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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 3, 2014 11:30am-1:31pm EST

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you. the presiding officer: the nays are 28 and the motion is flood. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: gerald j. pappert of pennsylvania to be united states district judge for the eastern district of pennsylvania. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 5:30 p.m. will be equally divided in the usual form. the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders and i ask unanimous consent the requests be agreed to and the requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: madam president, next monday will mark four
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months since the president commenced military action in syria and iraq against isil. as of december 2, operation inherent resolve which the administration calls a war on isil has involved more than 1,100 coalition airstrikes in iraq and syria, the vast majority carried out by american airmen and women. the president has authorized currently 1,400 u.s. ground troops who are deployed in iraq to train and advise regional forces. the president has authorized an additional 1,500 u.s. troops to serve in that train and advise capacity. this mast monday, 250 paratroopers from the 82nd airborne decision of fort bragg, north carolina were sent to iraq and the total cost of the operation to the u.s. taxpayers is in excess of $1 billion. there have been three deaths of americans serving in operation inherent resolve. on october 1, marine corporal
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jordan spears of memphis, indiana was lost at sea while conducting flight operations over the persian gulf. on october 23, marine lance corporal sean neil of riverside, california, died in iraq. on december 1, air force captain mcdeboys of new castle, colorado died in iraq. senator king and i visited qatar in october to see the combined air operation center in action and we saw -- i saw many virginians there working with colleagues from all service branches and many other nations in coalition nations that are directing the airstrike campaign. so, madam president, let's not make any mistake about this. america is at war. the number of air and ground troops deployed is steadily creeping upwards every day. our troops are dying. and the fiscal cost to american taxpayers is growing every day. but, madam president, this is a
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most unusual war. while all the activities of war are occurring, there's a strange conspiracy of silence about it in the white house and in the halls of congress. the president has not offered any proposed authorization for the war despite his suggestions that one is needed. congress has not debated on, taken committee action on, or voted on the ongoing war. the house is contemplating ajune for the holidays on december 11 without saying anything about an ongoing war. and because neither the president nor congress has undertaken the necessary public debate over the war, the american public not have had the chance to be fully indicate bed what's at stake and why it's in our interest in to ask our troops to risk their lives thousands of miles away. we owe it to our troops serving abroad, troops who are engaged in war even as we think about
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recessing and leaving washington on december 11 for the holidays, to do our job and to have a debate and vote about the war that our constitution demands. let me make an earnest request to our president and to my colleagues in congress. to the president -- i had previously taken the floor to strongly argue that the president needs new legal authority to conduct the war on isil. when the president spoke to the nation on september 10 he said that he would -- quote -- "welcome a congressional authorization." and on november 5 he affirmatively asserted that a new congressional authorization was needed and that we -- quote -- "engage congress in passing one." but to this date four months after the initiation of war, the administration has not even been willing to present a draft authorization of the mission to congress. in testimony yesterday at the
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armed services committee, no d.o.d. witness could recall a single other instance in which a president told congress of the need for a war but failed to present a proposed authorization spelling out the dimensions of the military mission. instead, the president has persisted in a war that is not within the scope of his article 2 powers, that is not authorized by any treaty obligation, that is not justified under either of the congressional authorizations passed in 2001 or 2002. the president's unilateral action has even extended beyond the 60 and 90-day timing requirements created by the war powers resolution of 1973. and the president's willingness to push a war without engaging congress has even violated his own solemn and wise pronouncement of just one year ago. quote -- "i believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support
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of congress. this is especially true after a decade that put more and more warmaking powers in the hands of the president while sidelining the people's representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force" -- close quote. and so i request our president, make good on your promise to engage congress. do what other presidents have done. demand that we debate and vote on an authorization and that we do it now. the votes are here in this body to support the president. i am a supporter of the need for military action against isil and i know that as a position held by a strong majority of the senate, a strong majority of the house, there is no reason for the president to not demand that we actually have that debate and have that vote. and to my congressional colleagues, i have a similar request. let's not leave this capitol without a debate and vote on
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this war on isil. we've gone four months without any meaningful action about this war. first, we were told that congress would get to it after the murder-term elections. and so we -- midterm elections so we recessed for seven weeks in the middle of a war without saying one thing, shirking our constitutional duties and now many are saying that we need to delay until after new year before having any meaningful discussion of this war. and so the unilateral war would extend to at least five months and in all likelihood longer before congress gets around to any meaningful discussion of the isil threat and what we should do to counter it. giving this president -- giving any president -- a greenlight to wage unilateral war for five or six months without meaningful debate or authorization would be deeply destructive of the legitimacy of the labor of our
