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tv   U.S. Senate 11292017  CSPAN  November 30, 2017 3:45am-6:41am EST

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i recognize the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i thank the presiding officer. i listened to the minority leader's remarks. if anybody believes that we're going to be able to work together closely when they just want a -- they had us right there at the instance of socialism just a month ago and we're still right on the cusp of socialism. i hate to say it, but our democratic friends are pushing us towards socialism which has never worked anywhere in the world, and it's not going to work here. their answer to everything is big government. well, there are two different points of view here, and i have to tell you i used to be on their side when i was a young fellow, when i was raised in poverty and came up the hard way and learned a trade and became a
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journeyman metal lather, which was one of the most skilled trades at the time. i have to say that these haunting refrains were used by democrats back then too, but look at this country and the mess it's in, and it's in a mess because of their philosophy. we've got to change it. i admit with him that the business committee isn't always right and they are not always the best to spend our money, but they are sure a lot better than -- than government spending it all the time. so much for this. madam president, the senate will soon vote on the motion to proceed on legislation to reform our nation's broken tax code and to provide significant relief
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for tens of millions of middle-class families. members from both parties have worked for years on this effort, and as we move to consider this legislation, we will take another step toward accomplishing what has -- until recently anyway -- has been a bipartisan goal. i want to thank all of those who helped us advance this process, especially the members of the finance committee. i also want to thank our distinguished majority leader, senator mcconnell, for his work and leadership on this as well. we are not there yet. we have a number of steps to take, including today's vote. i don't want to put any carts ahead of any horses, but i'm optimistic that we can get a positive outcome today. our tax reform bill was crafted with the primary purpose of providing tax relief to the middle class and growth to our
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economy. to accomplish these goals, the bill lowers individual tax rates across the board. the bill also expands a zero tax bracket by nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, and increasing the child tax credit refund ability, all of which -- refundability, all of which will give -- will cut taxes for millions of middle-class taxpayers. that sounds like the right thing to do to me. some examples withs ill lus trif. under our bill, a family of four making $73,000 a year will see their taxes go down by more than $2,000 a year. now, that's a savings of more than $180 a month. overall this represents a nearly
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60% reduction in that families -- family's liability. a single family will pay one-quarter of the federal income taxes he or she may have today, an annual reduction of almost $1,400. this is real money for these families. it will bring down credit card balance -- balancesles or increase their ability to save for if the future. in addition to reducing the tax burden on low to middle income families, this bill will make filing taxes simpler. according to j.c.t., more than nine in ten american families will opt forp the standard deduction under this legislation, avoiding all together the difficult and complicated process of itemizing deductions. this means less time on tax compliance and preparation for
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millions of middle-class taxpayers. it may hurt the legal profession, but it's going to give freedom to the american people. the bill also repeals one of the most regressive taxes in american history. the obamacare individual mandate tax which overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly burdens middle and low-income families. in fact, 80% of the families that pay that tax make less than $50,000 per year. and yet this repeal has been the source of much consternation from my friends on the other side of the aisle. very more to say on -- i have more to say on that in a moment. for most businesses that pay taxes on the owner's individual reforms or pass-throughs, the bill provides significant relief in the form of a simple tax reduction applied to qualified business income. this will reduce the overall tax
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burden for pass-through businesses which are the primary engines of our job creation in the united states. in addition, our bill helps out businesses by enhancing expensing and expanding the availability of simplified cash accounting. all told, this means more expansion, more investment, and more jobs for u.s. workers employed by small businesses. make no mistake, this bill is pro-small business which is why the national federation of independent businesses, the largest small business association in the country, has enthusiastically expressed its support for our legislation. they're not stupid. they're brilliant people. they know how badly the small business community has been treated by our tax writers over the years. and they're looking forward to this legislation passing. it should probably go without
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saying at this point that the united states currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. and as a result, we are seeing businesses flee our country for more favorable tax conditions overseas while others are getting purchased by foreign companies. some of them are just giving up and letting the foreign companies take them over. that's not good for american workers. that's not good for america. both former presidents clinton and obama have spoken in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate to allow our country to be more globally competitive. now, that sentiment has been shared by countless democrats in this chamber, including the current ranking member of the finance committee and the senate minority leader. with this bill we are taking their advice by lowering the corporate tax rate to 20%.
