% tax credit. our legislation would also cut taxes on firms that invest in new development, allowing more than two million businesses to grow faster. these two proposals will create almost a million new jobs. economists from across the political spectrum agree this is the most effective way to give the economy a badly needed boost. so my republican colleagues want their records to match their rhetoric, they will end their filibuster on this worthy measure, and a vote to support the real job creators, businesses that grow and hire. unfortunately, our republicans agree we should cut taxes, their approach is completely different than ours. congressional republicans want to lavish huge across-the-board tax breaks on billionaire hedge fund managers and people like megarich celebrities like donald trump. unlike our proposal, the republican plan which passed the house of representatives wouldn't do a thing to encourage hiring. more than 99% of business in
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america would qualify for this extravagant tax break. even if they don't create a single new job or raise wages for one solitary employee. in fact, fabulously rich so-called small business owners like kim kardashian and paris hilton could qualify for these wasteful giveaways. even though 3/4 of americans oppose tax breaks for the wealthiest few, nearly half the benefits of this $46 billion proposal would go to millionaires and billionaires. mr. president, we democrats want to cut taxes for small businesses, but the republicans' alternative which passed the house of representatives is simply the wrong way to do it. mr. mcconnell: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: last friday morning, the american people woke up to the news that the economy is on life support. the first response of the president of the united states was that we're headed in the right direction. the president says we're headed in the right direction. now, just think about that for a second. the president's first reaction to the news that more americans signed up for disability last month than got jobs was to flash a thumbs up and head back to the campaign trail, just like his first reaction to a question about the economy at a recent white house press conference was to say that the private sector is doing just fine. well, obviously, answers like that just aren't going to cut it. the president's advisors must be telling him that much, so yesterday the president, the man at the wheel, changed his tune by doing his washington best to change the subject.
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for three and a half years, this white house has shown an utter lack of imagination when it comes to jobs and the economy. if the solution doesn't involve more government, they're not interested. that's all they have got. so yesterday, the president went back to the same well one more time. after three and a half years of more government, more debt, more spending, more taxes, more regulations, he demanded even more. yesterday, the president issued an ultimatum. raise taxes on about a million business owners to fund more government, and i won't raise taxes on the rest of you. raise taxes on about a million business owners and i won't raise taxes on the rest of you. that was his considered response to this crisis. now, let's leave aside for a
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second the complete and total absurdity of raising taxes on job creators in the middle of what some are calling the slowest recovery ever. leave that aside and ask yourself a more fundamental question -- whose money is it in the first place? whose money is it in the first place? i mean, why should small businesses be put on the defensive about keeping money they worked for and earned? it seems like every day for the past three and a half years we have woken up to stories about waste and abuse and government. whether it's a bankrupt solar company or the $800,000 party some government agency threw for itself or this week's report that we overspent on unemployment benefits by about $14 billion. as far as i'm concerned, there shouldn't even be a debate here. the government doesn't need any more money. it's government that should be answering to us for the tax dollars it's wasted and
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misdirected. it's the president who should be on the defensive. he's the one who pledged he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term but doubled it instead. he's the one who spent the first three and a half years of his administration shattering spending records. and now he wants us to believe that he will direct new tax revenue toward tackling the deficit? look, yesterday's announcement was many things, but let's be honest, it wasn't a plan for deficit reduction. and it sure wasn't a plan for job creation. first and foremost, it was a distraction. by any standard, the president has a nightmarish economic record, a nightmarish economic record. by demanding higher taxes on the few, he's trying to direct
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attention from it. second, it's deeply ideological. the president has already admitted that the last thing you do in the middle of a recession is raise taxes. he knows yesterday's proposal would only make the economy worse. he knows that. his goal isn't jobs. it's income redistribution. it's his idea of fairness, which means you earn, he takes. his definition of fairness means you earn and he takes. and third, it's purely political. the president's top priority for the last year hasn't been creating jobs. it's been saving his own. let me say that again. the top priority of the president in the last year hasn't been creating jobs for anybody else. it's saving his own job. and his advisors seem to think if they create enough scapegoats
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, he will slip by in november. that's why he spent the past year trying to convince the public that somehow his predecessor is more responsible for the economic failures of the past three and a half years than he is. all the bailouts and the trillions in borrowed money, and the government takeover of health care, and the onslaught of bureaucratic red tape and regulations are somehow irrelevant to the fact that we're mired in the slowest economic recovery in modern times. that we're just one more stimulus away from an economic boom. that the fact that we've had unemployment above 8% for 41 straight months has nothing to do with the policies he put in place in his first two years in
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office. that all these massive pieces of legislation he touted were somehow hugely historic, and yet at the same time completely unrelated to the joblessness, uncertainty and decline we've seen almost every day since. it's this kind of economic thinking that leads to the kind of proposal the president announced yesterday which says that a tax hike is harmful to middle-class earners but somehow meaningless for the 940,000 business owners who will get slammed by this tax hike, as well as all the other tax hikes the president has in store for them at the end of this year. the sad truth is the president isn't just ignoring the economic problems we face, he's exacerbating them, and he's running us head-long into the cliff that's fast approaching in
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january. now, frankly, it's hard to imagine a president deliberately doing all these things he knows will only make things worse, but that's where we are, and now it's incumbent on the rest of us to outline a better path, and& that's what we support, commonsense pro-growth policies that liberate the private sector, starts by repealing a health care law that's stifling businesses, by ending the senseless regulations that are crushing businesses, by ending the threats of tax hikes on businesses that can't afford them, and by putting our faith in free enterprise over the dictates of a centralized government. in the obama economy, we need policies that are designed to create jobs, not destroy them. no one should see an income tax
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hike next year, no one. not families, not small businesses, no one. we should extend all income tax rates while we make progress on fundamental tax reform. it's time to put the failed policies of the past three and a half years aside and try something else. washington has done enough damage to the economy already. let's focus on the kind of pro-growth jobs proposals that the republican-led house has already passed. and above all, let's do no harm. it's time to give the private sector and the innovators and the workers who drive it a fighting chance. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the following hour will be equally divided and controlled by the two leaders or their designees with the majority controlling the first half and the republicans controlling the final half. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: it's been three years, three years since my colleague from kentucky who just spoke announced to america that his highest priority as a senate leader was to make sure that-bedroom was a one -- that barrack obama was a one-term president. since then we've seen a record number of republican filibusters on the senate, broken all records in terms of efforts to stop even to allow a vote on the priorities of the obama administration. and then for the republican leader to come to the floor and bemoan the fact that president has not done more suggests that he believes we're victims of
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political amnesia, and we're not. we know when the president came with a stimulus bill, when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, that's what we were losing the month the president was sworn in, he came with a stimulus bill to turn the economy around to give tax breaks to businesses and individuals, we ebbed ended up getting three republicans who would join us over the objection of their leadership. we needed those three to break the republican filibuster on the president's effort to get the economy moving forward again. and when it came time for health care reform, senator baucus, chairman of the finance committee, invited the republicans in to sit down and construct a bipartisan bill with us and they walked away. they walked away. and then started a republican filibuster against any change in health care reform. do you remember the republican alternative for health care reform? of course you don't because there wasn't any. they didn't have a bill. they didn't have a good idea.