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government, it would be deeply disrespectful of our citizens, and it would be especially disrespectful of the troops who are risking their lives every day while we do nothing. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: madam president, senator kaine handgun spoken eloquently about events daff. i'd like to speak for a few moments about events of 200 plus years ago. on tuesday, august 17, 1787, at the constitutional convention in philadelphia, the delegates debated the question of war. they debated it passionately and with a sense of history and human nature. and they understood the propensity of the executive -- any executive throughout
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history, a prince, a king, a potentate, a sultan -- to lead their country into war for good reasons for no good reasons. they understood that this was a basic question before the body, before the constitutional convention. and, madam president, i would assert that the framers knew what they were doing. interestingly, in the first draft of the constitution the clause in article 1 section 8 says congress has the power to declare war says congress shall have the power to make war. that was the first draft. the debate was about whether congress could effectively make and execute war. they wisely, i believe, realized that that was impractical given the nature of congress, the large number of representatives, and the exigencies of war so they left the power to be commander in chief in the commander in chief executive. they also recognized the commander in chief executive's
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inherent power to repel an attack on this country. but in all other cases, what the constitution says is very clear. article 1, section 8, the congress shall declare war. and there was some discussion about this, and some people said, well, we don't want to tie the hands of the executive but others made it more clear. mr. ellsworth of connecticut -- these are from madison's notes, a fascinating source about the history of the constitution. these were the notes taken the day of the debate. tuesday, august 17, 1787. mr. ellsworth of connecticut, it should be more easy to get out of war than into it. he understood this principle. pierce butler of south carolina said the executive should have the power to repel sudden attacks. that's common sense. but then he would religion gerry
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of massachusetts put it succinctly, i never expected to hear in a republic the motion to empower the executive alone to declare war. and that's the fundamental issue that's before us today. and then george mason from virginia later in the debate used a wonderful phrase that i think aptly captured what the framers were after. he said, "i'm for clogging rather than facilitating war." and that's what we're supposed to do, is to debate, discuss and have the people engaged in a discussion before this country is committed to war. now, the constitution in the preamble makes very clear that one of the fundamental purposes of this government, or any government, is to provide for the common defense. nobody questions that. neither senator kaine for myself nor anyone else who's talking about this issue questions, a,
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whether we should be debating this and, b, that it's our solemn responsibility to provide for the common defense. i happen to think, as senator kaine does, that what the -- that the fight against isil is worthy of national attention, worthy of national effort and should be debated and circumscribed through some form of authorization in this body. madam president, there has not been a declaration of war by the congress since 1942. and i'll conclude with the observation that power doesn't spring from one branch of our government to the other overnight or in some flash of inspiration or change. i would argue more aptly, it oozes from one branch to the other. not necessarily through executive usurpation, as through congressional abdication. and for us to go home, to take a recess, to say, "we don't really
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want to be talking about this, we don't want to be responsible for this" i think is unfair to the american people. it's unfair to the people who are being put into harm's way. and it's unfair to the -- and not responsive to the basic principles of the constitution. we owe it to our country to have this debate. and it's one that i believe is important and is constitutionally based. we are very good here in congress about not making decisions and then criticizing the executive for what they do. this is an opportunity where we have the power, the constitutional power and the constitutional responsibility, to discuss, debate and authorize the executive's actions against this terrible thug. i believe that it is our responsibility to do so. to not do so is simply one more sliding away, one more giving
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away of our constitutional authority to the executive that i think is in detriment not only to the constitution itself clearly but also to the interests of the american people. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i note 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 republican whip. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, ever since november 4, this last election some three or so weeks ago, a number of people have speculated what a new majority -- a republican majority of the united states senate would mean. working together with our republicans in the house and
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hopefully with a president who had learned something, had heard the message that the american people were sending him on november 4 because he was the one who said it's his policies that were on the ballot. and i think the vote of the american people was pretty loud and clear what they thought of those policies. so it's pretty clear they want a new direction. i want to just say that when people have asked me what my constituents expect, my 26.5 million constituents in texas, i've said well, they want us to demonstrate we can govern. they want us to demonstrate that we can actually solve some of the problems confronting our country. and they primarily deal with how do we unleash this american economy, get it growing again, creating jobs and opportunities so people can find work, provide
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for their families and pursue their dreams. i actually think that's what the senior senator from new york, senator schumer was saying the other day at the national press club, that we need to focus on the needs of the middle class and the wage earner who has seen stagnant wages and seen their costs, health care, energy and other costs go up and their check shrinking and having to live on less. that's not the american dream that i think most people have bargained for. but the truth is that no political party, no branch of the government can govern on its own. the fact is even when you have republican majorities in both the house and the senate, we still have divided government with president obama in the white house, and he is not constitutionally irrelevant. in fact, he is critical in terms of actually getting things done. now, my hope is that we can find things we can work together on.