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we also shift to a more territorial system of international tax. another idea that was explicitly endorsed in a bipartisan working group report so authored by my good friend senator schumer, by the way, who just spoke here. this shift is paid for largely through the use of a, quote, deemed repatriation, unquote. another idea supported by democrats in recent years has been that idea. and we are creating both incentives and penalties to prevent base erosion, a goal that has become clearly bipartisan during the recent waves of corporate inversions. long story short, madam president, there's quite a bit in this bill that both republicans and democrats sloo be able to -- democrats should be able to support. of course, anyone who gets their
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information solely from the statements and talking points from our friends on the other side would never get that. over the next few days, i expect we'll hear quite a few misleading claims, both about the bill and about the process that led us here. for example, i expect we'll hear that this bill is just a massive giveaway to the so-called rich. that's always the claim of the democrats. it's a gift to the so-called rich. oh, gosh, give me a break. i get so tired of that phony, lousy argument that they make all the time. they've hurt the middle class so badly in this country, it's unbelievable. my colleagues will make that claim that it's a massive giveaway to the so-called rich, even though they have the same data from the joint committee on taxation that we have, which shows pretty clearly that middle-class taxpayers will receive the largest proportional
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tax cuts under the bill and none of the existing tax burden will be shifted downward from those at the top. in fact, those in the highest bracket, according to j.c.t., the joint committee on taxation, will pay a higher percentage of the overall tax burden than they do now. i expect we'll hear that by repealing the individual mandate tax, the bill will be taking people's health insurance away and raising taxes on the poor. that claim will be made despite confirmation from congressional score keepers that nothing, nothing in the bill removes or limits anyone's access to health insurance. but the approach they're taking toward health insurance would put us into a socialized medicine situation overnight. if anybody thinks that's a great idea, i ask them to look at the
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socialized medicine countries and compare them to what we've been able to have. instead, j.c.t. and c.b.o. project that with no individual mandate, people will choose to not get health insurance, even if they still have access to premium subsidies, employer-provided plans, or even free health coverage through medicaid. this bill provides choice. it doesn't take anything away from those individuals. we can quibble with that conclusion and question whether tens of millions of people who currently have health insurance, including a few million who are currently getting it for free, will suddenly opt to go uninsured once the mandate penalty is zeroed out. given that most observers have concluded that the mandate has essentially failed to draw enough participants into the health care market to keep premiums from skyrocketing, there is room for questioning
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whether the score keepers are right on that score. however, even if they are 100% correct, no one will lose their health insurance under this bill when the mandate is repealed. anyone going uninsured will be doing so voluntarily. we're not kicking anyone off their insurance by zeroing out the individual mandate penalty, and it's a blatant distortion of reality to claim otherwise. similarly, no one's taxes will go up if the mandate is zeroed out. true enough, our score keepers have produced distribution tables showing an uptick in taxes at the low end of the income spectrum due to decreased utilization of premium tax credits offered under obamacare. my colleagues, i'm sure, will talk about this at length as well. however, i'd like to have one of them explain how a person's voluntary decision to forego a
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tax subsidy amounts to a tax hike. so far i haven't heard a serious attempt at such explanation. in fact, during a recent markup when the chief of staff at j.c.t. sat at the table and told my colleagues that no one will owe a dime in additional taxes as a result of the individual mandate repeal, none of my colleagues disputed this conclusion. instead, they opted to ignore it, even after they were shown a j.c.t. table showing that if the behavioral effects of the mandate repeal are removed from the equation as they should be when we're talking about taxes owed, every income group will see their taxes go down under this bill. i hope our colleagues and those watching will remember these facts when they're evaluating the claims being made by some on the other side.
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madam president, we have a good bill here under the circumstances, and i believe members of both parties, if politics were removed from consideration, could support it. we've gotten significant support throughout the business community with associations and companies from almost every industry and secto sector, publy and support of the reforms in this bill. i know some of my republican colleagues have concerns, and i've been committed to working with them to see if improvements can be made. and as this process moves forward, we may have to make a few more changes. this, of course, is how the legislative process works. our process is designed to produce legislation that reflects the combined views that interests of a majority senators and more importantly the constituents they represent. as with any legislative endeavor
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of real significance, the perfect should not be considered the enemy of the good. as i've said before, i've been around long enough to know that anyone demanding perfection when it comes to major legislation is bound to be waiting a very, very long time. and likely won't accomplish much. before i close, madam president, i want to underscore how much of the once in a generation opportunity this is. we need to get this done. the cost of failure and continuing with the status quo are just too high. the american people deserve a tax system that provides greater opportunity, a stronger economy, and better jobs. we need a tax code designed to work for the world of 2017 and beyond. our bill will accomplish these goals. we need to take this next step so we can continue the work. so i urge all of my colleagues
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to vote yes on the motion to proceed. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island reed reed thank you, madam president -- mr. reed: thank you, madam president. two weeks i rise to urge my colleagues on the other side to reject the partisan and fiscally irresponsible tax proposals in the so-called tax cuts and jobs act. i asked them to remember that when it comes to our responsibility to plan for a nation's long-term economic future. we are here to cooperate and also to secure opportunity and security for future generations, not to serve the short-term interests of partisan politics. today i regret to say that the process around the republican tax bill has only become more rushed, more partisan, more bitter, and less transparent. my republican colleagues wrote this bill behind closed doors, held no serious hearings or debate, and even now are