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they were just here to say no. and to use their filibuster to achieve it. the story is repeated over and over again, trying to rein in wall street greed so we don't go through another recession like the one we're living through now, not a single republican would step up and support that, not one and we faced a republican filibuster again. so for the republican leaderdom to come to come to the floor and bemoan certain things have not come here is to ignore the reality his priority was to make barrack president obama a one term president. now tax cuts. what president obama said yesterday, your first $250,000 in income, your first $250,000 will continue to receive a good tax break. there will be no increase in taxes on your first $250,000 in income. now, for 98% of americans,
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that's great. because they make less than $250,000, so they're not going to see any tax increase by the president's proposal. but for the 2% who make more than $250,000, the president's suggestion was let's go back to the tax breaks for that money earned over 250, go back to the tax breaks of the clinton years which was a time of dramatic economic expansion and the last time, the last time we in washington balanced a budget. that's not a radical idea. it's a sensible idea and you can't come to the floor of the senate day after day and week after week posing for holy pictures about dealing with the deficit, the debt, the deficit, and then when you suggest raising taxes this much on 2% of the american people, to say, oh, that's just unacceptable. the only way to reach fiscal stability and deal with the deficit ands -- debt and deficit is to put all on the
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table, to make sure spending as well as revenue are on the table and if we can't touch income over $250,000 for the top 2% of americans, we will never honestly deal with the deficit crisis. the republican leader came to the floor and said, well, last week's employment numbers were not that encouraging and i would join him in saying i wish they were better, too. i'm not going to tell you this is where i want to be but i will say this: for 28 straight months, 28 straight months under president obama we have seen increases in private sector employment. jobs are being lost in the public sector, you know that, being lost back home as state and local governments and others are reducing their%. that's part of it -- payrolls. that's part of it. why we haven't seen more fulsome growth but private-sector job growth has continue forward 28 straight months and for the republican leader to suggest the president took this news and
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then went out on the campaign trail, he forgot something. last friday president barack obama signed the bipartisan transportation bill, a bill that will create and keep two million americans working in this country, building the infrastructure that we need, a bill we've been waiting for three years and the president signed it. i'm glad he did. helps kwreu8 and -- illinois and helps the nation. we can do more things to help get this economy moving forward. the first thing i'd like to see is the republicans to end their filibuster against the small business bill we have before us today. what does this bill do? this bill says to small businesses across america we will give you a tax credit if you will create jobs or if you will expand your payroll. a tax credit and we will give you a quicker depreciation on those items of equipment, technology, and capital that you purchase now.
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this would be a shot in the arm, it's a recipe every republican has sworn to grover norquist they're going to stand by hell or high water to cut taxes, cut taxes on small businesses so they create jobs. give them a break to buy equipment so that they can depreciate it more quickly and create the jobs of those supplying them. what's wrong with this notion? it's supposed to be the republican credo, cut taxes. and for small business. can't we agree on that? no. we're facing a republican filibuster on that, too. well, it's an illustration in my mind of an example of a bill that can move us forward with a million new jobs. why won't the republicans join us on this? well, because they've said over and over again they want this president to be a one-term president. they don't want success. they don't want job creation on his watch. they want as miserable a record as they can produce to take into the november election. one republican senator said two
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weeks ago in the press i hope the defense contractors start laying people off with the prospects of spending cuts and the sooner the better. he said don't wait until after the election, do it now. how can you say that when you face these abortion and their families? we don't want anyone laid off. we want people to have an opportunity to work good-paying jobs. i think we understand what we face today. we have 20 come together as a nation with solutions that aren't part of the presidential campaign rhetoric. i served on the simpson-bowles commission, i didn't agree with all of it but a responsible way to move forward on deficit reduction but we also put everything on the table in terms of deficit reduction. and we conceded the fact we can't start the cutting that's needed until we bring ourselves strongly out of this recession. we are moving forward on that path. it is time for us to continue that movement forward on a bipartisan basis. i'm asking for somebody to throw
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open the windows and bring in fresh air in the senate this afternoon when we vote on the small business tax credits to create more jobs across america. i'm asking the republicans to join us. this is not about president obama. this is about america, its workers, its families, and our economy. >> if there was ever a time we should come together on a bipartisan basis, knock down the republican filibuster, bring this bill to the floor, let's do our very best to create jobs and move this country forward. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: mr. president, i rise once again to discuss the production tax credit for wind energy and i want to urge all of my colleagues to extend it as soon as possible. i've been coming to the senate floor on an ongoing basis to highlight the tremendous growth of the wind energy industry from
