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tv   U.S. Senate 10262017  CSPAN  October 26, 2017 9:59am-2:01pm EDT

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their versions, then to go into probably a conference committee in december. >> host: after that president trump tweet on for a one changes, or possible changes kevin brady said brady signals retirement changes are still on the table. what are we talking about specifically? >> guest: that would be the tax treatment of retirement money and how much americans are allowed to put away towards the retirement before that income is taxed. so what brady said it any better this week is that he would like to encourage americans to save more and save earlier in their incomes because typically workers are at a lower tax bracket early in their income. that's less of the wage that would end up being taxed as opposed to if they withdrew and pay tax on at the end of their career, when you're probably in a higher tax bracket. the president said it will be no changes to 401(k)s the way
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that a structured. but brady left room for there to be some changes. one of the main reasons is there still looking for -- >> the u.s. house is working on the budget resolution right now. you can watch that on c-span. the senate is about to convene the day working on two judicial nominations. also scott palk have been nominated to be a district judge for the western district of oklahoma and his confirmation vote is at noon today. a boat follows to limit debate and advance the nomination of trevor mcfadden to be a district judge for washington, d.c. live senate coverage here on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, our king, we're grateful that righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
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give our lawmakers such a connection with you that they will hate evil. let the light of your wisdom shine upon them, providing them with the joy of doing right. save them from life's pitfalls providing them with the protection of the shield of your favor. lord, remind them of your faithfulness so that they will trust the unfolding of your loving providence. help them to remember that you have sustained america throughout its history. remembering how you have led us in the past, may our senators
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feel confident that you will complete the work you have started. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., october 26, 2017. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable luther strange, a senator from the
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state of alabama, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i senate is continuing to move forward on the outstanding judicial nominations of president trump. many of the well-qualified men and women the president has nominatedden joy substantial bipartisan support -- nominated enjoy substantial bipartisan support. unfortunately, the democrats continue to waste the senate's time with obstruction. time and time again they have erected partisan procedural hurdles designed not to change the outcome -- doesn't change the outcome -- but simply to waste the senate time. often democrats don't even oppose the nominee in question. let's compare the number of times this days' long delay has been invoked for nominees of the last two presidents during the first year of their presidency. the first year of the obama
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presidency, the first year of the trump presidency. republicans required cloture on one -- one -- of president obama's judicial nominees during his first year. cloture one time on judicial nominees for president obama in his first year. democrats have invoked this delay for every single one of president trump's nominees so far except one. this week they're at it again. today we'll have a cloture vote on the nomination of trevor mcfadden to the district court of the district of columbia. not a single democrat on the judiciary committee registered an objection to the nomination. yet we still have to waste time overcoming a procedural hurdle from our democratic colleagues before the senate can take up the nomination and consider it. it came out of committee with no
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opposition. we're not going to let these mindless attempts to slow progress stop us from confirming the president's nominees to the judiciary. if that means more cloture votes and more time focused on the task, that's what we'll do. but we'll confirm these nominees. you can count on it. now, on another matter, for families in kentucky and across the nation, the devastation of opioid abuse can be a constant and painful reality. communities are forced to endure grief, worry, and loss. a recent report showed that my home state suffered more than 1,400 fatalities as a result of drug overdoses last year alone. despite the troubling statistics, however, there are glimmers of hope. the republican-led senate has worked hard to pass important legislation like jesse's law, the 21st century cure's act and the comprehensive addiction and recovery act.
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these measures are important steps that should lead to real progress, and there are many other important efforts across the country as well. from coast to coast, we hear stories of men and women in recovery managing their addiction. we're heartened by these testimonies that proper treatment offers real hope. they help remind everyone why we must continue to press forward. the task that remains is staggering, but we're committed. and later today president trump will help our country take another step forward. we expect he'll formally recognize the opioid epidemic for the public health crisis that it is. this builds on the progress that congress has made to respond to addiction with comprehensive action including prevention, enforcement and treatment. so i'd like to commend the president for his continued commitment to this cause. when he visited us in the senate earlier in year, i discussed his administration's efforts to
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fight back. along with my colleagues, i stand ready to work with him on future proposals to provide necessary tools to protect our communities from this scourge. a single bill or program is never going to solve this crisis on its own. only a sustained, committed effort can do that. i'm proud of our efforts to combat opioid addiction already. i also know that we'll continue to push forward with continued collaboration with many groups. both in washington and in states and communities all across our country. so that one day we can fine a -- finally say that our country has beaten this crisis once and for all. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now, yesterday afternoon, the nonpartisan congressional budget office came out with a score for the bipartisan alexander-murray bill. the c.b.o. report confirms that the murray-alexander bill is a great deal for the american people. it does precisely what it was intended to do -- stabilize the marketplaces, help prevent premiums from skyrocketing, and reduce the deficit. by c.b.o.'s estimate, by nearly $4 billion. as senators alexander and murray noted, the report shows that their bill will, quote, benefit
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taxpayers and low-income americans, not insurance companies, unquote. even "the wall street journal" editorial board, no liberal kabal, that's for sure, said today, quote, the bipartisan compromise proposed by senators alexander and murray now officially falls into the category of so obvious it should pass immediately. that's not chuck schumer talking. that's not even mitch mcconnell talking, for those on the hard right who might doubt mitch mcconnell's fidelity. it is the beacon of the hard right, the "wall street journal" editorial page, and they say again alexander-murray falls into the category, quote, so obvious it should pass immediately. so my fellow republicans, what are you waiting for? everyone on your side wants the bill. jump on it. support it. let's get this done. let's help stabilize our
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markets, whatever our views are on health care. and above all, these reports should be all the evidence that president trump needs to come off the sidelines and endorse the bill. it doesn't bail out the insurance companies. that's what he said he was worried about. it doesn't cost government money. and, in fact, it reduces the deficit by $4 billion. so there is no good reason for president trump to continue to obscure his position. leader mcconnell has said he will put it on the floor if the president says he'll sign it. by delaying, the president is harming health care markets, causing significant uncertainty and doing nothing but hurt americans who are trying to afford health care. so, mr. president, it -- and i mean president trump, president trump -- not you, my dear friend, the senator from
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alabama. so president trump, if you don't pursue this bill, the consequences will fall on your back, make no mistake about it. on taxes, later today, the house will likely vote on whether or not to pass the budget resolution that recently passed the senate. my colleagues in the house should be aware that this budget will explode the deficit by $1.5 trillion. that's under the best of circumstances. that's under circumstances where they find $4 billion of -- $4 trillion of pay-fors. probably unlikely. it will slash medicare and medicaid by $1.5 trillion. and it will set up the same awful partisan process that caused the republican effort on repeal and replace to fail, because when you try to do it in one first party, it's fraught wh peril. if you do it in a bipartisan
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way, few people on either side can try to pull the bill off course, but they won't succeed because they don't have the votes. i would remind my friends in the house who purport to be deficit hawks, you are voting for a budget that will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion. many of these house members, particularly in the conservative wing of the caucus, particularly those in the freedom caucus, have spent their entire careers on the barricades railing against the evils of deficits. what a stunning hypocrisy it would be to abandon those principles today and vote for this budget simply because it gives tax cuts to the wealthiest of americans and the most powerful, largest of our corporations. now, i'd also remind my republican friends in the house, particularly those in new york and new jersey, california,
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wens, virginia, illinois, washington, minnesota, that voting for the budget today is tantamount to voting for the elimination of the state and local tax deduction. and that would sock it, sock it to the middle-class taxpayers in their states and districts. most of our republican friends from those states, they are blue states, but there are red districts, suburban, well off. they get clobbered if you take away the state and local deduction. those are the constituents hurt the most. not the rich and not the poor. the middle class and upper middle class. and not only will it raise their taxes dramatically, most people would lose deductions between $10,000 and $20,000. that ain't chicken feed. but it would raise home prices. sorry. it would lower home prices. a recent study by the national association of realtors done by
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pricewaterhousecoopers, the esteemed accounting firm, showed that eliminating state and local would erode property values, the rock of the middle class, by 10%. to the middle-class folks in new york, i believe around the country, your home is a piece of the rock. you struggle each month, pay the mortgage, pay the taxes, pay the upkeep, but you're hoping by the time you reach later middle age, that you'll own that home, and that gives your kids a place, or it gives your kids a nest egg when you pass on. but this bill, by eliminating state and local, reduces across america on average home values by 10%. so it's a double whammy to the middle class. raising your taxes and lowering your home values. why would we do that? you don't have to take it from
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me. i'll tell my republican colleagues, peter king. rock-ribbed republican who has a lot of courage. this morning, i saw him on tv talking about investigating hillary clinton. but here's what he said about repealing the state and local deduction. he said, quote, it will devastate my district forever. that's a solid middle-class and upper middle-class republican district on long island. here is what else peter king said. how anybody from new york or new jersey can vote for this budget without knowing what is in the tax bill is beyond me. he was referring to the state and local. now, i salute peter king for telling it like it is, having the courage to stand up and say to his own party's leadership, i will not forsake my constituents for a tax bill where i don't
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even know what the details will be. the remaining members of the new york, new jersey, california, and other delegations have a decision to make. will they protect the middle class, the tens of thousands of homeowners in their districts, or go along with the hard-right agenda that will cost their constituents hard-earned money for groceries, home repairs, and other needs, and do that all so the very wealthy can get a huge tax break, all so our biggest corporations which are flush with money can have even more money. wrong. i hear on the other side we're talking about a tax bill for the middle class, to eliminate state and local deductibility hurts the majority of middle-class people in this country. that's what will happen if you keep that in there. now, some will say in the house -- i've heard one of my
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colleagues from new york, republican, say that schumer, he's a democrat, he's beating up on republicans. but i went through this in 1986, the last time we had tax reform. it was democrats who were pushing the bill. senator bradley, a legend in this chamber, leader gephardt, one of the democratic leaders in the house. despite their entreaties, i told them not only would i not vote for any reform bill that had state and local deductibility in it, but i would lead the charge and round up others, and i did. i got a lot of flak from my fellow democrats, but it was the right thing to do for my middle-class constituency in southern brooklyn. so when i asr republican colleagues to buck their leadership, to help their middle class constituents, it's something i did with democratic leadership the last time tax reform was on the floor. now, some are already
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rationalizing their vote to approve the budget by putting their hopes in the vague possibility of some kind of compromise on state and local deduct ability. the hash fact is there is no compromise to be had on state and local. if you want to make taxpayers choose between the mortgage deduction and state and local, it's like asking taxpayers to decide whether they want to cut off their right arm or their left arm. some are talking about a cap. well, where are you going to cap it? more than 50% of the total value of the deduction goes to taxpayers with incomes below $200,000. cap it too low and almost all those middle class taxpayers get whacked. cap it too high and it doesn't raise enough money to offset all the cuts my republican friends want to give the corporations and the top 1%. republicans in the house shouldn't stake the votes on the prospect of a good compromise on state and local because there's