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planning to make substantial changes to the final bill that we will vote on before we have even had the benefit. a comprehension -- benefit of a comprehensive nonpartisan score of its cost. we all know better than to believe that this irresponsible process will lead to a responsible or sustainable outcome. therefore, because it is clear that this bill is an unprecedented giveaway to the wealthy corporations and individuals at the expense of poor, sick, elderly, and middle-class americans and because it will drive out trillions of dollars, drive this nation trillions of dollars further into debt, i strongly urge my colleagues to reject this bill and work with both sides of the aisle to craft tax reform that will help rather than burden future generations and the middle class. the only future generations this bill appears to take into account are the children and grandchildren of the wealthiest families of the united states, including president trump's family and the families of the
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wealthiest cabinet ever assembled by any president. according to the nonpartisan tax policy center, half of all the households and two-thirds of households making between $5 $54,700 and $93,200 would see their taxes go up under the current republican bill. that is half of all households and two-thirds of households make between those numbers would see their taxes go up under the current republican bill. individuals will struggle to get by because of sickness or the unavailability of well-paying job opportunities would lose tax exemptions and advantages that would help them stay afloat. many americans who played by the rules will open their paycheck to see a little more taken out every month but not for their benefit. on the other hand, for the 5,000 american families, 5,000 american families with fortunes in the millions of dollars or more, the republican plan to
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repeal or drastically curtail the estate tax could on its own funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to those few who need it the very least. the mere idea that we would raise taxes for tax cuts to the wealthiest epitomizes how this is at odds with our value and the trillions of dollars this bill will add to the deficit will lead to deep cuts in earned benefits like social security and medicare as well as our national defense. indeed, major cuts to defense historically follow tax cuts and this is almost precisely why we have an estate tax in the first place. our nation first enacted estate taxes to pay for military conflicts without driving the nation deeply into debt. starting in 1797 and continuing through the civil war, spanish-american war, and world
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war i, estate taxes were used to offset the cost of war. it was kept to counter the massive growth of inequality, something that we're seeing today on a more intense scale. the estate tax was a critical source of revenue that softened the blow of the great depression. prior congresses saw it as their responsibility to pay america's bills at home and abroad. they did not leave years of war on america's line of credit nor did they expect the poor to pay while the rich took a tax cut. there were times when a deficit was necessary, but no generation has faced what we do now. 16 years of deficit finance military conflict with no end in
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sight, compounded by the bush tax cuts for the wealthy that never paid for themselves despite represented republican promises. before we give the wealthiest americans another tax cut at the expense of our children and our children's children, we need an idea of how we will handle trillions of dollars in compounding war debt, not to mention the trillions more we must spend to maintain and modernize our military and address the basic needs that have gone unfund. that is why i will file a motion on the bill to reinstate the estate tax at current levels and place all of the revenue generated by it into a trust fund. those funds, which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade, will be devoted to address the opioid epidemic here at home. this motion not only restores
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the estate tax, but it also makes a much-needed downstatement on the domestic agenda. this shjust one -- the bill sabotages a health care system by repealing an individual mandate which could through 13 million americans off their health insurance and increase premiums for others. yet again the 130 million americans with preexisting conditions must fear that their premiums will skyrocket or they will be left with no options at all. the poor and sick may find fewer options as this bill forces billions of dollars of cuts to medicare because of the massive deficits it will produce. do not tell me this bill will pay for itself with growth. i've served in this body long enough to know that trickle-down economics doesn't work. economists have said that this will balloon the debt and not
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create enough growth to offset it. sysco, pfizer, and coca-cola said that they will use the gains from the corporate tax cuts to pay shareholders rather than raise wages for the middle class. we are making decisions here that will guide the largest economy in the world. wele simply cannot roll the -- we simply cannot just roll the dice. it remains my hope that my republican colleagues will choose to work with democrats on tax reform that is bipartisan, reasonable, and in keeping with our responsibility to lead this nation better than we found it. we can and should address other domestic priorities in dire need like our nation's infrastructure, the economic security of children and seniors and sustainable employment for the middle class. i and my colleagues are ready to work in god faith on -- good faith on tax reform, but we cannot do that until we abandon
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the recklessness that led to this republican tax bill. mr. president, we are all here and committed to defend our nation, but this bill will make it virtually impossible to do what we know we must do. there are unavoidable costs in our national security that are not even counted in this bill. we are committed, frankly, and we have done so on the armed services committee, to increase the size of our military forces. every additional 10,000 service members costs roughly $1.8 billion per year. where will we get that money when we're going $1.5 trillion in debt to provide tax cuts for the wealthiest americans? we want a 355-ship navy. there have been estimates that it will create $1 there will a year. where will we get that when we have given $1.5 trillion to the
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wealthiest americans. we have to modernize our submarines and aircraft. there are estimates that will costs dz 400 billion -- $400 billion per year. where will we get that since we have given $1.5 trillion to the wealthiest americans many we have overseas operations in iraq. over a 10-year period, $10 billion needs to be paid. syria, that's $13 billion. if we stay there for ten years, and that seems to be the present policy, that's $130 billion. we pay $50 billion to support the afghan operation, and we're going to stay there apparently under the current procedure, not based on time, but conditions, that's another 10 years. add that up, about $640 billion in the next ten years just to maintain the situation in those three countries. when you total this all up -- and these are not costs that we
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can ignore, or if we do, we'll be turning our back on the policy announced by this president and this congress. in fact, strongly by my republican colleagues. let's -- that's several billion dollars. where's the money going? and we don't have a situation we had in 2001 when president george w. bush proposed his proposal. we don't have an expected $5 trillion surplus. we already have a multitrillion dollar deficit over ten years and we're adding to that deficit and we know we have to maintain the military. anyone who is voting for this bill is essentially saying, you know, i'll talk a good story about supporting national security, but when it comes down to the money, it's going to go to the wealthiest americans, to estate tax, to the wealthiest