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colorado to texas to pennsylvania. and today i want to talk about the future of clean energy jobs in the great state of rhode island. if you look around our country, mr. president, we find success stories everywhere. and wind energy is a bright spod spot for communities across america. which supports good manufacturing jobs in places like the united states and rhode island, and this despite the great recession. rhode island has dedicated itself to building a clean energy future, a key part of which is offshore wind energy. the entire eastern seaboard has massive offshore wind potential, and rhode island is one of the first states to begin construction on a project off of its coast. and if you look at the chart here, mr. president, you see the potential for job creation. and you also see that rhode island is on track to meet 75% of its energy needs through
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offshore wind development. rhode island has been the beneficiary of a number of companies located -- locating themselves there but one in particular i want to call attention to, t.p.i. composites. it's been manufacturing wind turbine blades in warren, rhode island for years and this decision to move to warren was a good one for t.p.i. because rhode island is known for its manufacturing acumen and the good-paying jobs have been a result of t.p.i.'s locating itself in warren, rhode island. in fact, i would also mention that president obama just paid a visit to a t.p.i. facility in iowa last month. t. poomplet i. has opened a facility also, mr. president, just across the rhode island state line in fall river, massachusetts that will also focus on development and manufacturing of wind blades for offshore wind turbines but i
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want to return to the reason i'm coming to the floor of the senate on a baildalely basis. with the looming expiration of wind tax credit, orders have been dropped and t.p.i. has been forced to cut its work force by 15% and its new facilities in fall river sits idle as new wind blade development has been put on hold. that's why i keep coming to the floor because we need to pass an extension of the wind production tax credit. it equals jobs, we need to pass it as soon as possible. mr. president, this is a travesty that we have not extended the wind production tax credit, particularly in a time when we still need to create more jobs and i know that two senators from rhode island agree with me, communities like warren, rhode island have benefited from the growth in the wind energy industry, but they're still hurting because of the great recession and our failure to act is making things
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worse. we face a stark choice, mr. president. we can let the p.t.c. expire and continue to lose good-paying rhode island jobs or invest in america's future and take advantage of a manufacturing sector that's poised to expand. the development of offshore wind is coming to the eastern seaboard, and the opportunities for american manufacturers like t.p.i. to grow their business and beat our international competitors are within our grasp. there is so much more economic growth possible if we could simply extend the t.p.c. but our inaction is stunting the growth of this important industry today and that's why i urge my colleagues to join us in extending the wind p.t.c. as soon as possible. mr. president, i'm really pleased that my colleagues from rhode island who of course know their home state better than i could hope to have joined me,
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senator reed and senator whitehouse. they know the difficult economic challenges their state state has faced and how important the production tax credit is to jobs in their state. they they have spent their public service careers fighting for the middle class, fighting for policies that create good-paying american-based jobs, and i'm very much interested in hearing what they have to say on this important subject. so, mr. president, as my colleagues have come to expect, i'll be back on the floor tomorrow talking about the wind p.t.c. every day until we pass the extension of it. thank you, mr. president. i look forward to hearing from my colleagues from the state of rhode island. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. i want to commend senator udall for his leadership on this very important issue. i also want to commend my colleague, senator whitehouse, who has been extraordinarily effective as a national leader on energy policies and ocean policies. we are, as senator udall pointed
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out, at a very critical moment. nationally with the support of the wind production tax credit or the p.t.c., nearly 500 facilities across 44 states manufacture components for wind energy -- for the wind energy industry. these products are critical to our future. the u.s. content of wind turbines installed in the united states has grown from 25% prior to 2005 to 60% today, according to the american wind energy association, so we're actually seeing a situation in which american components are displacing foreign components in wind turbine facilities that are being deployed here in the united states, and that is an encouraging sign because it means more jobs in manufacturing, it means more american content in products that will be purchased by americans. this is fundamentally premised on the availability of the p.t.c., and so we have to maintain it. if we do not, then we're, again,
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at the mercy of world markets in which we know and we suspect very -- suspect, let me say, that there are countries that are supporting directly and indirectly their wind energy sectors very aggressively. we need comprehensive reform of our tax code. that will be discussed, i'm sure, in the months ahead, but we can't forget that this production tax credit for wind credit and other clean energy resources supports many manufacturing jobs across the country. it saves money for middle-class families and it increases our global competitiveness. and so as we think about the tax program, we also have to think about those programs that produce jobs. this program is one of those job-producing tax provisions. we in rhode island have taken steps, as senator udall alluded to, to try to position ourselves to be in the forefront of wind production, particularly offshore wind production.