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not one to be had. the bottom line? any republican plan that limits salt is the equivalent to robbing middle-class families of tax benefits and handing it over to the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations. there is no, no compelling reason to do it. people aren't clamoring for it. we don't need to take a trillion dollars from working families and give it to millionaire c.e.o.'s, period. and if that weren't enough reason to vote no, mr. president, the republican leadership is still debating capping pre-tax contributions to 401(k) plans. you here that retirees and potential retirees? in their craven thirst to give the wealthiest people in america a tax break, they're going to
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say you can't save money for retirement tax free. what a gut punch to the middle class that would be. despite the president's claims to the contrary, representative brady and senator portman have said that a 401(k) cap is still on the table. so you know what this bill has become? again in its desperation to help the wealthiest? it's like a quiz show. which way do we hurt the middle class to pay for it? door one, state and local deductibility. door two, cap retirement. who knows what they'll pick in door three. could be the mortgage deduction. asking middle class people to choose which poison to take so you can help the wealthiest makes no sense. so i would urge my colleagues in the house and here in the senate stop doing this partisan bill that was dictated by the hard right, very wealthy individuals,
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very rich corporations, huge corporations. work with us. we want to create a bipartisan bill that helps the middle class. we're for tax reform. and we can get something done. please stop this train in its tracks early on before it's too late and you'll regret it. there are a large numbers of democrat, including this minority leader, who want to sit down with republicans and come up with a deficit neutral, middle class small business oriented bipartisan tax relief bill, not a plan to benefit the richest 1% or the largest and most powerful corporations who are already flush with cash. we want to work with our republican colleagues on a real bipartisan deal. defeat this budget and we will. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration
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of the palk nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, scott l. palk of oklahoma to be united states district judge for the western district of oklahoma. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i rise again today to highlight the importance of enacting tax reform. mrs. capito: i listened to the democratic leader's speech. i've heard that speech a thousand times, a thousand times how only wealthy americans are going to benefit from anything that the republicans can come up with. you know what? americans are smarter than that. americans are smarter than that. i represent a state, west virginians who have struggling economic situations. and if i were to go out on the street in west virginia and as i talk to individuals there and ask would you like more of your
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hard earned money at the end of the day and have a tax cut and tax relief, i can guarantee you a hundred percent they would say heck, yeah. i can spend my money better at home with my priorities than what you're doing in washington, d.c. so let's not let that argument rule the day. as i said, we're smarter than that. so let's talk about what this bill does. i've talked -- this is now my fourth, actually, in a series of something i believe in, which is tax reform for everybody in this country. my first one described the benefits that we will have on economic growth, something that was not mentioned by the previous speaker. we've been stagnated so long that the economic growth will rise almost -- every middle class worker will benefit from this and every small business will benefit from this. my second speech was about small businesses.
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95% of my state is -- are small business. 95% of my state is small business. last week i highlighted the importance of passing the budget resolution to allow congress to move forward and we did that. so today i want to talk about the importance of tax reform for middle class families and the impacts that this bill will have on them, the very real impacts. you know, raising a family is very expensive today. a recent study from the department of agriculture found that middle-income households will spend over $230,000 raising a child, a staggering -- staggering. almost half of american families are struggling right now to come up with $400 if they were to have an emergency expense. and in west virginia where the median income is $41,000, hardly the wealthy, families are forced to take -- make hard trade-offs
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as they balance their checkbooks each month. expenses are going up. yet most americans haven't received a raise in years. so we need to help working families, especially those living paycheck to paycheck. and this is one of the primary goals of our tax reform. we want middle class, middle-earned income folks, hardworking folks to get more in their pocket to decide what they want to do with their money. i raised three children. i know just putting shoes on your children is an expensive proposition. maybe you want to plan for a trip or save for college. well, to pay for child care and to save for college at the same time is almost impossible for our young families today. and the framework that we have set forward i think will help our families in many ways. first, it calls for a significant increase in the child tax credit. yesterday a number of my colleagues from the house and the senate, we joined with
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ivanka trump to highlight what an improved child tax credit would mean for working families. the tax reform proposal would allow families to take a higher per-child credit saving money on their taxes, money that they've earned, money that the families deserve to spend on their own, and many that can have significant impact to our families. we also would create a $500 tax credit for families who are caring for a nonchild dependent. many americans find themselves in the sandwiched generation where they're not only caring for their children, they're caring for their parents at the same time. so this will help those families. second, the proposal nearly doubles the standard deduction or the zero tax bracket from $24,000 for -- it raises it up to $24,000 for married taxpayers and $12,000 for single taxpayers. what kind of impact would this have on a state like mine?
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well, 83% of the taxpayers in west virginia take the standard deduction. they're going to get a doubling in their standard deduction. that's more money for them to take home, to put the value of where they want to spend it with their own families. so four out of five west virginia working families will benefit from that. that is an enormous savings, and even more taxpayers are likely to benefit as the larger standard deduction means that fewer people will itemize. so we expect that figure to go up from 83% up. it makes filing taxes simpler and it makes it so that our taxpayers can file on a single form without all of the extra forms, time, and money that it takes. and finally, most importantly, families will benefit from the economic growth that tax reform will bring to our country. this is probably the biggest impact that tax reform will have
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for working families. we'll lower the corporate rate, yes, for companies, but we've got to make our companies competitive across the globe. we're not. we're not competing. what kind of effect does that have? fewer jobs and lower wages. companies know if they invest in their work force, if they invest in the wages of their work force, they're going to have a more productive work force to produce products, to sell products, to enhance the quality of life of their communities. many of these large corporations that are scattered around our country really do a lot of work in the community service parts of our country, whether it's helping with schools or whether it's helping with the baseball teams or sponsoring a robotics team. so why does that matter to working families? more than $2 trillion in profits earned by american companies is
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kept offshore because of the flaws in our current tax system, $2 trillion. and i think some of those estimates might be low. shifting to a more fair and competitive system will bring those dollars back to the united states. those companies want to invest in our country because they know that we have the safest, most -- safest investments. we have the most technologically advanced and we've got the best worworkforce and in is great nes for american families. lowering that corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 could increase the pay for the average american by about $4,000. my small business round table, when i asked would would you do with tax relief, the first thing she said was raise the wages of my seven employees. so i think this would be good news for working families, certainly good news for 50% of the west virginia workers who
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work in small business. we need to make sure that we work together, that we target our tax relief to middle-class families. mr. president, you and i were at lunch the other day with the president. priority one the president said, this tax cut must be targeted to the middle class, the working families in this country. and that's what this bill has put forward. larger tax credit, larger standard deduction, unlocking the wages by lowering the competitive tax rate, and despite our hard work, too many middle-class families are falling behind and we want to make sure that trend stops. so all of us i think can join together. this is going to go through committee. both parties will have lots of opportunity to weigh in. and i look forward to looking into the eyes of the working men and women in my state and saying not only is help on the way but help is here. thank you so much. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i
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think it's going to be a very robust conversation about taxes. and when we look into the eyes of working americans, i hope my republican colleagues are ready to answer this question, and that is, why do they, the republican party, want to send $3.5 trillion of tax benefits to the top 1%? the top 1%. why not spend the tax benefits on the middle class? my colleagues keep coming to the floor saying this is all about the middle class. but they don't mention that in fact every single major change is all about benefits for the richest 1%. changing the dynasty tax to create a dynasty loophole. wow, that really doesn't benefit anybody in the working class. lowering the top bracket while raising the bottom bracket, well, that doesn't help anybody in the working class. providing a special pass-through for those who can put their business activities into limited
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liability corporations, have a special low rate, that certainly doesn't help anybody in the middle class. one provision after another after another targeted at the richest americans while coming and preaching help for the middle class. oh, the american people will see, will see right through this scheme. they are going to ask, why is it you do so little for the bottom half, nothing for the bottom third? why is it you do so little for those in the middle-class and then why don't you send the vast bulk of the benefits to the richest americans when they're so much richer than anyone else? it is an important debate we're going to be having. but for my colleagues that think they can fool the american people by talking about the middle class and instead targeting the richest to be richer, i have gots in -- not not -- i have got news -- it is not going to work. mr. president, you continue to a
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different topic. climate change affects everything, our forests, our fisheries, our farming, rural america is the core target of the impacts of the changing climate. and we see impacts worldwide. we see it in disappearing ice sheets and melting permafrost and dying coral reefs. we see it in migrating an malls and insects and we certainly saw it in the more powerful hurricanes hitting the united states and texas and puerto rico and florida. in response, communities around the world are transforming their energy economies. they're increasing the efficiency of their buildings, their vehicles and their appliances. they're working to replace carbon-polluting fossil fuel energy with clean and renewable energy. with how much do you know about the changes -- well, how much do you know about the changes under way? let's find out. welcome to episode 6 of the
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senate climate disruption quiz. here we go. first question -- in december of 2016, vehicle emissions and coal production in the united states of america were each at record lows since the year ... were they record lows since 1970, since 1974, since 1980, or since 1986. lock in your answers. the answer is not 1970 or 1974, not 1980. the answer is 1986. we are now working on over three decades, despite a vast increase in the vehicle miles traveled, we've reduced the emissions and we've certainly reduced the emissions in coal production. quite a change we're experiencing. see the transition between clean
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and renewable energy irrevocably under way. let's go to the second question. how many republican representatives, members of the house, asserted that climate change has the potential to adversely impact all americans? how many members -- republican members of the house? was it 13, or 17 or 20 or 22? admittedly, a modest number. the number was 17. answer b. these 17 republican lawmakers introduced a resolution warning that, quote, if left unaddressed, the consequences of a change in climate had the potential to adversely impact all americans. so this is a very big deal that 17 republicans in the party financed by the coal and oil billionaires, who have really
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taken complete control of the u.s. senate, stood up to them and said, we're going to speak on behalf of our responsibility as citizens of the united states of america to protect our citizens and the assault on our farming and our forestry and our fishing from climate disruption. i praise those 17 for something done so. it is a powerful bipartisan step in the right direction of championing the cause of all americans. -- and for that matter the entire planet. question three -- in july of this year, california extended its cap and trade program. did it extend it just for a couple years to 2020 or to the near 2025 -- year 2025, 2030, 2035? how long did california lay this vision into the future? lock in your answers.