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americans taking out the alternative minimum tax. it won't be there unless we borrow it from future generations to fund the things that we know we have to fund to defend america. is this just absolutely irresponsible, and as a result, i would hope that we could regain our senses, sit down and deal on a bipartisan basis with tax reform that could help all of us, could, indeed, even begin, after 16 years, to put real money into our national defense rather than borrowing it for future generations. again, this bill is not only not economically wise because it will not generate growth. it is irresponsible because we will be put in a position where we will be choosing very shortly in the next several years whether we're going to cut federal defense, social
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security, or whether we're going to cut everything because the deficit is growing so large. i don't think we should put ourselves in that positio the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. madam president, the american people have gotten a lot of lip service over the past 10 months. remember draining the swamp, fighting for middle-class americans? the president forgot after filling the cabinet with a who's who of wall street, or how about every single american having better health care. that was before the president kicked people off of coverage, increased costs for millions more, and gut protections for people with preexisting conditions. you would think it would be tough to top all of that. but here we are watching republicans twist themselves into knots trying to convince
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hard working families that the republican tax plan is anything but a high-priced give away to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations. it is a give away paid for my the middle class and those who can least pay for it. i'm glad that the phones are lighting up demanding to know how anyone who is representing them could put their name on this terrible partisan fast-track bill because they see the same nonpartisan reports we all do. they know that expert after expert has confirmed what we all know -- the republican tax plan will hurt millions of every day americans, including those who are already falling behind in an economy that tilts further and further in favor of the wealthiest few. they know the republican tax
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plan takes money out of their pockets. they know it guts their health care by spiking premiums and leaving millions of americans without the coverage they need. they know it papers over our nation's family leave problem instead of giving corporations a massive giveaway and leaving families in a lurch. they know it leaves trillions of dollars in thaicial debt setting up, once again, the perfect foil for them to go after medicare, medicaid, and social security and other middle-class priorities when that bill comes due. the senate republican tax bill adds a backdoor attempt to open the arctic national wildlife refuge to drilling for oil just for good measure. madam president, republicans are even trying to pay for tax cuts for those at the top by sabotaging families' health care in this bill in a way that
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spikes premiums, causes 13 million people to lose their coverage, and creates more chaos in the health care system. and i know they are claiming that the bipartisan bill i reached with chairman alexander can somehow fix this if it is signed into law and that other bipartisan legislation to help states cover the costs of enrolling very sick patients might help too, but let me make they clear that is wrong. this is the classic example of trying to fit a square peg into a round cold and would be cold comfort to people across the country who are struggling to get the care they need while at the same time watching massive corporations get more tax breaks that they don't need. madam president, if anyone was still under any illusion that republicans are concerned about the middle class orifice cal responsibility or even regular order, that ends here and now. this is shameful and wrong, but i have to say, it is not too
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late. so i say this to my republican colleagues -- let's move right now to the bipartisan work we know our constituents actually want and expect. let's return to a process that allows a true debate about our values. let's talk about our ways to grow the economy from the middle out. things like accessing high-quality child care and pre-k and providing meaningful paid family leave for every american, making college more affordable, investing in retirement security for our workers, making health care more affordable, more accessible. those are the kinds of conversations that we should be having. those are the people we should be investing in. we will not stop reminding you all that every day until you give up this cruel tax plan. thank y the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you.
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madam president, president trump and the republican leadership is on television every day telling the american people how this tax bill is going to help the middle class, how it was written for the middle class. unfortunately, i will not shock too many people by suggesting that what president trump is saying is not truthful. this legislation, according to independent studies, will provide 60% of the benefits to the top 1%. so we are living in a moment in american history where we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, where the top one-tenth of 1% now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, where three people -- three
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wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of the american population, and yet my republican colleagues believe that this is a moment in which 60% of the benefits of this so-called tax reform bill should go to the 1%. meanwhile, millions of middle-class families will end up paying more in taxes. so we have a situation where the wealthy who need tax breaks the least will benefit the most, and many millions of struggling working class and middle-class families will end up paying more in taxes at the end of ten years. madam president, the president
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of the united states and my republican colleagues tell the american people that trickledown economics, giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, will expand the economy, will create new jobs, and will pay for the deficit that this legislation brings about. and the simple truth is that trickledown economics is a fraudulent theory. it has failed miserably in kansas where it has been most recently put into effect. it failed under the reagan administration. and it failed under the administration of george w. bush. but what interests me the most, madam president, is that my
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republican colleagues will not tell the american people how they are going to be paying for the $1.4 trillion increase in deficits that this bill creates. you have a $1.4 trillion increase in deficits. how is that going to be paid for? and my view is without doubt that as soon as this legislation is passed, the republicans will come back and they'll suddenly rediscover their religion about deficits, and they will go before the american people saying we need, quote, unquote, entitlement reform. or we need welfare reform. so let me translate for you what entitlement reform means. it means that when millions of
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older workers have nothing in the bank saved up for retirement, they're going to propose massive cuts to social security. now, we don't know exactly the form that it will take. maybe they'll want to raise the retirement age forcing older workers to work more before they can get their social security benefits. maybe they will cut back on cost-of-living increases through a so-called chain c.p.i. which means lower benefits. they're going to go after medicare. maybe their idea will be to privatize medicare, convert it into a voucher program, and say to older americans, here's the check for $8,000. you go out and find the private insurance that you can, and good