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i believe there are, that republicans and democrats can vote to put legislation on the president's desk, but then he's got a choice to make, either to sign that legislation into law or to veto it, and then we have a decision to make as to whether we want to try and whether we can override his veto. but the truth is none of us can govern on our own, and what has been troubling to me since the election is president obama seems to think he can govern on his own without regard to the congress. and now part of the consequences are the debate going on in the house and here in the senate about what's the appropriate response made to what has been widely seen as an overreach by department, particularly when it comes to his executive action on immigration. something that circumvented the congress and acted as though he could do this alone and there wouldn't be any consequences to
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it. well, we know one thing for sure and that is the president can't appropriate money, and that's why we're having this conversation now, but there are going to be other ramifications and consequences. i hope one of those consequences is not that we fall back into the dysfunction that we have experienced the last few years where we have shown ourselves incapable of working together and getting things done. all we can do is all we can do. as a senate, as a congress, we can't make the president do anything he is bound and determined not to do, but what we can do is our job, so when i have said and others have said, well, with the new majority in the senate, we have to show we can govern. the truth is we can't govern by ourselves. the president can't govern by himself, we can't govern by ourselves, that's the constitutional separation of powers in the division of
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responsibility that we must embrace together. i don't know where the president has gotten this idea that he thinks he can govern on his own. but for 225 years of constitutional -- our constitutional norms have said otherwise and experience has shown otherwise. so if we want to make real progress on improving our broken immigration system, we actually saw a bill passed out of the senate. the president said he is frustrated at the timetable in the house, but there continues to be a bipartisan desire, i believe, to fix our broken immigration system. if we want to reform our tax code, i think that's something we ought to be getting down to work on. the fact of the matter is we have the highest tax rate in the world, which is making america less competitive in terms of attracting investment and jobs,
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and it discourages people, multinational corporations headquartered in the united states from bringing back the money they have earned overseas because they don't want to have to pay taxes twice, what they have earned on their income overseas and then pay double again when they bring that money back home. and we ought to look at what kind of tax code makes sense for us, and it incentivizes investment and job creation in the united states and not be content with a system that discourages that. i think there is bipartisan support for doing what we can to shore up medicare and social security. we have all seen the numbers, the aging baby boomers and more and more people retiring. these young people unfortunately are being left withholding the bag. we're going to be okay. people my age, my generation, but future generations will not be okay unless we do our job now
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to deal with medicare and social security and make them sustainable into the future. and then the thing i think has been the most discouraging in the health care area, whether you were a supporter of the affordable care act or whether you were a skeptic like me i think the evidence has by and large demonstrate thad it didn't work, the people who were their biggest sheer leaders thought it would. one little factoid that jumped out at me yesterday in "the wall street journal" is between 2007 and 2013, the average cost for middle-class families for their health care went up 24%, 24%. that's part of what's made this wage stagnation even worse because people are actually paying more for things like income. and if there is one thing that i think we ought to all be able to agree on is one of the things that makes health care more available, more accessible to more people is it's more
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affordable, and unfortunately the affordable care act did not dohat. well, i mentioned my disappointment with some of the president's actions, including his executive action on immigration which i think has made our job harder, not easier, and then there was most recently stories of an impending negotiation on the tax bill that the president said he would veto if it got to him. why the president didn't say mr. majority leader, this isn't in it, i'm going to consider vetoing it. in other words, why didn't he use the bully pulpit and the leverage that the president has to change the package if he didn't like it, to make it more acceptable? that's the kind of compromise and negotiation that needs to occur. because what happens when you say i want everything my way or i want nothing, then you're --
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more often than not, you're going to get nothing. unfortunately, that's what the taxpayers got is just a temporary reprieve from this retroactive tax, these retroactive taxes, and no real long-term solution which creates an opportunity to plan and make investments. that's what encourages job creation and job growth and growing the economy. all this churning and uncertainty is the antithesis of what we need when it comes to growing our economy, creating jobs and creating more predictability. i know back in 2008 when president obama was elected, millions of americans thought president obama would be the find of president that would bring the country together, on a number of levels, whether it's matters of race, whether it's matters of just getting the government to be responsive to the needs of the middle class,