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due in part to strong state policy, i will commend my colleagues at the state government, we rank fifth in the country, according to the american council for energy-efficient economy in terms of their annual energy efficiency scorecard. our utility, national grid, our state leaders are taking very aggressive steps to lower the amount of energy that we use, which helps us in terms of our competitiveness across the globe and with other states in the country. we have also, as i said, tried to be a leader in offshore wind for obvious reasons. senator udall had a map of rhode island. we are the ocean state. we are linked to the ocean, inextricably and historically. so offshore wind is something that could be a huge benefit not only to ourselves but to our region. quonset point, a naval base that was closed in the 1970's but fortunately due to the work of our predecessors became the site
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of a submarine construction, but now it can be the site of the fabrication of turbines because of our access to the point, because of the investments we made in terms of cranes, because of the investment we have made in shoring up the docks and the bulkheads. so we are positioned, we hope, to go ahead and be a leader in the nation and in the world in the assembly and fabrication of ocean wind turbines. now, part of this is not just the manufacturing expertise. part of it is also the fact that we have done the fundamental environmental work necessary to make sure that this economic development is environmentally sound, as well as economically sound. our local leaders have created an -- a special area management plan or ocean samp which
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essentially is zoning for the proper placement of wind turbines in the ocean. it takes into consideration geology, takes into consideration tides, takes into consideration fishing patterns, takes into consideration recreational use of the waters. they have come up with a very sophisticated plan, so we are well positioned to start creating this offshore wind production facility with the jobs onshore. and also as my colleague from colorado has pointed out, we have companies in the state that are leaders worldwide. t.p.i. is one of them. it started as a boat builder. it used fiberglass to fabricate hulls for boats. it was sophisticated, it was state of the art. but then they shifted several years ago because they saw the direction of this wind power development worldwide and they started producing fiberglass blades for wind power. they have a wonderful facility in warren, rhode island, and
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they are on the verge of expanding, but again, as my colleague has pointed out, because of the uncertainty of the tax credit and because of many other factors, they have been able -- unfortunately, they have had to reduce some of their work force. we want to see them start growing again. we want t.p.i. to be as it is a world leader in the production of this type of technology. it is sophisticated. these are good jobs. they are manufacturing jobs. they are american jobs. they are the kind of work that we want to be doing worldwide so that when you go anyplace in the world and you look up, you will see a blade that was made in warren, rhode island, not in someplace else, china or elsewhere. we have a challenge in rhode island, 11% unemployment. so these jobs are the kind of jobs we want not only for the moment but we want for the future, because they are valuable, because they are not just a contribution in the short
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run to putting people to work, but they are a contribution in the long run to our economy, to better use of energy, to better environmental quality, to a host of values that will turn out to be -- to have huge tangible benefits for the people in rhode island and the people of this nation. so, again, let me commend the senator from colorado for his consistent, persistent efforts to ensure that we do not forget the production tax credit, that we are there working hard to ensure that we're able to support american manufacturing. with that, i would yield the floor. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i'm delighted to join my senior senator jack reed on the mark udall national economic tower of the renewable energy production tax credit, and i'm delighted that that daily tour has touched on rhode island today.
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this renewable energy production tax credit is a vital part of our energy security strategy. it is pretty simple. it provides a per-kilowatt-hour corporate tax credit for energy that is produced by various clean energy systems like wind or biomass or hydro or geothermal. it makes a lot of sense, we need to do it. the problem is that it expires at the end of this year. given the way that wind, biomass, solar and other such projects have to be financed in advance and built over time, the market effect of the expiration of this production tax credit at the end of this year is already being felt in projects that are not going forward now or are under a cloud right now because of the uncertainty that we are creating. we know what happens when we allow the production tax credit to fail. the installations of this kind of equipment drop dramatically.
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the department of energy estimates that new wind installations will be virtually nonexistent, nonexistent next year if the production tax credit is allowed to expire. i don't know if there is a state in the union in which people are not seeking to build wind energy to capture this free and abundant resource. all those projects will become nonexistent if this does not continue. it really doesn't make any sense at all. in rhode island, it's particularly important, not only because we don't have a lot of domestic energy sources, so this is a really good one for us as a domestic energy source, but also because of the jobs that these projects support. you're not supporting international shipping tycoons who bring the oil over here. we're not supporting saudi princes who pump the stuff or other folks from owe peck around the world. we're supporting engineers in america, manufacturers in
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america, assembliers in america, factory workers when we go this route. we have no tolerance for knocking down these jobs. this is not an acceptable energy strategy. it is not an acceptable jobs strategy. it is really self-defeating from america's interests. senator reed mentioned t.p.i. composites. it is a great company. it is in warren, rhode island. in the warren and bristol area, mr. president, there is a real constellation of incredibly talented folks, small companies who are affiliated with the boat building industry. t.p.i. and others do composite work -- hulls, masts, stuff that is light, stuff that is strong, stuff that is fast, stuff that helps rhode island build boats to be the fastest and the best in the world.
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this technology has been transitioned from just plain boat building, hull building to building the giant wind vanes that turn on these giant wind turbines. so this is an important industry for us and it's a valuable american industry. the idea that we burn foreign oil rather than building composite wind vanes in warren, rhode island, makes no sense at all. we're in the process right now of building some offshore wind in rhode island. we're in the final stages of getting the department of interior's approval. senator reed and i worked very hard to get tiger grant funding to our port quonset point where they have hardened up a pier so that a gigantic crane can operate on it. you don't see much on the crane right now. it's just flat. a huge number of very deep piers were dug down, steel was put in,
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concrete was put down. had we driven the crane out on the old pier, it would have crumbled down into the water and taken the crane with it. we had to harden up the pier to put this junior high began trick crane out there. -- this gigantic crane out there. you have got to build them, assemble them shoreside and then barge them out to their location. we can do that now at quonset point. the project is expected to create 600 just jobs. it could expand beyond that and position this rhode island facility as a hub for regional wind energy manufacturing. so this is important to us. we need this production tax credit. it goes along with a long history of government support for emerging industries. when the commercial airline industry was beginning to open up, it had immense government support from subsidized air mail, from military contracts,
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from aeronautics r&d, and the reason that we took it from the wright brothers at kittyhawk to massive boeing factories -- we're still one of the world leaders in aircraft production -- is because along the way the government supported american industry because they knew, we knew this was an industry that had to compete with overseas manufacturers and needed our support. in the same way, the clean energy industry is an arena of international competition in which our country, our companies were competing with foreign interests, were competing with foreign companies and were competing with the foreign governments that back them. unfortunately, for many people in this building, they don't see that. all they see is the old fossil fuel industry, the dirty, polluting fossil fuel industry and competition for the fossil fuel industry from clean energy. so they want to knock it down.
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never mind that the well-established fossil fuel industries get far more in terms of government support than emerging clean energy technologies. the environmental law institute points out that the u.s. has invested almost six times more in subsidies for fossil fuel from 2002-2008 than we did in renewable energy. so it's not like their hands are clean of government support. they are here sucking up all the government subsidies that they can. they just don't want clean energy to compete with them. they want to knock it down. that is a terrible mistake. we cannot allow the heavy hand of the fossil fuel industry lobbyists to stamp out competition in clean energy. it may be good for big oil but it is not good for america, because we are in international competition to lead the world and be the manufacturer of wind, of solar, of geothermal and other technologies. we're going to end up buying this tough. we want to also have built it.