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luck to you if you're dealing with heart disease or cancer with your $8,000 check. and they will no doubt come back to slash medicaid. now, these are not just wild ideas that i have been thinking about. this is pretty much what was in the budget the republicans voted for right here on the floor of the senate. they have already voted for a trillion-dollar cut over a ten-year period to medicaid. and that means massive reductions in health, not only for lower-income americans, not only for children, but for people in nursing homes. they have already voted in the budget over a ten-year period to cut medicare by $470 billion. and in the house, they are working hard to figure out ways
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to cut social security and the republicans will also make massive cuts to education, to nutrition, to environmental protection. the other day i sent a letter to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and to the speaker of the house paul ryan. and what i asked of them was to be honest with the american people. this is what i said, mr. president, and i ask that this letter be put into the congressional record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: thank you. and this is what i asked. i said that, quote, i am very concerned that if you succeed in passing tax legislation that significantly adds to our
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national debt, you will then move aggressively to balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. in other words, in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich and large corporations, you will make massive cuts to social security, medicare, medicaid, nutrition, environmental protection, and every other program designed to protect the needs of the middle class and working families of our country. before the senate votes on tax legislation that adds over $1.4 trillion to the deficit -- and this is what i wrote to the majority leader -- you owe the american people a specific and detailed explanation as to how the republican congress will achieve its commitment of balancing the budget over the next decade. will you schedule a vote to
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raise the eligibility age of medicare from 65 to 67 as called for in the house budget resolution? will you attempt to end medicare as we know it by giving seniors vouchers to purchase private health insurance, something long supported by speaker ryan? how much will you cut social security? will you try to increase the retirement age to 70? cut cost f living adjustment -- cost-of-living adjustments for senior citizens and veterans? will you support legislation kicking 15 million americans off of health insurance? as you know, this was a provision included in the republican budget resolution that was passed earlier this year. how much do you plan on cutting affordable housing, pell grants,
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wick, and head start to pay for a permanent tax break for profitable corporations? end of quote. now, that is what i wrote to the majority leader. and my challenge right now to my republican colleagues is i ask you come down to the floor of the senate and tell me that i am wrong. come down here and tell the american people that if this legislation, this disastrous tax bill passes, that you will not be coming back to cut social security, medicare, medicaid, nutrition, education, and other programs. maybe i am wrong. and if republicans come down here and say bernie, you're wrong. we have no intention of cutting social security, medicare, and medicaid, i will come here, mr.
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president, and i will apologize. so my challenge right now to my republican colleagues, come down here, tell me, tell the american people that i am wrong. tell us all that you're not going to cut social security, medicare, medicaid, and education in order to deal with the $1.4 trillion deficit that you bring about in this disastrous tax bill. tell the american people that you're not going to cut programs that the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor desperately need in order to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations. that is my challenge, and i will be listening eagerly to see if there are any republicans who are going to come down and tell me that what i'm suggesting is wrong. and with that, mr. mr. presiden.
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the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. thank you for your comments and also thank you for sitting in the chair so i could step down and speak briefly. i i wasn't -- i wasn't sure if i was going to speak. i don't have any notes, but i was inspired by some of the comments made by the senator from vermont as i was presiding. for those who are visiting the d.c. area, if you don't get an opportunity to go to any of the theaters at the kennedy center, don't worry because you're seeing a lot of theater here on the senate floor. anybody who would suggest that we're going to come back and cut my mother's medicare and my mother's social security and the mothers and brothers and sisters of other people who are depending on that for their livelihood is somewhat involved in political theater. so some people heard the challenge to have a republican come down here and say on the floor, bernie, you're wrong.
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well, the distinguished senator from vermont is wrong. this bill is actually about providing freedom and tax relief for working families so the economy will grow. now, i can understand why maybe it's not intentional theater on the part of some of these folks. it may be because they've simply never done it before. but if you've ever lived in income -- in north carolina or since 2011, you know that we have did. i have seen it before. we were the sixth-highest taxed state in the nation, one of the slowest growing economies. we were having a problem paying our bill. we had a $2.5 billion structural deficit. i heard the theater on the floor, if you cut taxes, you're going to drive up the deficit, you are going to -- if you cut
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taxes, you are going to drive up medicaid. i heard it all. everybody accused us for that. i hit the gavel and ratified tax reform. guess what happened. we went from number six to being one of the best. we went from being one of the worst performing state economies to one of the best many we have reduced people in poverty and statistically. we can prove it to you. we do the counts. the number of people who have been lifted out of poverty have increased -- has increased each of the last three years. median intersection has gone up, our gross domestic product has almost gone up over the past five or six years by $80 billion. we were at $400 billion, now we're at $480 billion. i'll tell you how we will pay the for the tax cuts. we will not pay for them by cutting taxes to seniors or medicare. we will pay them if we fulfill
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the courage -- fulfill the promise we made to american people. we will get our tax policy consistent and competitive with nations that are eating our lunch on locating business expansion and having businesses come offshore away from the united states to a more preferable tax jurist dictions -- jurisdictions. i have been in a position of leadership when i had great people in my caucus who had the courage to fulfill a promise i made if i became speaker of the house. now we can do the same thing for the people of america that we did for the people of north carolina. now let me reduce it down to an answer i gave a little boy yesterday. i think he was in fourth grade. i had a skype video conference with english as a second language class at an elementary school down in north carolina.