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but unfortunately he seems to have developed this disgain for the very job he got elected to do. you know, this stuff doesn't happen by accident. it happens as a result of hard work, and a lot of that hard work happens behind closed doors where members of both parties sit around a table and say how can we work this out? and when we are could go our best work, it does work out, and everybody can find something that's not perfect but it's something that is a vast improvement over the status quo, and that's the sort of thing the president unfortunately seems unwilling or unable to do. well, you know, the executive action on immigration is perhaps the thing that is sort of the freshest demonstration of the president's contempt for the role of congress in the normal legislative process, and what i find hard to understand and
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believe is for the weeks and months leading up to the announcement, the president repeatedly was warned that such a decision would provoke a constitutional crisis. and he was repeatedly warned that what he was getting ready to do was something he did not have the power under the constitution to do. and not coincidentally, the president i think on 22 different occasions admitted publicly he didn't have the authority to do what he ultimately decided to do with his executive order. but he did it anyway. i can't think of many things he could have done that would be more damaging to public confidence in congress and the presidency and our ideal of self-government. if the president says i don't have the authority to do this without congress but then he proceeds to do it anyway, what are we supposed to think?
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well, as a result of the president's ill advised action, the coming weeks and months threaten to be dominated by a political fight that was completely unnecessary. and meanwhile, the bipartisan prospects for compromise on everything from immigration to tax reform have been significantly reduced. the tragedy is once you get beyond the daily partisan rhetoric there are more areas of bipartisan agreement in the senate than people might think. for example, members of both parties want to vote on the keystone x.l. pipeline. members of both parties want to pass common sense regulatory reform that will reduce the burdens on families and businesses. members of both parties want to improve our patent system in order to discourage abuse of costly litigation and members of both parties want to address
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america's counterproductive business tax rate to help boost investment and create jobs here at home. and members of both parties want to take action to restore the 40-hour workweek that was penalized by obamacare. and get people back on full-time work and off of part-time work if they'd like to work full time. and members from both parts want to repeal the law's medical device tax, falling as it does on the gross receipts of medical device innovators here in america, causing some of my constituents, for example, from dallas to move their operations to costa rica and places where the tax won't be collected. that's the sort of incentives and disincentives that tax policy can have and in this case very damaging. and both parties want an immigration system that puts more emphasis on skills and on education. we're a very compassionate country when it comes to
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immigration. we naturalize almost a million people a year in this country. it's part of what's made our country great. but we ought to recognize that we need to use both our head and our heart on a lot of these issues and it makes sense to me and i think a lot of other people to say what do these immigrants bring to america that will make us better and not just operate strictly on the basis of compassion? what do they need. we -- this needs to be a system that helps continue to attract the best and the brightest people around world through a legal immigration system. and finally, members of both parties believe that we need a permanent solution to our transportation needs in this country. i come from a fast-growing state, texas, where we justfully simply don't have enough resources to build the mass transit and the highways and deal with the transportation needs that we have in order to
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continue to grow our economy and create jobs. and what we've done, sadly in both -- and both parties are complicit in this -- we've just done one temporary band-aid after another. again, making it very hard to plan and just patching it and then coming back and sort of the like the movie "groundhog day" we do it all over again six months or a year later. none of this is going to be easy but nobody told us it would be easy. but we need to do it anyway. we need to vote and we need to come up with solutions. but these are only a partial list of some of the bipartisan, smart ideas thad could become law pretty quickly with the right leadership and i'm hopeful after the first of the year in the new congress that we will look for opportunities and i'm confident we will, to work together to put legislation on the president's desk to show
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that we can actually function and that hopefully regain some of the public's lost confidence in their government. and in self-government itself. well, so the question is what do we do if the president continues to give very little indication that he's going to be a partner in this effort? well, we need to do our job anyway. his initial reaction to the 2014 has been to flout the will of congress and the will of the american people. and i know the temptation is to say, well, we're going to retaliate for the president's action, that we consider unlawful. i think we do need to make a measured and prudent and appropriate response and there needs to be consequences when one branch ewe sewers its -- usurps its power under the constitution but we don't need to fall back into the same sort