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if we can, we want to be exporting it as well, so we need to support these industries as they continue to develop and continue to grow so that we can once again lead the world as we have in the past. i want to thank again senator udall of colorado for his leadership on this. he persistently and patiently comes every day to help make this point. i'm delighted that he happened to choose rhode island as his point of focus today because rhode island really does wrap it up. it is energy security, energy independence, local jobs, and getting ahead and winning the game of international competition for this new technology. i thank the chair and i -- before yielding the floor will ask that four unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate be approved, they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders, so may i ask
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unanimous consent that the requests be agreed to and the requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: mr. president, i didn't come to the floor to speak about the wind energy tax credit but i want to say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle i agree with them and they probably know i agree with them because i'm the author of the wind energy tax credit of 1992 and i often tell people when we worked so hard on that i didn't have the slightest idea that it would turn out to be such a big thing that iowa would be second in wind -- wind energy production in the nation, i think texas is number one. and for sure i didn't know that we would have manufacturing in our state as a result of it and we've had companies come from spain, from -- from germany, and then we've had from colorado or arizona component manufacturers have come to iowa
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and there's about 4,000 people, maybe 5,000 people employed in my state in that. so i hope that we can get it reauthorized. mr. whitehouse: would the senator yield for a question on that? mr. grassley: yes. mr. whitehouse: i not only salute what you've done on the production tax credit but one of our rhode island companies developing bioprocessed algal fuels have opened a facility in your state and there is a very good rhode island-iowa connection on the development of algal fuels and i appreciate the fact that our states work together so this rhode island company can voo such a significant facility in iowa. mr. grassley: i believe for the senator from rhode island, i believe that rhode island facility went to an existing ethanol plant in shenandoah, iowa in southwest iowa. folks, i have come to the floor
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to speak about the issue of taxes that is now a big issue, and not about the issue that the majority will set before the senate to talk about today and tomorrow and however long it takes. but the issue that we heard from president obama yesterday, talk about the need to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000. we heard this from him again just yesterday, as we did last year quite a bit and the year before quite a bit when he spoke in support of increasing taxes on the so-called wealthy. in his speech yesterday, he made the following points, that those making under $250,000 deserve certainty and they deserve it now. another point is that it's okay to increase taxes on small business owners making more than
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$250,000 because those tax increases would affect less than 3% of the small business owners. another point, that those making more than $250,000 aren't paying their fair fair share. and another point, that we can't afford to extend the 2001 and 2003 bipartisan tax relief to these households because of the impact on the deficit. and lastly, that if congress sent him a bill to extend the 2001 bipartisan tax relief just for those making under $250,000, he would sign the bill into law right away. well, i come to the floor today to highlight what the president is not telling the taxpayers.
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first, on the issue of certainty. the president fails to mention what his plans are for the dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of last year and the dozens more that are expiring at the end of this year. these provisions affect everyone from teachers who dip into their own pockets to purchase school supplies to families and students struggling to pay for higher tuition. they also include key incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and engage in research to produce the products of tomorrow. the president also failed to mention what he would do about the alternative minimum tax that threatens an ever-increasing number of middle-class americans each year, the same middle
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class that the president is telling the world that he wants to protect. and nothing wrong with protecting the middle class. over the past several years, legislation was enacted in regard to the alternative minimum tax to avoid and avert this crisis happening to the middle class, and we did it through a series of patches to increase the exemption amount so these 30 million middle-class taxpayers aren't hurt with the alternative minimum tax. now, the president also fails to mention whether he continues to support the middle-class tax increases that he included in his budget proposal. this is how the president proposes to tax the middle class. would he reinstate the personal
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exemption phaseout and the peas limitation on itemized deductions. additionally would he impose a new 28% limitation on itemized deductions? each thieves productions come with their own income thresholds and phaseout rules that increase complexity and increase taxpayer burden. finally, the president fails to mention the tax increases he supported to pay for the health care reform legislation. these provisions include a bigger haircut on the deductions for medical expenses, lower contribution amounts for flexible savings accounts and taxes on artificial knees and hips that medical device manufacturers have to pass on to
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the patients. given all of the looming tax increases that the president failed to mention in his speech yesterday, it's difficult to see how extending just the 2001 and 2003 bipartisan tax relief provides certainty to taxpayers, including small business. the president agrees that they are job creators and engines of our economy. so the president recognizes a fact of life, that middle-class small business people are job creators. unfortunately, he defends his tax increase this way on small businesses by claiming that the impact will be minimal because only 2% to 3% of the small businesses would be subject to this tax increase. now, what the president fails
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to mention is that this 2% or 3% account for a large amount of activity and a large amount of the jobs created. we often talk, people on both sides of the aisle, about small business providing 70% of the new jobs being created in america. now i want to go to the -- to see how the joint committee on taxation, which is a nonpartisan congressional organization -- and i want to emphasize the nonpartisan aspect of this, because we often refer to them as authorities in this area. according to this joint committee, 53% of the flow-through business income would be subject to the president's proposed tax increases. so as i said, 70% of the new jobs created here, but this 2%
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to 3% also accounts for about 25% of all employment in america. the president claims that he wants to give the 97% of small businesses a sense of permanence, yet the tax relief for those in this group is only for another year. now, how do you get permanence if you only want to provide tax policy for one year? it just doesn't add up. the president continues to claim that we cannot afford to extend tax relief for those earning above $250,000 because of our current deficit situation. but he fails to mention any ideas for reducing the deficit by controlling spending or by enacting tax reform, which is the only real way to provide a sense of permanence and eliminate the uncertainty that