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i had one of the little boys ask me a great question, a question i never have had asked of me. i have only been if politics for about 12 years. but he said, what's the -- what piece of legislation were you most proud of? what's the thing that you were most proud of since you've been in the legislature? and i thought about t it was tough question because i think of many things that i've done. but then i went back to this little boy an the classroom and i said, you know what, buddy, it was something i did back when i was speaker of the house in north carolina. and no one -- and by the way, if any politician tells you, i did this, they're invariably not telling you the truth because you don't get anything done unless the team committed to it. so i along with a lot of people down in north carolina decided that if your parents could not afford to pay your bills, they were having a difficult time paying the utility bills, the rent and the grocery, paying for food, so we decided that we were going to do something to make sure that government gave your parents more money to make sure that you could go to school, to make sure that they could pay
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their bills, to make sure that they could have a better-paying job. and, buddy, that's the thing i'm most proud of. that thing i'm most proud of was tax reform that produced results that are indisputable. i've soon the theater before, and it didn't work out too well because it proved to to be fiction in north carolina. if we have the courage to take that same vote here, we're going to see the same results for those working families and job employers in the united states. so i hope that all of the members of this body recognize that we're not going to fund this -- the tax cuts on the backs of people that need the help the most. that's absurd. it's unfair, it's theater. we're going to take care of them and we're going to take care of everybody else who's relying on us -- this caucus -- to fulfill the promise we made, get the economy back on track, start winning more than losing against our international competition, and i'm completely convinced that the bill that's going to be before us over the end of this
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week is going to do just that. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, i want to the thank my colleagues who are on the senate finance committee and the senate budget committee for getting us to the point we're at today. i think we're approaching a vote to move to full debate on the tax bill. absolutely amendable by every idea that has anything to do with taxes and raising money. and so people will have every right to be heard. it's been a process that has gone on for a long time. but what we've seen happen over the last three decades, after an incredible effort in 1986 to simplify the tax code, to bring it up to date, to make it competitive, what we've seen happen is a tax code that gradually has gotten more and more complicated. too many loopholes that don't seem to be fair to everybody involved.
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it's not as much sometimes the tax rate you're paying as your understanding that somebody else has figured out in a competitive business or not even the same business, how to find that tax loophole that meant they weren't paying their fair share of the taxes. and our tax code depends on a sense of fairness. it depends on a sense of equity. the out-of-date tax code means that some of the rates, particularly in international competition that might have been just fine 30 years ago, just simply aren't fine today. other countries have continued to reduce their taxes, understanding like many of our states do in this country, that tax policy that works means an economy that grows. and many of our competitors figured that out, and right now we have a chance to join them and figure it out as well. so there's a chance here to make a generational change that will last for, i would hope at least a generation, as the structure.
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we can do that by lowering corporate rates which in 1986, before either one of us got to congress and a decade or more at least, in 1986, 35% was kind of in the middle of the countries we compete with. in 2017, it's at the very top of the tax structure of the countries we compete with. and even though they're well below us now in the tax burden they put on companies that compete with us, they're lowering their corporate rate already, even the middle will soon be, as it turned out to be in the last three decades, the middle will be the top. but at least this gets us back to the middle, shifting to a territorial system where if you make money in another country, there's no penalty to bring it back here. mr. president, there is no doubt that we will bring hundreds of billions of dollars
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back to the united states economy if we pass this bill. some of the estimates are we may bring $2 trillion back. you know, we've had stimuluses in the past decade where every steam got $100 or something like that and thought that was a big stimulus. a $1 trillion stimulus, a $2 trillion stimulus, unbelievable in that money that's been sitting someplace else by companies who want to invest it here but who weren't going to bring it back under the old tax system. if they had brought it back their shareholders would have probably removed men and women from the leadership in the company -- removed them from the leadership in the company because it would have not have been good business but it will be good business to bring them back if we pass this bill. we'll allow immediate expensing. spend the money now and get credit for it now. those kinds of things grow the economy. it will make us more competitive worldwide. it will grow investment. and when those two things
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happen, higher-paying jobs have always followed and will follow here. we're stuck in eight or nine years now of no growth in family income for hardworking families. the way to change that is, one, to take some of the tax burden away right now. and we're doing that in this bill. but two, to be sure that we create more competition for the hard work and the skills that they take to the workplace with them every day. we know that growth stemming from tax reform will have a positive impact on voters and they'll see the share of what's happening in the economy that, frankly, they haven't seen in the past. families in your state, families in my state need this kind of opportunity, and job creators need this kind of relief. last month the council of economic advisors estimated that the average household income
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would increase by $4,000 annually based on reducing the corporate rate to 20%. and the economy, of course, will grow in response to that. another study by a harvard professor and former reagan advisor, martin feldstein, found a 20% corporate tax rate would deliver a wage boost about $3,500. whether it's $3,500 one estimate, $4,000 another estimate, that makes a real difference to families that haven't seen an increase in their pay in a long time. this bill is supported by a majority of small businesses, the real engine that drives the economy. there's a section called 179 expensing. any time you start talking like a cpa, you're in trouble. but that 179 expensing for small and medium-size businesses, family farms and others lets you
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expense immediately when you add it to investment, when you bought a piece of farm equipment, something like that. all of that is enhanced in this bill. the way we keep track, accounting i don't think is the most exciting thing to talk about in the world, but this allows the kind of counting measures that businesses say they need to really simplify how they report, how they do business. and that is right here. there are some specific missouri examples just like there are in every one of our states. jim sheldon who owns a business, d.t. engineering, a manufacturing company in lebanon, missouri, they produce industrial automation systems. and when jim was interviewed by the national association of manufacturers and asked what tax reform would mean to his company in terms of investment, hiring, growing his business, he just said it means more business. this is a quote.