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of dysfunction we were in previously that got us to where we are today. so governing is not about having the executive branch or the legislative branch see how much they can get away with onor then. that's not our constitution, our form of government. it's about having the two branches working together to try to find common ground and proposing and negotiating policies that serve the national interest, not the interests of one political party or the other but the interest of the country as a whole. in january i hope to demonstrate that the newfound confidence that voters have in republicans is well founded, not in the sense that we received any mandate -- believe me, don't believe that for a minute -- but i do believe people are looking for responsible alternatives to the status quo. and i believe sincerely that working together, republicans and democrats, the senate and the house and the presidency can
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demonstrate we can actually do our jobs and govern. none of us can do it alone. we and canada and must demonstrate we're able to do our job and function but, again, in order to move the country forward in order to find solutions to the problems that we have on so many fronts we're going to have to do this together and i only hope the president reconsiders his record and his attitude about trying to go it alone because we know that's not going to end very well. madam president, i yield the floor and i'd 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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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, madam president. i would ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: i also ask unanimous consent that laura sherman, a fellow in my office, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come down to the floor today to talk about the tax extenders package that the house is likely to vote on today, and unfortunately and sadly it looks as though we have reached another low point in the
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world of dysfunctional washington politics. the house will vote on what's being called a one-year retroactive extension of dozens of expired tax laws. this bill contains everything from research and development tax credit to the wind production tax credit to the new markets tax credit, and they have let us know that this is the best bill that they could cobble together over there. but in reality, this is not a one-year extension. it is a three-week extension of expired tax laws until the end of this year. three weeks until the end of this year. on january 1, all of our tax laws will expire again. no one in the real world would ever run an enterprise like this. it's bad enough that we do extenders for two years without making them permanent, but to come here and say the best we can do is a one-year extension and to know that, really, it's only a three-week extension makes no sense at all.
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if the purpose of this bill is to encourage investments in business or our communities, how does a one-year retroactive bill make any sense at all? if the purpose of the bill is to provide greater certainty for families and for businesses, how does a one-year retroactive bill accomplish that? only in this land of flickering lights in washington, d.c. where we're barely keeping the government running does it make accepts. -- sense. i thought we reached a new low two years ago when we voted on the so-called fiscal cliff deal, when the bush tax cuts were expiring and there was a bipartisan deal that was meant to among other things avoid the sequester passed at 2:30 in the morning here. and then 90 days later, the sequester went into effect, the very thing that we were supposed to be protecting against. that deal is sometimes touted as
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a great act of bipartisanship. i think the only bipartisan about it was the confession that the two parties couldn't figure out how to actually get our fiscal house in order. had we known that night that the sequester was going to go into effect 90 days before, had we known that night there's no way there would have been 92 yes votes for that deal. there is no way it would have passed. and we're still living with it today. coincidentally, the last time we passed tax extenders it was part of that deal. and the fiscal cliff deal we at least provided a two-year extension to these temporary tax laws and here it turns out that we're going to be lucky if we provide three weeks of certainty. many of the people i represent say this bill is only marginally better than no bill at all and they reasonably wonder why in the world we wouldn't just do
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another two year extension. they deserve nor certainty some plan for their businesses and their communities. instead of doing the short-term house bill the senate 24 should take up the bipartisan bill that the senate finance committee reported over six months ago. i always hear people in this body lament the lack of regular order and i lament the lack of regular order, this bill represented a great attempt at regular order. and got the votes of republicans and democrats on the finance committee. we had a markup. we voted on amendments. some passed, some didn't. and then we voted the bill out to the senate floor six months ago. the ways and means committee in the house didn't hold a markup on the house bill that they're considering today. it's my understanding the house will be allowing few if any amendments. so why is that bill in any way preferable to the senate bill where we did the work of legislating and our two-year
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bill deserves a vote here on this floor among dozens of provisions that are important to families and businesses in colorado and across the country i wanted to highlight just two today. the first is the credit for wind energy. the wind p.t.c. and i.t.c., have always enjoyed broad support from both sides of the aisle, ranging from its original cosponsor, senator grassley from iowa, my friend and colleague from colorado, mark udall and nobody has been a greater champion for wind relentlessly in this part of our wind industry in colorado and those high-paying jobs in our state than mark udall. if enacted into law the senate version of the i.t.c. and p. dr. will continue to drive job growth in colorado and we're not talking about some fly-by-night experiment here. this isn't some bolshevik takeover of the united states.