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we all agree keeps small and even larger corporations from hiring. at the start of his administration, the president established the simpson-bowles commission to come up with a framework to address our current out-of-control spending, as well as to reform the tax code. the commission issued a report over a year ago that included substantive proposals on how to reform the tax code. there are some things in the simpson-bowles plan that i like and some things that i don't like. i like that it would streamline the tax code, reduce tax rates across the board, broaden the tax base, enhance economic opportunity in the process. at the same time it violates one of my core tenets of tax reform, that it not increase taxes overall but it at
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least -- the simpson-bowles is at least a serious proposal. i think most everybody recognizes that. however, the president failed to embrace the simpson-bowles plan and offered a token framework for corporate tax reform. while the president agrees that our current corporate tax rate is too high, his framework is overly vague and provides little in the way of simplification. instead, as one commentator put it, his proposal on corporate tax reform simply -- quote -- "rearranges the deck chairs on the titanic" -- end of quote. that being said, at least the president took a position on lowering the corporate tax rate to 28%. this is in stark contrast to his ideas on individual tax reform that he put on the table yesterday. even thinner on details, his
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overarching principle for individual tax reform seems to be the wealthy should pay their fair share. yet after years of talking about the wealthy paying their fair share, he never defines what rate or amount of tax constitutes fair share for individual taxpayers. adopting this rhetoric seems to indicate support using the tax codes to reduce income disparity between the highest and lowest taxpayers. however, data from the nonpartisan congressional budget office -- and again i emphasize "nonpartisan" -- shows the so-called wealthy already pay the bulk of the taxes and that our tax code is highly progressive. i put a chart up here, and this chart will show you that if all
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federal taxes are considered, the top 5% of households pay an average effective rate of about 28%, and account for nearly 45% of all federal receipts. in contrast, the bottom 20%, as you can see, pay an average effective tax rate of about 4% and account for less than 1% of all federal receipts. all federal taxes include income tax, corporate tax, excise, and payroll tax. the disparity is even greater when we only consider individual nea. income taxes. this is a better measure since the president proposes to increase income teasms on the
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so-called wealthy. 23 you look at the chart before you, you will see the bottom 40% of households have an average effective tax rate below zero. in contrast, the top 5% have an average effective tax rate of nearly 18% and account for 61% of income tax receipts. now, i've highlighted the top 5% of these accounts because these are the households generally earning more than $250,000. in other words, these are the wealthy households, according to the president. now, looking at these numbers, it's fair to ask the president once again to define what he means by fair share. how high is the president willing to raise taxes to meet
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this objective? in other words, if this 5% is paying 61% of all the income tax receipts, how much more do they have to pay to satisfy the president that they're paying their fair share? in other words, define fair share. i've always stated that taxpayers should pay what they owe, not one penny more, not one penny less. anyone who looks at my record will see that i have fought long and hard to shut down loopholes and ensure taxpayers of all incomes pay what they legally owe. however, i hold a fundamentally different view from the president on how the economy works and what the government's role should be and the rate of taxation in contributing to government's role in enhancing
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the economy. i believe that the money one earns is that individuals, not a pittance that a taxpayer can keep based upon the good graces of the government. i generally believe that individuals have the right to enjoy the fruit of their success. i believe that all -- that the best way to increase wealth and livelihood of all americans is through pro growth policies that increase the size of the economic pie, not by redistributing the pie based on some unspecified definition of fairness. i believe that 18% of the gross domestic product of this country is good enough for the government to correct and spend. that's been pretty much that way over a 50-year average of taxes.
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that benchmark of 18% is what the government has collected consistently, regardless of the statutory tax rates, whether they have been high or low. generally, it brings in about the same amount of money. in other words, just because you raise tax rates on so-called wealthy people does not necessarily mean that we get the influx of revenue that some believe that we will get. and so this is obviously something that the president has not considered, and so as i have often done in recent years, i come to the floor to tell you that we still end up with about the same amount of money, regardless of what the effective tax rate is. because higher income individuals generally have a greater ability to choose the form of income they will receive. they also have a greater ability to decide when they will
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recognize this income, such as through the sale of stock in a way to limit their taxable income in a given year. they also have accountants and attorneys to help them legally shield income from the view of the i.r.s. as taxes go up, so does the incentive then to reduce one's income through legal and nonlegal means. i have a chart here that shows annual revenues as a percent of gross domestic product in relationship to top marginal tax rates. this is in a period of time since world war ii. so getting back to what i previously said over a long period of time, the revenue coming into the federal treasury tends to be about the same amount. i think this average out about 18.2% of g.d.p. but you can see during the
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eisenhower years, the marginal tax rate was 90%. then starting with kennedy, it became 70%. and then starting with reagan, it became 50%. and then starting with reagan once again, it came down to 30%. and then when bush the father didn't keep his promise, read my lips, no new taxes, he gave in on that and went back to 40%. and now under the 2001-2003 tax bills, it's at 35%. of course, this is what the president says needs to be raised back to this level here. but as this chart shows, you can have high marginal tax rates, low marginal tax rates, but the people of this country have decided that they are going to
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send just so much money to us bums in congress to spend, and so they decide how much we're going to get, and you can raise marginal tax rates. you can do what first president bush did now, but you're still going to get about the same amount of revenue. so i hope that the president takes that into consideration and also considers the negative aspect when marginal tax rates are reduced. what this means is that we're not going to be able to tax our way to surpluses. we're going to have to make substantial adjustments on the spending side to bring in line with revenues. in other words, the bottom line of what i'd like to tell the president is that the american people of this country have not come to the conclusion that they are undertaxed.