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his quote is, more business, bringing work back to the united states will increase order rates, inventory and development. it will create growth for d.t. engineering. jim also said that benefits from tax reform will allow him to -- again his quotes -- reinvest and reinvent. spend more money in what they're doing and figure out ways to do it better. mr. president, that's how you compete. mike decola who owns the business h.b.m. holdings in solution was also interviewed by n.a.m., the national association of manufacturers, people who make things. any time we get into that economy and strengthen that economy, we strengthen take-home pay.t but he was interviewed by n. amie. he was asked what this tax reform would mean to his business. he said, quote, tax reform will unleash investment, not just for us, but for our customers.
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that's where his quote ends, but that's a really important point to understand. when everybody is doing better, whatever you're doing is likely to get better as well. not only does the business get better for you, but suddenly the people you sell things to are more interested in also innovating and investing and improving. senate bill also recognizes a couple tools that really help us go in and revitalize areas that aren't doing so well. one called new market tax credits. new market tax credits have provided an effective incentive for the private sector to invest in communities outside the economic mainstream. now, these are usually communities that already have the sewer system and sidewalks and electrical systems. but they have building that no longer serve the purpose that they used to serve. and new market tax credits look at those buildings and other
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areas in our -- and in our state in missouri, new market tax credits have finance add manufacturer in hazelwood, a heating manufacturer in cuba, missouri, a plumbing fixture manufacturer, the first grocery store in more than a generation in pavesdale, missouri. this bill also recognized the importance of tax credits. talking to a businessman in st. joseph about that he made the point that st. joseph is an ordinarily community, an historic community, the westward movement, the wagon trains that outfitted there 150, 175 years ago. the stockyards thrived after the civil war. but those old buildings, many magnificent buildings, didn't
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have the kind of use that they used to have, but over the past ten years, historic tax credits have leveraged almost$100 million in tax credits in those elder buildings. restore and revitalized, distressed areas of a city -- a recent example is the restoration of a german-american building in st. joseph in the downtown asian a building that wouldn't have been able to be saved -- in the down town area, a building that wouldn't have been able to be saved without some special assistance was made available because of historic tax credits. and again not only is the historic building saved. but all of the services that were already there that served that building, wasn't being used, now serve a building that is being used. and they don't have to be replaced. the bottom line, mr. president, is this is a bill that will create a better future for
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american families, a better future for american jobs. this is an opportunity to do something that is hard to do and it only gets done once every 25 or 30 years. this is the moment. it is time to do this. we'll have a debate on the floor that lets everybody make every reasonable amendment -- reasonable -- not that it might be reasonable to do it, but reasonable in that it deals with taxes. and you figure out some way to pay for it. so you reduce something here, add something there. that's what this debate will be. we've talked about this for years and intensely for months. it is time to get the job donald trump and i the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i don't need to tell anybody that american families have had a tough time in recent years. weak economic growth, stagnant wages and a lack of
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opportunities have left many americans struggling just to get by s. -- get by. but a fine point on that, mr. president, during the entire years of the obama presidency, there wasn't a single year where the growth rate in the economy exceeded 3%. if you go back to the end of world war ii, oonge -- average economic growth in this country averaged somewhere in the 3% to 3.5% range. in the entire eight years of the obama presidency not a single year, not one year where economic growth exceeded 3%. what did that mean for american workers? it meant that their wages stayed flat. in many cases up until recently american families haven't had a pay raise for the better part of a decade as a result of a sluggish, anemic, slow-growth economy that wasn't creating the good paying jobs or wage levels
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that allowed american families to benefit from increasing incomes. a recent survey found that 50% of americans consider themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck, and that makes perfect sense if you look at the economic statistics, the economic record of the past eight years. about a third of those same americans say they're just $400 away from a financial crisis. well, mr. president, real help is on the way. this week we will bring the senate version of comprehensive tax reform to the senate floor. the legislation that we have produced will provide immediate direct relief to hardworking americans. but that's not what you're hearing of democrats. here's what you're hearing democrats say about the senate plan. and i'll just contrast that with the facts, what's really true. mr. president, here's what you've heard. that republicans have somehow drafted this secret tax plan behind closed doors and forcing it through the voting process much too fast.