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these are manufacturing jobs and other high-paying jobs right here in the united states and right here in colorado where we have 5,000 people working in this industry. in colorado, vestus employs over 1,400,000 workers from pueblo all the way up i-25 to briton and windsor. these aren't just manager manufacturing and design jobs. it's also construction and operations jobs at the wind farms. i visited one in petes, colorado, a couple of years ago, a little bit scary because we climbed up -- i climbed up to the very top of the wind turbine and i thought we were done but then they opened a hatch in the top of this thing and they said senator, it's tile to go out and see what this looks like which i did standing on the top of this wind turbine housing in the shoes that i wear on the floor of the senate. even though i was hooked up it
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was a little bit scary. but the guy that took me there was telling me that he had been able to come back to his home community, a rural community in colorado, and work in this high-paying job just because the wind industry was there. it was something he never would have imagined when he was a kid. but now he's got real opportunity. there are thousands of people just like that all over my state that are concerned that the political conversation here has decoupled once again from their concerns and has become about the internal politics of washington, d.c. and not what's actually going on in places like rural colorado or in rural places all across the country. this industry drives economic growth across our state from the conference rooms of tech start-ups in boulder and denver to the 6,000 kit carson generating site just west of the kansas state line. the production tax credit has driven $105 billion in private investment, which is actually
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amazing when you think about it given the fact there has been so much uncertainty associated with it, $105 billion, opened up 550 industrial facilities and provided $180 million in payments to rural farmers, to ranchers and to landowners who host wind farms. and to the mention those rural farmers and ranchers brings me to the expect act of the expire act i wanted to highlight, the tax incentive for conservation easements. privately conservation is critical in states like colorado. healthy grasslands, open landscapes and abundant wildlife are a fundamental part of what it is to be in the west, to be in colorado and in the 2014 farm bill we worked really hard to build a strong conservation title and the easement incentive in the senate finance committee bill is an important complement to the work in the farm bill. this incentive accounts for the true value to conserve land
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which allows family farmers, ranchers, and moderate-income landowners to preserve land for our kids and our grandkids to enjoy. in colorado we've go landowners lined up to take advantage of this very well designed program. it opens up conservation options to the land rich but people that might be cash poor, producers who feed this country and this is land that we've got to keep in production. when you're living in a place where the value isn't calculated properly and there's a high value associated with it and you don't have the money to be able to put it into easement this program can help you do that and if we do that, we get to hold on to our farms and ranches in our state. here we are considering a bill that extends these benefits for only three weeks. if it's good policy for three weeks,if, why isn't it good policy for two years? if we pass the house bill we're telling farmers and ranches across states like colorado that
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we don't value long-term conservation, don't want take it seriously. the loss of this tax incentive would mean less land across the west would be protected, again, a voluntary program. this isn't telling anybody they have to do anything with their farms and ranches, it's an option for them if they want to use it. water wallet will suffer, and colorado's scenic beauty which is critical to our way of life and to our economy will be threatened. we passed the house bill, people's jobs across colorado will be placed at risk and this is due to congress' failure to do its job. we can do better than this. we can do better than this. we really should at this late hour reconsider this and pass the senate bill, pass the expire act, pass the bipartisan piece of legislation that came out of the finance committee through regular order six months ago. we've had plenty of time to consider that. and then we should come back and we should do comprehensive tax reform. and give our country a tax code
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that's actually worthy of the entrepreneurs that are out there working every day to invent our future. the last time our tax code -- this might be of interest to the pages here today -- the last time the tax code was updated in this country, i was in college. i was in college. what are the chances today's tax code reflects the american economy as it actually is, to say nothing of the global economy as it actually is? chances are zero. this is the work that we've been sent here to do. it's hard, but that's what we're supposed to be doing here and i hope in the new year there's going to be a big change around this place and i hope all of us use that change to the advantage of the american people. you know, by putting ourselves back to work. they're working hard. at least we can do is work together to actually align our legislation and our regulation to the world as it actually
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exists rather than one that existed 50 years ago or a hundred years ago. madam president, i appreciate the chance to speak today on those important issues to colorado and with that i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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