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the answer is 2030. the program would have otherwise expired in 2020, so they extended it for another decade. it was basically a statement of confidence that the program that they laid out, that they have in place now is working and deserves extension. it's the only program of its kind in the country, and it's the second largest in the world. under this vision, this new and expanded program, california will cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 40% from its 1990 levels, despite having a vastly expanded economy. and that's a powerful vision and a vision that we need to extend through completely eliminating the burning of fossil fuels in the next three decades. question four -- how many acres
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of our citizen-owned -- that is, our federal -- fossil fuels are leased to industry as of october 2016? have we leased out 30 million acres of federal land for the extraction of fossil fuels? or 45 million? or 53 million? or 67 million? any of these is really a vast amount of what we own as citizens. lock in your answers. and the answer is at the top end of the spectrum, 67 million acres. what this means is that for years -- even decades -- into the future we have already contracted for a vast amount of fossil fuels to be extracted from our citizen-owned lands. extractions that add to the problem facing rural america and the impact and our farmers and
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our fishermen and our forests. that area that has been leased out for the extraction of fossil fuels that you and i own as citizens, that's the size of colorado, a vast sea of fossil fuel extraction leases on public lands, and it shows the dire need to pass the kee keep-it-in-the-ground act. it says the only thing for us to do is not do any other leases of our citizen-owned oil or coal or gas. the responsible thing to the right thing to do, especially as we work in partnership with the rest of the world, is to say no new leases that expand this 67-million-acre number. now, let's turn to question five. which u.s. community was the first to make a decision to divest all of its oil and gas stocks? because of the impact of oil and
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gas on destroying our nation. was it cooperstown, new york? was it salem, oregon? was it lawrence, kansas? or walla walla, washington? lock in your answers. the answer is cooperstown, new york. it is quite an interesting story behind this, a remarkable story. at the center of the story is a man named louis alstott, a retired exxonmobil executive. at one point he managed all of carbon monoxide in canada and the united states. he knew the fossil fuel industry inside out from the very top level. after retiring he ran for town trustee in cooperstown. as a town trustee, he then spearheaded an effort for cooperstown to become the first
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town in the u.s. to divest its oil and gas stocks. mr. alstott summed it up this way -- you don't just keep driving your car when you see a cliff ahead. well-said. and yet so many in this chamber are determined to drive the car over the cliff. mr. alstott, from the high reaches, the executive suites of exxonmobil, can see the damage being done to the planet by the continued burning of fossil fuels he saw -- of fossil fuels. he saw the damage and he took a principled, moral stand on behalf of us all. it is something every city counsel, city r. every mayor should ask. should we follow mr. alstott's
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example of cooperstown, new york? because it we continue in the direction we're going, we do fabulous amounts of damage from which we do not easily recover if we can recover at all. so there you have it, folks. episode 6 of the senate climate disruption quiz. questions ripped from the headlines, facts on the ground changing fast as climate disruption increases and communities across the globe respond. we are racing the clock, and we have no time to spare. so stay engaged in the fight, and in the near future i'll bring you episode 7 of the senate climate disruption quiz. thank you, mr. president. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. rubio: mr. president, over the next few weeks, the united states senate, the house, the congress, everybody here in washington is going to be engaged in what i think is one of the most important and potentially impactful impacts we've had here in a long time. for a place that's been so criticized for not doing anything, we have a chance to actually do something that's going to matter and help the people and help the country, and it's called tax reform. it actually goss the heart and soul -- it actually goes to the heart and soul of our nation and who want to be and who we've been up to this point. we are a nation that has embraced free enterprise. there are people that don't believe in free enterprise. there are people that believe in different variations of free enterprise. but by and large america has believed in free enterprise, which means that the government doesn't try to control too much of the economy. people have private property and private businesses. you have rules to make sure that people don't cheat or steal from one another. but by and large we believe in a private economy.
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why do we believe in a? i think you have the teens it. it is not just a pure economic one. you luke back -- you look back at our founding. we do not do a good enough job of teaching young americans that america was not created as a nation to bring together a common race or a common ethnicities or common religion. there are a lot of nations around the world. most of the nations that have ever existed have been a homeland for the people that were born and have lived in that one place, not us. we were founded on the idea that you could bring different kinds of people from different backgrounds and unite them as one people, despite their differences in background and ethnicity and in religion. you could unite them behind a very powerful iraq, the idea that all of us are -- you could unite them behind a very powerful idea, the tied all of us were born with the right to pursue happiness. it has changed the world. it has been the identity of our counsel. it is among everything else what
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makes us unique and special and in every generation that's been challenged economically, socially, culturally, and we need to continue to fight for that. one of the core principles behind equal opportunity is the ability to fulfill your economic potential, to grow up and be what you want to be and do what you want to do, hope a company, work for a certain industry or career ar stay home and -- or stay home and raise children. we are a nation that believes that we all have a god-given right to pursue that. and it is something that free enterprise makes possible. now, the difference between free enterprise and people who want government to control everything is the best analogy i could think of is imagine a pie -- yeah, let's just use a pie as an example. i can't bring one on the floor, but just imagine one in your mind. imagine if i said to you, this pie will never grow, it will always be the same size, and
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every single one of us gets a slice. if the pie can't grow and every gets a slice, then the bigger your slice, the smaller my slice. and that's what people that don't believe in free enterprise argue. they argue that the pie really can't grow, so you need government to make sure that that spy equally, or equal enough among everybody. the tax code is bun of the ways though it. -- the tax code is one of the ways though it. there is another a it is the argument that that pie doesn't have to stay that size. we can make it a ba pie that's a lot bigger. it doesn't matter how big the other person's slice is as long aces your slice is big, too. more for them doesn't mean less for you. that's one of the unique attributes of free enterprise is that everyone can be better off without anyone being left worse off. and that's the theory. it doesn't always work in practice for a lot of different
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reasons. that doesn't mean an ar conflict of interest we do need government. i'm not anti-regulation. i am anti-overregulation. i fly on airplanes. i'm sure we're all gre offers st airplane is inspected. i think all of us want to make sure when you open a bottle of medicine prescribed to you is actually the medicine. when we eat food, we want to make sure it's not poisonous or will spread disease. these are all products of regulation. the same true is economic. that's why we have antitrust laws. that's why we have anti-- that's why we take on anticompetitiveness because it actually undermines free enterprise. i'm not talking about corporatism, because there are a lot of countries around the world that claim to be free enterprise, but they really aren't. it's four or five big companies control everything. everybody else either works for them or is unemployed. that's not what i'm talking
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about. i'm talking about free enterprise, a nation and a system in which someone can quit their job, open a business, compete with their former employer, and put them out of business because you're better than they are, or at least take away some of their customers. that's free enterprise. that's what we believe in. what has challenged free enterprise in this country in the 21st century and you sense it in people's frustrations? there is two things. the first is there is a lot of global competition. it wasn't true in the 1960's and 1970's. we forget germany, japan. these countries were wiped out completely during world war ii. it took them decades to rebuild. america was the only show in town for much of the 60's, all through the 70's. all the other countries watched us grow and started doing the things we did. they started deregulating. they most certainly started cutting taxes. the result has been over the last 20, 25 years, most countries in the industrialized world, the big economies, charge companies a lot less in taxes than we do.