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they have come to the conclusion that congress spends too much and the problem isn't on the tax side. the problem is on the expenditure side. history also shows the tax increases just lead to spending increases. often on the floor of the senate, i quote a professor better of ohio state university. he studied tax increases and spending for more than two decades. some of his research goes back to world war ii. his most recent work on this subject was with steven moore, published in "the wall street journal," and i quote -- "over the entire post-world war ii era, through 2009, each dollar of new tax revenue has been associated with $1.17 of new spending. so you raise a dollar here and you spend $1.17 over here, it's pretty obvious that bringing in more revenue isn't going to reduce the deficit.
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another study, this one by the national bureau of economic research, states that when it comes to fiscal adjustments -- quote -- "those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over gross domestic product ratios than those based upon tax increases. in addition, adjustments on the spending side rather than on the tax side are less likely to create a recession, end of quote. so we know that increasing taxes, including on targeted groups, is not going to reduce the deficit. american workers and businesses deserve tax reform and tax certainty. there is bipartisan agreement that we need comprehensive tax reform. what we need to get that done is real leadership, to be sure.
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lack of leadership is not because of a lack of interest. the senate finance committee, which i serve on, has held more than a dozen tax reform hearings during this congress. the senate budget committee has also held tax reform hearings. what has been lacking is what's so important in this town, presidential leadership. the president's speech yesterday was just that -- a speech. as i outlined, he spoke only about extending certain tax relief measures, preserves earning under $250,000. however, he failed to address other looming tax increases and failed to discuss how his other tax increase proposals provide the certainty that he claims he wants to provide. it's easy for the president to engage in election year antics and goad congress to send him a
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bill. unfortunately, that's not leadership, and such speaks do nothing to help -- such speaks do nothing to help individuals and small businesses. if the president really was concerned about preventing tax increases on middle class and small businesses, he would at least be working with leaders in his own party to make sure that they all agreed on who the wealthy in this country really are and who ought to have their taxes increased, because democratic leaders in the house and senate have singled that they support extension of lower income tax rates for those making up to a million dollars. in fact, a year ago this week, here in the senate, we were debating the majority party's --quote, unquote -- millionaire tax resolution. so if the president really wanted congress to send him a bill that provided certainty to
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the taxpayers, he would make it a priority to get it done. unfortunately, he is busy traipsing around the country, raising money for his reelection. that is not leadership and is certainly not going to provide timely tax relief to the millions of taxpayers who need it. i yield the floor. i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i'd ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, john thomas fowlkes jr. of tennessee to be united states district judge for the western district of tennessee. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 30 minutes of debate, equally divided in the usual form, sir. mr. leahy: i see the distinguished senior senator from tennessee on the floor and i will make sure that he has plenty of time to speak. if not, i will ask consent for are extra time for him. i am worried, however, and i say this knowing of the strong support of the senator from tennessee for john fowlkes jr.,
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i am concerned that senate republicans are falling through on their opposition -- partisan opposition to the president by seeking to slam the door on consensus nominees who have bipartisan support. and take advantage of the delaying tactics they've been deploying for three and a half years. it may seem like good political partisan sense to try to block president obama at each step of the way on judges but it hurts the american people and all americans, republicans and democrats. the american people and the overburdened federal courts need are qualified judges who can administer justice. they're not helped by partisan games. when people go into a court they don't care whether it's democrats or republicans. they just want the court to be there, their taxes are paying for them. they want to have judges there.
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you know, we followed the most extended period of high early -- high vacancy rates, the most extended period of high vacancy rates in the his of our district courts. nearly one in every 11 federal judgeships remains vacant because of the slowdown tactics of the republicans here in the united states senate. thus more than twice the vacancy rate by this date during the first term of president bush's term. look at this, mr. president. taking the first four years of president bush's term. and we started with very high vacancy rates in that because republicans had blocked so many of president clinton's nominees. when i came in for part of that time i was chairman of the committee, i said notwithstanding what they did to president clinton, let's not do
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that because it hurts the american people, it hurts the federal courts so i worked very hard to bring the vacancy rate down and look how we brought it down. way, way, way down. from well over a hundred down to 28. you would think having done that to help out a republican president, we would have the same kind of help from the republicans. but, no, they blocked and blocked and blocked president obama's nominees. it's a stark contrast this chart shows the way in which it moved with judicial vacancies during the last republican presidency. the chart shows the senate can do better because it has done better. during president bush's first term we reduced the number of judicial vacancies by almost 75%. as soon as i became chairman in the summer of 2001 there were
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110 vacancies. as chairman i worked with the bush administration and senators from both sides of the aisle to confirm 100 judicial nominees of a conservative presidential -- by a republican president in 17 months. then we were back in the minority, we continued to work with senate republicans and we confirmed president bush's consensus judicial nominees well into 2004 which was a presidential election year. at the end of that presidential term we acted to confirm 205 circuit district court nominees. 100 of them during the 17 months i was chairman and another 105 during the 31 months republicans had the chairmanship. we reduced judicial vacancies to 29. by comparison, vacancies long remain near above 80, while little comparative progress was
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made during the first years of president obama's first term. therethere are more than two ane half times the number of vacancies at this point during president bush's first term. each day senate republicans refuse because of its political agenda -- blocking president obama -- when they refuse to confirm these qualified judicial nominees who have been reviewed and voted on often unanimously by the judiciary committee, it is another day a judge could have been working to administer justice. hardworking and hard-pressed americans shouldn't have to wait years to have their cases decided. in my state of vermont, we expect to be able to come into a court and have our cases heard, not be asked whether it was a republican or democratic president when that judge was appointed but know the courts are sitting. just as it is with the economy with jobs, the american people do not want to hear excuses
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about why republicans in congress would not help them to reduce these vacancies. they do not want to hear that the supposed justification is partisan, especially when dealing with the nonpartisan judiciary. precisely those arguments are precisely why congress's approval rating among the american people is so low. the nonpartisan congressional research service's recent report confirms what i said. i prepared this chart taken from the c.r.s. report. it shows the amount of time the circuit court nominees face when president reagan was president, when george h.w. bush was president, when bill clinton was president, when george w. bush was president, and then look what it is. what is so different about this president that his judicial nominees are treated so differently than all the presidents before him, republicans or democrats alike?