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what that does over time, it makes us uncompetitive. that's why not a day goes by that you don't read about some american company that was bought by a company in another country and moved over there. they pay less in taxes over there than they do here. for anyone who doesn't realize that, you're missing a big part of this. we are not the only show in town anymore. we have to compete. that's why our tax code is important, because if it becomes uncompetitive, you are basically forcing and/or inviting companies to leave the united states for more favorable tax treatment. and that's happened. and do you know who has paid the price? not the rich people. you're a wealthy investor. you can invest your money anywhere in the world. even if you make your money here, i promise you, you have the best lawyers and best accountants to find every loophole to save you money. if that doesn't exist, you will hire the best lobbyist to make one. in the end, the truly wealthy, the billionaires, and the owners of these extraordinary amounts of wealth, they are -- they'll figure it out. do you know who gets hurt? the people who get paid every
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two weeks. that's who gets hurt because when those companies leave the united states, they take their jobs with them. the list of those there are and the more people we have competing for less jobs, the less people get paid at a time when everything costs more. there is another thing that's hurting us, and it's not part of the tax reform, but it's the way growth is now distributed. we can no longer just assume if the economy grows, everyone will be better off automatically because the prostitute is in the 21st century, there are some careers, some industries, and some jobs that pay substantially more. if you want to talk about haves and have-nots in the 21st century, the haves and the have-nots are the people who have advanced education and the right skills and the people that do not. we have got to close that gap, the vocational training. that's a separate topic that has to be dealt with and critically important and the way growth is distributed. you have no growth to distribute if you don't have growth. that's why this is so important. when you hear all this talk about wealthy corporations getting huge tax brakes, -- breaks, it's not necessarily true. it really, really is important
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for people to pay attention to the details and not just the talking points on this. let's take, for example, let's say company x is a publicly traded company. they sell stock on wall street and the like. next year because we lower taxes, that company makes a million dollars more than they did this year. what can they do with that million dollars for a publicly traded company? there are really only four things you can do with that money. all four of them help working americans. the first thing they can do is grow the business. they can say we like our business a lot. we now have a million dollars more than we thought we were going to have. but we believe so much in our future, we're going to take that million dollars and invest it to grow a company. we're going to open a new factory, open more stores and hire more people as a result. we're going to invest in more equipment which means the people that make that equipment have more work. that's the first thing you can do with the money you might save on taxes. here's the second thing you might have to do. maybe you don't grow your business, but with a -- that million dollars extra that you have from the tax cuts, you're going to have to pay your employees more because now they're going to quit and go work for somebody else.
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so all of a sudden you are now in a position to be able to hire good people and retain them by paying them more and by offering better benefits to keep them. that's the second thing you can do with the money. here's the third thing you can do with a million dollars and the tax cut that you didn't plan on having. you can lower prices. you can say i'm in competition with these five other businesses to sell the same thing. we're going to use our million dollars to lower our prices just a little bit and just enough so that people buy it from us instead of them. do you know what that other company is going to have to do? they are going to have to lower prices, too, could compete with you. do you know who benefits from the lowering of the prices? the middle class. the people who are going to shop there will be paying less because of the competition. that's the third thing that can happen. the fourth thing that can happen and the one that gets the most criticism is well, they will just pay it to the shareholders in dividends. okay? who are the shareholders? the shareholders are wealthy people that trade in wall street and spend all day in front of a computer and have these brokerage accounts that handle their accounts. they are part of it. do you know who else is
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shareholders? millions and millions of americans. if you are a firefighter or a police officer with a union pension, you are a shareholder. you might not be aware of the companies you have shares in, but it's in your pension, and the future of your pension will depend on how those investments go. if you are a 401-k holder, you're a shareholder. just because you're not in front of the computer every day checking your t.d. ameritrade account does not mean you're not a shareholder. you're a shareholder. virtually every sort of investment mechanism for retirement in america is invested in what they call equities, is invested in the market, is invested in stocks and bonds. in fact, those things are doing better. it's helping you retire. so that's why the business side of this is so important. it will help grow the economy, but it actually will also help people because there is nowhere else for that money to go. the other type of small business, which is actually the majority -- the other type of business, a pass-through.
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most businesses are organized as that. that is you pay on your personal rate. you're a small business owner with three employees, you're an s corporation. at the end of the year, you pay your taxes on your personal rate. your rate is actually higher than the company -- companies, the corporations. except you can't hire the lawyers and the accountants and all the other expertise. you are actually in many cases paying more than the big companies. they would be helped, too. they would be on tax reform that lowers their rate and makes them competitive. beyond ensuring that people are either going to have better retirement funds, lower prices, more pay or more jobs, the otheg small businesses, the vast majority of which are owned by people that are not multimillionaires and billionaires, the other thing we can do to help working class people in this country is an expansion of the child tax credit, and it's an idea that senator lee and i have been pushing for for the better part of two years. it wasn't always universally popular, but i will explain three reasons why it's important. in fact, not only is it important, it has to happen. if you don't do that, then
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this -- if we don't do that, then someone could argue this is not a middle-class tax cut. but if we do it, it will be perhaps the single largest middle-class tax cut in modern history. the child tax credit is the credit you get per child. obviously it phases out at some point the more money you make. why do we have it? we have it for two reasons. number one, because we truly believe that the family is the most important institution in society and parenting is the most important job you will ever have. i don't care what you are. you're a president, a senator, a congressman. i don't care what you do. the most important job you will ever have, the most important job you will ever have, the most impactful thing you will ever do is raise a family. and so our tax code accounts for that, and it should. the second thing -- and it's raising children is expensive. if you're raising children right now or have any time in the near past, you know how expensive it is. i don't know where they get these numbers, but it sounds right to me. the department of agriculture estimates that to raise a child from the time they are born to
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the time they are 18 is about $230,000 per child. that's a staggering amount of money. that doesn't even count college, by the way. all you have to do is spend just ten minutes. just go out one day this weekend and talk to the people you know who are working parents and ask them. they're going to tell you one of the most expensive things they face, especially between the time their children are born and the time they turn 4 or 5 is child care. over two-thirds of the states in this country, it costs more, costs more for child care than it does to go to college. imagine you make $800 a week that you take home but you have to spend $400 a week on child care for your two kids. that's half your paycheck. i'm not saying a child tax credit fixes all that. i'm saying that's a cost that keeps going up. it's the reason why the tax credit has lost about $300 in value from the time it was last expanded in 2003. and then the other thing to add to it is if you look at some of the changes being proposed on the personal reduction, that's another $500 off. in essence, unless the tax at
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$800 per child, we are just breaking even. that's why we have to have a child tax credit that's at least $2,000 to really have an impact. and the other thing we have to do is make it refundable. what that means, it has to apply against payroll tax. medicare, social security taxes that come from fica, immediately off your paycheck. everybody pays that tax. not everybody pays income tax because if you don't make more than a certain amount of money, you don't have an income tax liability. but you are paying taxes. it's called the payroll tax. if we don't deal with that, if we don't make the child tax credit apply to that, then you're basically not cutting taxes or not helping the vast majority of people who need it. there has been some speculation that this would be too expensive and cost a lot of money. it's not true. number two, it's their money. you don't get it unless you owe it, and you don't owe it unless you're working. all we're saying is let people keep more of their own money to pay for the cost of living. they will have to spend that money. we know a large number of
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families in this country are living beyond what they make. that's why credit card and debt has risen over the last 20 years. so they're going to take that money and going to spend it and spend a lot of it on raising the children. they're going to spend a lot of it on the things we talked about. i'm not saying this alone will change it, but hopefully the child tax credit combined with a growing economy in which there are more jobs that pay more and pliefs -- prices are lower are truly going to help people, and we have to help people in that regard. this has to be a critical component of tax reform. i wanted to set the stage for that because unfortunately it is a complicated thing. unfortunately taxes are very complicated, more than they really should be, and there is going to be a lot of misinformation out there about who this actually helps and how the economy actually works, and so it's really important for us to be clear and up-front about why it is we are doing the things we're doing. when i hear all this talk about helping millionaires and billionaires, they are probably the people that care the least about some of this tax reform. they are going to be finding a way -- they just want to know what the rules are.
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they want to know what the rules are because they will figure it out one way or the other. if the taxes are too high, they will take their money to another country. if they are low enough, they might invest it here. either way, they will be fine. the people we really want to help are working people and small businesses. and the tax code is a part of that. it's not the only part of that, but it's a big part of it. and that's why this has to happen. it has to happen. it's been far too long. and i guess my last point is i want everybody to kind of take a step back and say 50 years from now when people read about this time in american history, they're going to ask themselves what was wrong with those people? did they not realize that all these other countries were taking their jobs? and one of the ways those jobs were leaving is because they were giving them away. you were literally inviting people to leave by acting so arrogant about yourself that you thought you could charge them anything you wanted in taxes and they would stay. and that's just not true anymore. i'm not sure it ever was entirely true, but it's less true today than ever before. and in the end, the people that
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are really being hurt by this are the people whose jobs don't pay enough, at a time when everything costs more. the people that are really being hurt by this are the people that wish they could start their own business, but they can't because they don't think they can make enough money to survive. people that are really being hurt by this are parents that are trying to raise their children at a time when everything costs more. but their paychecks aren't keeping pace. the people that are being hurt by this are the people that sit down every month and kind of write out on a piece of paper, this is our budget for the month, and about 14 or 15 days into the month, something comes in the mail that you didn't expect was on its way, and all of a sudden that whole budget got blown up, and now you have to use a credit card to pay for it. the people being hurt by this are the people that kids are now 17 years old, and they are like i want them to go to college. i just have no idea how they will be able to go. even with financial aid, they will have to borrow money to go to school. and now they are in debt before they even vote in their first election, they already owe ten grand. so we've got to help them if we
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are going to rebuild the country's economy. tax reform is a key part of it. here is my last point. there has been a lot of talk about debt and that this is going to grow the debt. that actually doesn't have to be true, because if you lower the tax rate and businesses are hiring more people, creating more jobs, and growing, that's going to grow your economy. and when you grow your economy, you have more taxpayers. when you have more taxpayers, you have more revenue. even though you didn't raise the rate, you will still collect more money, because even though you don't have more taxes, you have more taxpayers. and so that's a big chunk of this. depending on what -- just a normal -- you know, not unrealistic growth rate would more than pay for the money that people are saying we're not going to collect as a result of this. that's part one of it. the other thing that's interesting to me is if we stood here today and said let's take $1.7 trillion and spend it to build stuff that the government does, there would be no problem with that. that would be seen as stimulus. that's positive. that's good debt spending. but how we say let's take money
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and give it back to people so they can spend it themselves, that's bad debt, that's ridiculous. and the third thing that i would say is you're never going to tax your way out of this debt anyway. even if we taxed everybody in america next year, if everybody in america that made a million dollars next year, we confiscated every penny of it and said your tax rate this year is 100%, it don't even make a dent on the debt. that's how big the debt is and how fast it's growing. you can'r wait out of it or cut your way out of it either. the only solution to our debt long-term is you have to do two separate things and do them both. you have to grow your economy. you have to. that pie has to grow. number two, the debt has to be held back so it doesn't grow as big as the economy. if you grow the economy by 4% and grow the debt by 4.5%, then you're not going to get there. so you got to do both. this is part one. part one is grow the economy. part two is going to have to be to bring our spending on a
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sustainable path so that the growth and the benefits of the growth and the revenue from the growth isn't being taken and used to pay for even more government. to use a best analogy, if you owe a lot of money and you only make $2,000 a month and next month you get paid $3,000 a month but you add $1,500 a month of expenditures, then you're still owing more money. so you got to do both. you've got to generate more revenue through growth, not through more tax, and you've got to hold the long-term line on spending. but this is step one of that two-step process. and we have a chance to do it here before the year is out. we have to do it. and i believe we will. it will be hard. it should be hard. i was -- i read these articles, tax reform, people are arguing about it. they should argue about it. they don't have a lot of arguments about economic policy in china, by the way. because there is not much of an opposition. but in america we're a republic. there are different ideas. there should be different ideas.
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tax reform should be controversial because it's important. there should be debate. and there will be. so we arrive at good public policy. nothing wrong with that. it's a good thing. not a bad thing. as long as that debate is geared towards reaching a result. and in the end i will tell you this. if we don't do it, i actually think we'll hurt our economy. not keep it the -- keep it the way it is will hurt it because a lot of businesses, a lot of employers and americans assumed this would happen given who won the elections in 2016. they already made investment decisions on the assumption that some of this was going to happen. and i'm telling you, if it doesn't happen, the collapse and confidence will hurt the economy badly. failing to act will actually reverse whatever gains we've already made this year on the expectation of growth and will actually shatter people's confidence in america's future. if you're sit thrg today thinking where am i going to open this big plant and hire a
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thousand people and you see tax reform collapse in the united states and the people in the house and the senate and in the white house are all supportive of tax reform and they still couldn't get it done, you're going to say to yourself, guess what? i'm not investing in that place. because even when the people who are in favor of it are in charge, they still can't get it done. not doing tax reform won't r won't lead to status quo. it will actually lead us worse off. that's why the child tax credit has to happen, by the way. not only can we not pass it without it, we can't justify it without it. so i'm optimistic we're going to get there. it will be a lot of work but it will be good work. it will be the reason why so many of us are here to begin with. we come here to make a difference. we come here because we want to contribute toward making things better. not perfect, better. this will make things better. for all the people who complain about and spend years here and nothing ever happens, this is a chance to see something hab in our time here and -- happen in our time here and look back and say we made a difference while
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we were there. that's what we're endeavoring to do and i'm excited that i believe we're going to do it. it will be long, hard, but it will be fun and good for our country and for our people. and it will be -- if we do it right, one of the most rewarding things any of us will ever do in our time here in public service. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i would like to request
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unanimous consent that my health policy fellow, laura cam kanutse granted floor privileges for the remainder of this congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: good, because, you know, if it was for the remainder of the congress, that would be hopefully a long time. mr. president, i rise today to talk about the urgent need for action on the children's health insurance program and other vital safety net programs. on september 30 of this year, three weeks ago, funding for the children health insurance program, chip, expired. funding for a community health center also expired as did funding for the national health service corps. these three cornerstone programs
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provide essential health services to hundreds of thousands of my constituents and to millions of people across the country. although these programs have historically secured strong bipartisan support and ostensibly still do today, the republican majority has not moved these bills forward toward passage. and it is really time to act. my home state of minnesota is one of the first states to exhaust its funding for its children's health insurance program, for chip, a program that covers 125,000 low-income children and 1,700 pregnant women. while the federal government has provided some emergency stopgap funding, that, too, is slated to run out by the end of november. minnesota has a long tradition of ensuring coverage to vulnerable populations.
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so coverage for low-income children will continue no matter what. however, over the next few weeks if chip funding is not reauthorized, the state will have to decide whether it will take extraordinary measures and incur significant financial losses to continue providing coverage for vital services, like prenatal and postnatal care for the pregnant women whose coverage is currently funded by chip. this is a terrible choice that the states shouldn't have to make and doesn't have to be that way. minnesota is not alone. five other states and the district of columbia will see their funding dry up by december and 25 more states will exhaust their funding by early next year. pretty soon thousands of families could receive notices informing them that their coverage will be terminated. imagine for a second what that moment would feel like.
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you have a son or daughter with a serious medical condition. perhaps they're even in the hospital, and you find out that their health insurance is going to be cut off because the republican-controlled congress couldn't get its act together to continue funding for a bipartisan program that has been in existence for decades. i would be livid. that's why we have to act now, mr. president. for most of this year, the republican majority has been consumed with destructive and counterproductive debates focused on repealing obamacare. they've done little else which meant that not only did we blow past the funding deadline for the children's health insurance program, we also blew through the funding deadlines for community health centers and the national health service corps program. now this critical reauthorization is on hold
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because republicans can't agree on how to pay for it. this comes just a week after republicans in the senate endorsed a budget to increase the debt by up to $1.5 trillion over ten years for tax cuts that will largely benefit the wealthiest americans. in fact, the tax policy center estimates that 80% of the benefits of the republican tax plan would go to the top 1% of income earners in this country. this is truly a case of the absurd. when it comes to providing health care for needy children and keeping americans healthy, republicans are saying they can't do it unless it's paid for and often that means making cuts to other safety net programs in which vulnerable individuals rely. but when it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy, which costs
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many, many, many times more than the cost of providing children with health insurance, my republican colleagues are perfectly happy to do that without demands for offsets, instead adding cost to the debt. this is not responsible budgeting. and it's not just kids that stand to lose under this type of budgeting approach. let me tell you about the other programs at risk in my state of minnesota. in minnesota there are more than 70 community health center clinics that receive a total of $27 million in funding to care for the uninsured and underinsured in the state. if this funding is not reauthorized soon, these community health centers and the patients that they serve are going to experience serious losses and not just financial losses. take, for example, saw tooth
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mountain clinic which provides care to some of the most isolated and rural counties up in the northeastern corner of my state in the arrowhead. sawtooth report it is would lose up to $1 million which would force them to cut back on staff and services having a drastic ripple effect across the entire community. the c.e.o. of the clinic in grand moray explains and i quote, we are the only clinic and providers in all of cook county. just parenthetically, he didn't say this. that's a big county. and also -- this is him continuing -- and also one of the only providers serving the grand portage band. that's the band of the chip chia or ejibawe. since 1965 -- this is him again -- since 1965 congress has
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provided the stable and critical funding that supports our isolated and rural communities. congress needs to do its work and it needs to act now, end quote. similarly found funding -- without funding for the national health service corps -- this is what the program does. it provides financial support and loan repayment for clinicians who practice in underserved areas. i know the presiding officer must be interested in that. alaska has some underserved areas and needs providers to serve in those areas. many providers, including those in greater minnesota won't be able to recruit or hire new staff. in a recent news article, the chief executive of minneapoli minneapolis-base network of clinics stated that the national health service corps loan repayment program offered him a
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unique bargaining chip against the larger health systems. without this program he believes he wouldn't be able to successfully compete for providers. look, i recognize how we got here and where the time and energy has been spent over the last few months. and i'm proud that we're able to abide by the will of the people and successfully stop the efforts to repeal the a.c.a. and strip health care from millions of people. i would hope that we would recognize that we have here historically bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for children's health insurance coverage and other safety net programs. it is incumbent upon us to act and act now. we have to reauthorize these programs so that minnesotans and
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millions of the families across the country are not unnecessarily and unfairly harmed as a result of our inaction. in the same news story i referred to earlier, the c.e.o. of north point health and wellness and other safety clinic -- wellness, another safety net clinic in minnesota stated, quote, there is a high degree of anxiety for staff and for some of our patients. i think congress understands that we are vital to the safety net and that we have to continue to support the community health centers, end quote. let's work together to pass this legislation so we don't let these clinics and their patients that they serve down. so it is time to act and time to act now. thank you very much, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presidin the presiding officer: the
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senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. in recent months americans have been hit by a string of natural disasters from devastating hurricanes in puerto rico, florida, and texas to catastrophic wildfires in montana, oregon, and california. earlier this week the senate voted to provide urgent relief to our communities in need. but colorado was fortunate this year. we could have easily had fires, but we were very fortunate, unlike montana this year. we know the devastation of wildfires all too well. in 2012, the waldo canyon fire raged for 14 days and destroyed over 300 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 32,000 coloradans. years later our communities are still recovering from the damage.