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it shows the nominees had to wait before the senate, skyrocketed why 18 days for president bush's nominees to 132 days for president obama's. those interested in a tennessee nominee will remember how hard we had to work for almost ten months even though we had the strong support of senator alexander and senator corker to get senators to consider the nomination of a judge to the sixth circuit. republican senators tried to take credit for the senate having reached what they regard as their quota for circuit nominations this year, that they should remember the senate would not even have had an up-or-down vote on three of the five of them without the majority leader first having to file for cloture to overcome republican blocks. the senate has yet to vote on a single circuit court nominee nominated by president obama this year.
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since 1980, the only presidential election year in which no circuit nominee who was nominated that year and confirmed that year was in 1996. senate republicans did the same thing. they shut down the process against president clinton's circuit nominees. the fact that that nominees should have been confirmed are still waiting for a vote after the 4th of july is no excuse for not moving forward this month to confirm nominees who were voted out of the committee with bipartisan support. the american people are waiting for justice. they do not care about excuses. they don't care about some false sense of selling political scores. they want justice, just as they want action on measures the president has suggested would help the economy create jobs. rather than political calculations about who we help the most, republican or democrat candidate in the elections in
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november. mr. president, courts are supposed to be nonpartisan. people expect nonpartisan justice. what appears to be happening by these unprecedented stalling tactics is making the whole judiciary system partisan. i hope the republicans will reconsider their ill-conceived partisan strategy and work with us to meet the needs of the american people. there is no reason the senate can't vote to confirm the other 15 well-qualified judicial nominees reported by the committee, some of the best i've seen in my 37 years in the senate. there is no reason why we can't work together to help solve the problem of high judicial vacancies and better serve the american preponderance. democrats -- the american public. democrats proved they can do that with george w. bush. i wish republicans would return
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the same favor to a democratic president. i will put my full statement in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i see the two distinguished senators from tennessee on the floor. i yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the distinguished chairman of the judiciary committee for his courtesy in allowing senator corker and me a chance to speak about judge fowlkes from tennessee. i don't intend to get into a lengthy dispute for the senator from vermont about the relative merits of the two political parties in approving judges, but i can't -- i do have to admire his persistence and creativity in always coming up with a way in how democrats approve more republican judges than republicans approve democratic judges. i notice that our ranking member, senator grassley, will
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put a statement in the record today making a clear statement about what the record is. today's vote will be the 156th nominee of president obama confirmed to district and circuit judges. we've also confirmed two supreme court nominees during the president's term. the last time was during prep president bush's second term. during president bush's entire second term, the senate confirmed a total of only 119 district and circuit court nominees. with judge fowlkes' confirmation today, we'll have confirmed 33 more district and circuit court nominees for president obama than we did for president bush in similar circumstances. that's according to senator grassley's comments which will be inserted into the record.
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i have to say to my friend from vermont, my memory is good enough that about this time four years ago when we had a republican president, i think i remember the majority leader of the senate, senator reid, and senator leahy both suggesting it is time we slowed things down and not confirm any more circuit judges until we saw how the election came out in november. we're basically, in our opinion, applying in the fairest possible way to the senate the thurmond-leahy rule that has been developed over time. if there are ask excellent nominees by the president to the circuit courts, the election is only four months away. and if he's reelected, they can be confirmed in november and december. if he's not, then his suck -- his successor will have a chance to make those nominations.
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let me speak about a matter that i believe we have great agreement on in the senate among the president, and that is the nomination by the president of judge john fowlkes to fill a vacancy on the united states district court for the western district of tennessee. as the governor of tennessee, i had the responsibility of appointing about maybe 50 judges over eight years. i looked for good intelligence, good temperament, good understanding of the law, respect for those who came before the court. i didn't feel it was my responsibility ever to inquire how a judge might decide on a particular case before he took the position. so i took some time to look into judge fowlkes' background when president obama nominated him. i was delighted with what i found, and i'm pleased to recommend him to our colleagues.
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his performance has been praised throughout his career in the community of memphis and shelby county, where he's best known. his leadership, his citizenship, his high professionalism, his courtesy to others are the words i often hear. i have letters from bar association members who say he has a creative and independent mind. from others in memphis who say his passion about the community in which he lives, appearing at civic events he repeatedly, committing over 50 hours of service annually to the memphis area legal services. active in support of the boy scouts. so, mr. president, it is with great pleasure that i recommend to our colleagues today president obama's nominee of judge john fowlkes as, to fill a vacancy on the united states district court for the western district of tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the junior senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i rise to second what the great senator from tennessee, lamar alexander, has just said. i want to speak for a moment about the same nomination, with the same amount of energy and the fact that i'm very excited about this person being nominated. when the white house began looking for someone to fill this position, i talked to numbers of people down in shelby county about judge fowlkes, and people that i respected, people that have been involved in the community for years -- and i can just tell you from every single person that i talked to, they talked not only about his record, but also the kind of person that he was. he has served in many, many positions. he's been a public defender, a district attorney, a u.s. attorney. he was a chief administrative officer for the largest and most populous county in the state of tennessee. and now he serves as a criminal court judge. at every stop, he's excelled and
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earned a reputation for professionalism and integrity. and i think his experience certainly makes him very well prepared for this position and the responsibilities that he will carry out. so i'm glad to join with senator alexander, with senator leahy and others. i hope we have an overwhelming vote today for this gentleman who i believe is going to be an outstanding federal judge, and i want to -- i want to ask all of my colleagues to join us in supporting this person who, again, i think will be exemplary on the bench as he has been throughout his entire life. with that i yield the floor and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i ask for the yeas and nays on the nominee. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
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the yeas and nays have been ored. mr. leahy: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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