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out west wildfires can be catastrophic events yet washington continues to fund them differently than other major disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. when those disasters strike, we pay for emergency response from an entirely separate account. when a wildfire catches, that costs -- that cost falls entirely on the united states forest service. it's a catastrophic fire like we've seen in mon tan err and -- montana and california, that can exceed the budget for the fire suppression, that forces them to borrow from other accounts to make up for the difference, something that no one else has to do for any other disaster in america. this is often at the expense to prevent the next catastrophic fire. it stands to reason if you spend less and less on fire prevention, which is what the
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forest service is doing every year because of the way that congress has set this up, we're going to spend more and more on fire suppression, fighting fires, and that's what's happening, mr. president. it's exactly what happened. in 1995 the forest service spent around 16% of its budget on fire suppression -- 16%. last year it was over half. for the first time in the forest service history they spent over half their budget. you might as well call it the firefighting agency, not the forest agency. it was close to 60%. the forest service had to borrow half a billion dollars from other accounts in the agency, accounts important to colorado and wyoming and alaska. while we replenished those accounts in disaster aid packages earlier this year, we
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once again failed to address why they were depleted in the first place. until we do, we're going to find ourselves in the same position every year. this is no way to run a government. it makes no sense from a fiscal perspective and it makes no sense from the public welfare perspective. this is not how we should manage our taxpayer dollars. undercutting fire prevention is the definition of being penny wise and pound foolish. every dollar we spend on dlasser pre -- dlasser prevention -- disaster prevention leads to saving down the road. we need to invest in this. in colorado our forests are in terrible shape. it's not just colorado citizens that need to care about that. anybody who lives downstream of our rivers, which are states all across america, needs to care about the condition of those
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head waters. those head waters that are owned by the public in -- entrust in the forest service are in terrible shape because of this congress's inability to deal with this. we have over 800 million dead standing trees in the state of colorado alone. our communities, our watershed, our infrastructure is at risk. the forest service knows how to do this. they know how to mitigate that by thinning timber and managing prescribed burns, but right now all of those projects are on hold, mr. chairman, because the forest service anticipates having to fight more catastrophic fires next season. this is ridiculous. this is an affront to the people of colorado and the people of the west and we have a solution. it is a simple solution.
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let's pay for fire suppression the same way we pay for other disasters. in our bill, the wildfire disaster funding act would do just that. it is backed by seven democrats, and i'm very proud to say by four republicans. unlike a lot of things in washington, both parties actually agree on the solution here. and i know the administration is eager to fix this problem. secretary perdue knows the current system makes no sense. he said as much as his confirmation hearing, and again when he invited -- and i so much appreciate this. he invited -- we didn't ask -- a bipartisan group of senators to the forest service in september to discuss this. he knows that important wildfire mitigation projects are not getting done and he wants to fix the problem, and we should. it's far past time. this makes no sense from a
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fiscal point of view. i know some colleagues in this chamber would prefer to couple our proposal with broader forest management reforms, and i have been part of forest management discussions in the past, and i want to continue those discussions. in fact, in the last farm bill we worked across the aisle to improve forest management. let's be clear now, efforts to link broad forest management reform with a funding fix have failed. it won't pass the senate. each year we do anything. we continue to shortchange fire prevention, the good people that work for the forest service all across the country and our states and we expose our community to greater risk. we have to act. we have to act. colorado and the west cannot wait another year and we have a chance, when congress votes on another disaster package over the next few months, we should use that opportunity to finally
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fix this problem and put the forest service in a stronger position to prevent the next catastrophic fire. thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague from wyoming for his patience and for his leadership on the budget committee. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: while i'm disappointed that we didn't continue the kind of tradition of alternating speakers, i'm glad i got to hear both of the previous speakers. i used to work with the senators from colorado to make sure that there were pictures taken annually from the same spots to show the way that the trees were dying. there's an infestation that was causing it. the only reason we don't still do those pictures is all the trees are dead. you can't show they are spreading when they are all dead. they need to be cleaned up, and i'm glad there is work being done on forest management. on health care there's some
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effort being made between senator alexander and senator murray to get a bipartisan bill. but what we need to have around here is getting some of the appointments finished up so that the president can have the people in place to solve these problems. we're having to spend 30 hours on the cloture after a district judge. i've never heard of that. i've been here 21 years now and i have never heard of that. we just keep -- we have to get the appointments through. that's one of our prime jobs, to provide the advice and consent to the president. it's not happening on a timely basis. we've had to do 44 cloture motions on different people for the administration. in president obama's eight years that only happened five times. the previous presidents -- the previous president, it didn't happen at all, and the previous president it only happened once.
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44 times already this year it has taken us at least 30 hours to get somebody through the process and we have hundreds waiting to get through the process and that's one of our primary jobs. if we can't get those through the process, it's pretty hard for us to do the legislation that we need to do. and so today i'm going to rise to express my serious concerns on behalf of our nation's veterans. this is a huge problem in wyoming. wyoming's the least populated state in the nation. if it's a huge problem there, it has to be even greater across the country. i'm sure it's a problem in all of them. in 2014, we learned that several veterans died in arizona while staff at the v.a. medical center entered false information about their wait times, about their appointments. they kept getting delayed. later that year we found that scheduling manipulation was
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widespread, including in my state of wyoming. congress responded by creating the v.a. choice program to help veterans get help in their communities and to get it promptly. unfortunately, wyoming veterans are continuing to experience delays and limited access to care. i heard from many wyoming veterans who have been unable to receive the care they need and many providers who were unable to get reimbursed for medical services. some doctors and facilities ended their participation in the v.a. choice because it's taking too long to get reimbursed or they are unable to get reimbursed at all and they are having to do a tremendous amount of paperwork in order to even get to that final reimbursement. sometimes when they finally get payments, the check's made out to the wrong provider. time and again i hear reports of how difficult it is to get simple answer let alone care or
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provider reimbursement from the v.a. and the contractor administering the program in wyoming. the consequences of this poorly run program are ultimately borne by the veterans. in a frontier state like wyoming, losing access to one specialist can mean losing access to the only specialist in the area. sadly, wyoming veterans continue to tell me about these problems because the situation isn't getting any better. that's in spite of me having the director in my office and then having him bring his staff in who had provided the terrible statistics that they were working from. one such veteran was waiting for a surgery followup and cancer screening and can't go to the same doctor now because the v.a. choice never paid them. another veteran was not able to access vision care and another could not access necessary
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neurological care because of a reimbursement issue. i've even been conducted by -- contacted by veterans worried they will go into collections because of unpaid claims by the choice program -- not by them, but the choice program. without improvements to the program, our veterans will have to continue to wait for needed care and their quality of life will continue to be negatively impacted. i mentioned before that we're the least populated state in the country and we have so many problems that i send a weekly list to the director. i the can't imagine what it's like in a high-population state. we created v.a. choice to better serve the health care need of veterans not to create a new source of uncertainty about whether they will be able to get the care they need. that's unacceptable. it defeats the entire purpose of
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the program, and until congress steps in to improve the program, more providers will drop out of the program and more veterans will be harmed. these men and women have given our country so much and they deserve all they care in an efficient manner. the providers -- their providers need to be paid on time so the veterans can get the treatment they need. when the system fails those who never failed us, trust degrades. we can do better than this. we must do better than this. i know my colleagues on the senate veterans' affairs committee are working hard to solve these issues. i'm working with them to make sure that any new version of community care for our veterans takes into account the rural challenges that -- the challenges that rural health care faces. we owe it to them. we need to honor their selfless
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service by driving them with the care -- by providing them with the care they deserve. veterans program was considered to be one of the best-run health care programs anywhere and i heard nothing but compliments about it until the problem in arizona and then we find that the system has changed. that might be an indication of what could happen if we went to federal health care for all, but this is one area that need to be straightened out. it was a prime example of good care and it isn't. and we've got to get it restored for our veterans. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: thank you. mr. president, we have a very significant couple of votes, a vote coming up. we have scott l. palk to be a district judge in the western district of oklahoma. you know, we've been working on this for about two years now. he's one of the highest qualified individuals. i want to thank the leader for moving forward on this nomination this week. i know judicial nominations are a priority of the leaders, and i share his belief in the importance of filling the many vacancies we have with judges
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who uphold the rule of law and not predetermine outcomes and not legislate from the bench. scott palk fulfills, embodies this philosophy and i have full confidence that he'll be a judge that oklahoma and the nation will be proud of. this nomination is of great need in the western district, located in oklahoma city which has a heavy caseload. in fact, we have three vacancies on the bench there and one that has a vacancy for over four years, the other one for over three years. so this nomination is desperately needed. mr. palk was nominated last congress. it wasn't this congress. it was the previous administration. he made it through the judiciary committee by a voice vote before we ran out of time at the end of the 114th congress. we would have had this done, but we ran out of time. and he was, has bipartisan support not just last congress, but this congress, with a 17-3
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vote in judiciary. that's not very often that that happens. and he has bipartisan support back home in oklahoma too. he comes highly recommended by david boren. he was my predecessor in this seat, and he is the president of oklahoma university. he's retiring now from oklahoma university. he is a democrat. he and i actually were elected to the house of representatives in oklahoma on the same day, so we go back a long, long ways. he knows, david boren knows mr.t palk has worked at the university college of law for about 15 years. now after leaving a successful career in both the u.s. attorney's office and as a deputy, as a county district attorney, david boren said of palk, this is a democrat talking about scott palk. this is a quote. he would make an excellent
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judge, would be balanced and fair in his approach and has an excellent reputation for complete honesty and integrity. i don't know what more you would want in a judge. well, that's david boren talking, my predecessor here in the senate. i thank the clear for his commitment to fulfilling our judicial vacancies and i ask that my colleagues support the nomination, as i'm sure they will, with a yes vote for mr. palk. i 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 oklahoma. mr. lankford: i ask unanimous consent to vis rate the -- vis rate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: we are about to vote on a gentleman named scott
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palk. he is to serve as a u.s. district judge for the western district of oklahoma on may 8. he passed through the judiciary committee with bipartisan support. it has taken from june 18, going through the committee process, to finally getting to the floor in the last days of october. this is the issue that we face as a senate right now. we have an opening with a judge that's already gone through the committee process, that's already been approved, that will pass, i hope, with wide bipartisan support, but because of the ongoing delay of every nominee, of everything in the process, this is slowing down the wheels of our government across the country, whether they be judges, whether they be individuals in the executive branch working in the agencies, we're seeing a constant slowing. we've got to be able to correct this. americans will be very, very pleased when they have a chance
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to see scott palk on the bench. he will be a fair judge and comes from a great family. he will be a passionate judge just as he has been in the past. he will make the nation proud. i'm glad we have gone through this extremely long process to finally get him on and to get him seated on the bench. in the days ahead i look forward to the other positions in government being filled as well with other well-qualified individuals. mr. president, i look forward to seeing this done. and i look forward to seeing scott palk, not as scott palk, but as judge palk. with that, i yield back. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the question occurs on qirtle of the -- confirming of the -- confirmation of the palk nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
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the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? the yeas are -79d. the nays are 16. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on. the nomination of trevor n. mcfadden of virginia to be united states district judge for the district of columbia, signed
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by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been i have wad. is it the sense of the senate debate on the nomination of trevor n. mcfadden of virginia to be united states district judge for the district of columbia shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not the yeas are 85, the nays are 12, and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, trevor mcfadden of virginia to be united states district judge for the district of columbia. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: thank you, madam president. i rise today to discuss an issue that's extremely important to me and to many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, the issue of judicial vacancies.
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madam president, i came here to work and i'm honored to serve on behalf of the people of the state of nevada that sent me here to washington, and one of the most pressing issues that i found since being here is that all too often members of congress go home before their work is finished. many of you here know that the first piece of legislation that i introduced for the past two congresses is my no budget no pay act. the concept is simple. if congress can't pass a budget and all of its spending bill on time, then congress ichts should -- itself shouldn't get paid. the senate should apply the same concept to affirming judges. i confirm our majority leader for bringing two more judges to the floor this week, but there is a lot more to do. we need to work day and night to confirm those judges already on our calendar and have moved out of the senate judiciary
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committee. the senate has an incredible opportunity to confirm federal judges who will uphold the constitution, and we should be here every day for as long as we need to ensure that all judicial vacancies are filled. now, our conference must be willing to work together in order to get the business of the senate done. right now there are 149 judicial vacancies. let he repeat that. there are 149 judicial vacancies. the senate has only confirmed eight judges this conference. that means in nine months, with well over 100 vacancies and over 60 judicial emergencies, we've only managed to confirm eight judges. the minority party has undercut the confirmation process of the administration's nominees and judicial appointments. when new presidents are elected, they've always been given an opportunity to the put their team in place in short order.
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historically -- this is not just common courtesy, it's an expectation of the meernl to have a -- american people to have a seamless change of power. one of the eight judges confirmed was kneel gor -- neil gorsuch. he is an example much the type of judge that we can put in place. like his confirmation, we need to do all necessary to fill the vacancies with great judges like him. president trump has nominated many judges and has more to nominate. for those he has already nominated it is our duty to ensure these judges are confirmed in a timely manner. we must be willing to put in as much time as needed whether that means working weekends, canceling state work periods, or working all through the night to get these judges confirmed. i know this is important to all
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of us, but we need to do better. last week i was a proud partner with senator perdue in calling on the senate to work 24-7 until we get our work done. we have a substantial list of important work to complete, including confirming the judiciary committee nominees that the president -- judiciary committee nominees, fixing our tax system and funding the government. the meernl elected us to complete these tasks. they's r- elected us to make sure that our federal judiciary is fully occupied with judges whose sole purpose is to uphold the constitution as it was written. madam president, and to my fellow senators, i am calling on all of us to do what the people have sent us here to do and not let a light schedule stop us from fulfilling our duties. the american people don't go to work four days a week and
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neither should we. madam president, this isn't france. we need to work a full workweek. we must make it clear to our constituents we are fighting for hardworking americans every single day. americans do what it takes to get the job done and madam president we should do the same. with that, madam president, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, i don't often come to the floor of the senate to give a speech like the one i'm going to give now. but today plan to start sounding the alarm both from the sound point of the process and the substance on what is known about the republican tax plan as of this afternoon. this morning the house passed
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the budget so now it is on to tax. the debate, if the republicans have their way, will happen at the speed of light. if they have their way, this all could be wrapped up before most americans have even been able to put a dent in their holiday shopping. that is exactly what the majority republicans are counting on. they are rushing to drive the tax giveaway to the super wealthy, the powerful corporations, and do it so quickly that most of america really has no idea what is going
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on. it's simple. does it in a way that nobody catches on. so this afternoon, as the ranking democrat on the finance committee, i'm going to look at this from a few different angles. first the process, and then the policy that is on offer from the republicans as of right now. right off the top i'm sure that senators have heard that here in the senate, the congress, there is going to be a real debate. it's going to play out in a careful and deliberate way. there's going to be plenty of give and take. as of right now, my message to the american people is you've been fooled. don't buy that. here's what's going to happen.
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anybody who expects a repeat of the kind of bipartisan deliberate process that took place in 1986 when democrats and ronald reagan got together, they are in line for some very disappointing times. our former colleague, senator bradley, who served on the finance committee with such distinction, the key author of the 1986 reform bill, called a couple of days ago, and i explained to him what was going on. and he was just incredulous. he couldn't believe that this was going to be the process and that it would be all over in a matter of weeks, and that it wouldn't even be like health care with the debate moving in fits and starts, stretching out over months. this, if republicans have their way, as my family used to say,
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is going to be over lickety-split. and it's coming up quickly. the house plans to offer up a bill in about a week, and the ways and means committee is going to jump into action. the senate bill could come out a matter of days later, and then it would be the finance committee's turn. now as most people in the senate know, there's a normal process for these debates in committee. you usually put out draft legislation, you refine your ideas, you update your work, you share with both sides of the aisle ideas that would make sense, that get both sides to say, hey, bipartisanship is
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about taking each other's good ideas. politics is about taking each other's bad ideas. and in this case it's not about trying to make any bipartisan efforts at all. the normal process involves exercising a little patients, giving the officials at the joint committee on tax and the congressional budget office a time to really make sense of what the numbers mean. it's not washington lingo. what do the numbers mean for middle-class people, the folks who are really hurting now, walking on an economic tightrope, trying to pay bills? we ought to make sure that people are knowledgeable about this, have time to really look at the numbers and give us some general sense what this means,
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particularly for america's hardworking middle class. but for this partisan tax cut and a process that will be hyperpartisan, is designed to be an off ramp to partisanship only. republicans are just blown right by those steps that constitute the normal process i've described. the congress is headed for a debate on legislation that has the potential to reshape our entire economy at a crucial time when we understand the challenge from global competition and change. the republicans, as of now, aren't going to wait to see the facts and figures. never mind that the bill is going to affect every taxpayer in the country in one way or another, republicans have said we're going to do some leaping
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without the looking. they may not even have legislative hearings to examine the republican tax cut bill and what the impact of it could be. and that was what senator bradley was just stunned about. because he and others worked for months, months with the reagan administration trying to do what is normal, and as of now is not going to happen. what is even more ominous is if the bill clears the finance committee, the debate on the senate floor happens in a flash. that's because republicans since day one of this administration, leader mcconnell has said this repeatedly, has said they they t to use the most partisan process
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around to move the tax cut. it's another round of what's called budget reconciliation. what this comes down to is the rejection of the kind of bipartisanship that's been proven to work on tax reform. ronald reagan worked hand in hand with democrats on tax reform in 1986. the two sides brought forward their best ideas. they worked for months and months, and senator bradley told me several years. there were dozens of hearings that dug into the specifics and carefully examined the issues. after the bill came out, the committee met over 18 days to debate and vote on the amendments. there was committee consideration, what's called a markup, that lasted a total of more than 45 hours. then the bill came to the floor of the senate, and as is
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fitting for a piece of legislation that can reshape the whole american economy, debate took almost a month. that's the textbook of how you successfully write bipartisan tax reform legislation. and, by the way, that's the model where our former colleague dan coats, now a member of the trump administration, worked with me to produce a bipartisan federal income tax reform bill. but we're not going to see any of that kind of work as of now this time around. the road the majority is taking us down in 2017 makes a mockery out of the bipartisan process where ronald reagan and democrats came together. as of now there would be 20 hours of debate.
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20 hours. that's it. on a bill that would transform the bottom line for every american family and will affect the hopes and aspirations of our middle class which drives 70% of the economic activity in our country for years and years. then the debate's over, time to vote. so what i'm going to try to do here, and we'll be talking often in the days ahead, is trying to lay out what this really means for hardworking, middle-class people. because so far what we've seen is kind of one hand giveth and the other hand taketh away. the details for the top of the
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top, the megawealthy, are spelled out. and yet we don't see exactly how the middle class is not going to go into the hole. because as of now, the numbers suggest, particularly if you have a couple of children and you're in a place with eye, -- with high state and local taxes. you really could fall behind. and if we don't spell out what is actually at stake here and give the american people the opportunity to tune in and be heard, this process is just going to race by before anybody notices. and that is what republicans are
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counting on. that's because the bottom line is that when the middle class and the american people find out what is in the republican tax plan as is known today, the less they're going to like it. and there have been sort of two versions of it. the first came out, i believe it was late in the spring, it was a page long, shorter than the typical drugstore receipt. we got a bit more information a few weeks ago, but in both instances, as i've described, it looks like the middle class is going to get hurt and folks who are successful and those who are at the top of the top are going to basically get even
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more. we want americans, all americans to be successful. we want to give everybody a chance to get ahead. but we don't want tax breaks skewed to the very top. as of right now the republican tax plan is a feast for the very wealthy, and the middle class is on the menu. even the president's top campaign advisor on taxes said that republicans have made $4 trillion worth of promises in this tax proposal, perhaps even more. but because of budget rules, that price tag has got to come down to $1.5 trillion for the bill to get through the senate. that means somebody's got to pay for a whole lot of that $4
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trillion of corporate goodies and handouts to the wealthy. but republicans seem almost allergic to raising revenue by asking those at the top to pay their fair share. every proposal republicans put forward to pay for this tax giveaway to the top reaches right into the pockets of the middle class. take the elimination of the state and local deduction. it will cause pain for millions of americans across the country not just in the west, in places like california or oregon, or the northeast. it's going to hit folks in scarlet red areas that voted for the president on election day, north carolina and georgia, wisconsin and texas. then there's the plan to double the standard deduction while simultaneously getting rid of personal independent exemptions.
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when you cut out all the tax lingo, as i've said, one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away. what it means, based on the information out now, is that a family of six in medford, oregon, could see their taxes increase by thousands of dollars a year. that's a holiday surprise. my guess is people are going to say it's the nightmare before christmas if this plan becomes law. even more middle-class americans, checking on the news over the last few days, probably had the wind knocked out of them when they read that their 401(k) may be on the ropes under the republican plan. a few days ago the president said, no, don't touch the 401(k). but it seems to me like convince just can't -- like republicans just can't help themselves. and when the president was asked about it again, the new trump
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position is that middle middle-retirements are a bargaining chip to get this left sided handout through the congress. let me repeat that last part. the president said that middle-class retirements are a bargaining chip in the crusade to cut taxes for the most fortunate. nothing illustrates more clearly how this process has gone horribly wrong, and i want to make clear to the american people, watch the details. watch the details because every time a new detail leaks out, the middle class loses. so my bottom line, colleagues, is real tax reform ought to be about putting more dollars back in middle-class pockets. but right now the majority has taken a different tact. it amounts to a hunt for ways to force the middle-class to pay four the tax breaks for those at the top.
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a scheme that will explode the deficit, a con job on the middle class, failed economic policy. but it could rocket through the congress in the weeks ahead before the american people catch on. so my counsel is, everybody ought to strap in and get ready for what's coming. every step of the way in the finance committee and here on the floor, i will continue working with my democratic colleagues to fight for middle-class priorities in tax reform and i hope we'll have some from the other side of the aisle join us. we intend to keep sounding the alarm on a republican prison that, as of now -- on a republican plan, that as of now, gives trillions of dollars of handouts to those at the top while hiking taxes on millions of middle-class families. madam president, this is really, now that the house has passed
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its budget, this is kicking off the debate. and the idea that we would have a bunch of fake promises to the middle class, very specific gifts to folks at the top, and somehow unicorn theories of growth that will justify this while really creating deficits that hurt medicare and medicaid and social security and our safety net, those are the issues that the american people deserve to know more about. we are going to tell them a lot more about the details in the days ahead because we believe in tax reform that puts the middle class first, doesn't give gifts to people at the very top, the 1%, doesn't clobber medicare, medicaid, and social security, and as bill bradley said earlier this week in a conversation to me, is based on the kind of bipartisanship that a hugely
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important issue like tax reform warrants. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, at that at 5:30 p.m. monday, october 30, all postcloture time on the m mcfadening nomination be considered expired an the national vote on the nomination with no intervening action or debate. if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. further, that it be in order to move to proceed to the following nominations during today's session of the senate 1 368, 36, 432, 433. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to road to legislative session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed.
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all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider numbers 368 amy barrett. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all knows favor say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, amy barrett of indiana to be united states circuit judge for the 7th circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the
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nomination of amy coney barrett of indiana to be united states circuit judge for the seth circuit, signed by 17 -- the presiding officer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 369, joan larsen. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. joan louise larsen of michigan to be ukraine circuit judge for the sixth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a motion to the desk.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of joan louise larsen. michigan to be united states circuit judge for the sixth circuit signed id by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 432, allison he'd. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination.
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the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, allison h. eide of colorado to be united states circuit judge for the tenth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of allison h. eide of colorado to be u.s. circuit judge for the tenth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. ifer officer question is on the motion. all those in favor, say aye those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: moi to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 433, is he
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tefanos bilbis. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. stefanos bilbis of pennsylvania to be united states circuit judge for the third circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of stefanos bibis of pennsylvania to be united states circuit judge for the third circuit. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum calls for the clotures be waived. the presiding officer: is there 0 incomes without
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objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 2,ed pending cloture motions ripened following the disposition of the mcfadden nominee in addition. the presiding officer: is there 0 incomes without objection. mr. mcconnell: in my opening remarks today, i commended president trump once again for the outstanding judicial nominations he has made. and i reiterated the senate's determination once more to continue confirming them regardless of the often mindless partisan obstruction we've been seeing across the aisle. this pointless obstruction is designed simile to waste time, not to change an outcome. and it won't. it didn't stop the senate from confirming scott palk, it will not stop the senate from confirming trevor mcfadening, and it will not stop the senate from confirming even more outstanding nominees next week. you can count on it. i have filed cloture on four
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more well-qualified nominees for our nation's circuit courts. notre dame law professor amy barrett, nominee for the seth circuit. michigan supreme court justice joan larsen, nominee for the sixth circuit, colorado supreme court justice allison eide, nominee for the tenth circuit. university of pennsylvania law professor stefano bilbis nominee for the third circuit. by confirming these nominees, we can take a big step toward restoring our nation's courts to their proper role. interpreting and applying the law based upon what it actually says not what a judge might wish it to say. it's quite a departure from the last administration's philosophy when it came to selecting judicial nominees. for the last eight years we had a president who set a criterion for lifetime positions with the
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ability to empathize with certain groups over others. it came to be known as the, quote-unquote, empathy standard. that's a great standard if you're the party in the case whom the judge has empathy for. not so great if you're the other person. it also is not in keeping with the long-standing american legal traditions of applying the law equally to all. giving every litigant a fair share and ruling based on the actual meaning of our constitution and our laws, not what a judge or some preferred political constituency might wish they meant. that, i believe you is the view of the american people. president trump has done a terrific job of nominating judges who are already helping to restore the courts to their
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intended function in our system of government. the nominees we will consider next week are sure to do the same. we'll continue our efforts with consideration of the barrett nomination on monday. amy barrett is a professor of law at one of our nation's premier law schools. notre dame happens to be a catholic university. amy barrett happens to be a nominee who is a catholic and who speaks freely and openly about her faith and its importance to her. for some on the left, that seems to be a disqualifying factor for her nomination. so i would remind colleagues that we do not have religious tests for office in this country. there is no religious test for office in the united states of america. amy barrett's nomination has received outstanding reviews.
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she's clearly well-qualified for the office to which she has been nominated. as the president of notre dame recently wrote, quote, her experience as a clerk for judge silverman on the u.s. court of appeals and u.s. supreme court antonin scalia is of the highest order. so, too, is her scholarship in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. amy barrett is going to make an outstanding federal circuit court judge. so, too, will ms. larsen, ms. eids and mr. bibas. i look forward to the senate confirming autumconfirming -- cf them next week. now, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president, i have nine requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. mcconnell: i yield the floor. mr. cardin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. i rise today to address the latest mass shooting in our country. this one took place last week in my own state of maryland, in the city of edgewood, in hartford county, northeast of baltimore. in this case, the suspect gathered coworkers during work hours at his place of business, advanced granite solutions, and began shooting. he killed three coworkers and critically wounded two others who remain in critical condition at the maryland shock trauma center. the suspect then fled to
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delaware. according to an article in "the baltimore sun," he shot an acquaintance in the head at a car dealership. the victim was in stable condition and later identified his attacker to police.  the suspect was arrested after a brief foot choice. -- foot chase. this terrible shooting in maryland came a few weeks after the worst mass shooting in modern u.s. history which occurred in las vegas, nevada. this mass shooting targeting concert goers at an outdoor music festival left 58 dead and victims who are in critical condition in the hospital. i want to put a human face on this for my colleagues and talk about one marylander who was injured in the las vegas


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