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no doubt you've heard this as well. the senate tax bill raises taxes on the lower and middle-class americans while cutting taxes for the rich. here's an interesting attack coming from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle as well who have in the past not been considered budget hawks. that the senate tax bill somehow is a budget buster that irresponsibly increases the deficit. well, first off, let me address that question, mr. president. the answer to the deficit question is that this is a $5.5 trillion tax cut. 70% of the tax cut is paid for by ending loopholes and special exemptions in the tax code today, what we call base broadenners, it broadens the base by doing away with some of the preferences that exist in the code today. the joint committee on taxation says that with a static score, we will have about a $1.4 trillion delta to cover. well, assuming that we use current tax policy -- and we
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normally do extend current tax policy -- we believe the remaining cost of the tax cut will be covered through increased economic growth. what does that mean? what kind of growth do we have to achieve in the economy in order to have the kind of growth that would enable this tax relief above and beyond what we've done in terms of base broad ners and pay-fors to be covered? the congressional budget office is forecasting 1.8% growth over the next ten years. again as i mentioned earlier, we didn't have good growth in the last eight years under the obama administration. we were averaging 1.5% to 2% growth and the congressional budget office is forecasting currently 1.8% growth for the next ten years. well, i can't believe that that would be acceptable to people in this country, mr. president. the greatest economy on the face of the earth growing at less than 2% a year, that cannot be
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the new normal. we have to do better than that. well, if we get just 2.2% to 2.4% growth with this bill, we will have covered the remaining cost of the tax cut. the amount that i pointed out earlier is not covered in terms of base broadeners and pay fors and offsets that assumes a reasonable amount of growth to get the growth necessary to cover the cost of that tax cut is 2.2% to 2.4%. again, put in perspective going back to the end of world war ii, the economy in this country has averaged 3% to 3.5% growth. it's only in the last decade where we've had heavy taxes, heavy regulations, policies that have created conditions that are not favorable for that kind of growth where we've the gotten stuck in this malaise of 1.5% to 2.%. if we can get 2.2% to 2.4% growth in the economy, we will cover the remaining cost of this tax cut. in reality, mr. president,
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what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when they say that this is going to add to the deficit, they're saying that our country cannot grow at 2.2% to 2.4% a year for the next ten years. they've gotten used to the low, slow, sluggish, anemic growth and have accepted that as the new normal. mr. president, i don't accept that as the new normal. the american people shouldn't accept that as the new normal because we are selling our country, the greatest economy in the world, woefully short when we find it satisfactory that the economy can grow at less than 2%. as i said, since world war ii we've averaged over 3% growth. mr. president, after such a long period of stagnant growth, i understand how my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are resigned to accept this as the new normal, but i think i can speak for all of our republican colleagues here when i say that we can do much better than we did during the obama
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years. we can and will grow at a faster rate on account of this tax reform bill. why? because when you reduce taxes, you allow people to keep more of what they earned. instead of growing the government in washington,d.c., you start growing the economy. when you reduce taxes on businesses, those businesses invest. they expand their rption 0s. when they expand their operation, it means they have to hire new people. the demand for labor raises the price of labor. wages go up. paychecks get bigger. that's what happens. it also means the government generates more revenue. when the economy is growing at a faster rate, people are, they're working, they're paying taxes. people who have invested are taking their realizations and that raises tax revenues in this country. we can and will grow at a faster, mr. president, if we can put the right economic policies in place starting with this tax reform bill. we can create those new good-paying jobs, keep existing jobs from moving overseas, and we can see wages in this country
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go up and finally give americans a much-needed break in their paychecks. mr. president, we can get the economy growing again and generate enough revenue to cover the remaining 30% cost of this tax reform bill. this bill has been put together after many, many years of hearings and work. democrats argue that this is somehow cooked up in a short amount of time, but i joined the senate finance committee in 2011. since i went on the committee, we've had 70-plus hearings on tax reform. two years ago, in 2015, the chairman of the that committee, senator hatch, created a number of working groups to examine various aspects of the tax code. i had the privilege of chairing one of those groups along with senator cardin, a democrat on the other side of the aisle, and we looked at and examined the business part of the tax code to try and determine what sorts of recommendations we
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could make that would get the economy growing at a faster rate and generate those better-paying jobs. there were five groups like that all of which made recommendations, much of which forms the basis for the tax bill that we are considering today. so we have been working on this for years, mr. president, to get to where we are today. a lot of thought, a lot of analysis, a lot of work has gone into the legislation that we will be voting on later this week. mr. president, we made it a focus of this tax reform legislation, delivering meaningful tax relief to middle-class families who we believe know better how to spend their money than the federal government here in washington, d.c. does. if we can make the american families' paycheck bigger, they can decide what they want to do to help themselves and their families save for college education perhaps, save for a more secure requirement, take care of the daily needs that they have in their lives.
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the fundamental premise is that we trust the american people to make those decisions and that we believe after the last decade of stagnant wages and a slow and sluggish economy, that they deserve a pay raise, that they deserve to have a bigger paycheck than they do today. and so reducing tax rates, doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, which were all features of the senate bill, all benefits of the senate bill, are things that will help allow these families to keep more of what they earn. the average family in this country under this legislation that we will consider -- when i say average family, typical family of four, combined annual income of $73,000, will receive a $2,200 -- i should say tax cut as a result of this tax legislation. that's a 60% tax cut over what they are paying today under current law. so, mr. president, if you look at the way this impacts
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middle-class families in this country, doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, lowering rates are all policies that will inure to the benefit of middle-income families in this country. they deserve to keep more of what they own. they deserve bigger paychecks. this tax cut will do that for them in addition to creating the growth in the economy that we need to see if we're going to get those better-paying jobs generated and get wages back up to where american families are enjoying a higher standard of living and higher standard of life than they are today. we need to get back to 3.5% growth. we can do that with the right policies. it starts by passing the kind of tax reform that we have in front of us today that will lower rates on businesses, lower rates on families, double that standard deduction, double that child tax credit and allow american families and american workers to get the benefit of keeping more of their
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paychecks, more of the hard-earned money in their own pockets and the benefit of higher wages that will come with a stronger, more robust economy that's growing at a faster rate than what we see today. mr. president, that's what's at stake in the discussion over tax reform. i hope that before the week is out that we will get the votes that are necessary to pass this, to go to conference with the house of representatives who have already passed their version of tax reform, and to put a bill on the president's desk that he can sign into law before the end of this year that moves us in a direction that provides meaningful tax relief for middle-income families in this country and create the conditions favorable for economic growth that will create better-paying jobs and higher wages. the american people deserve better than 1 .5% to 2% growth. they deserve a pay raise, not a mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i rise too speak about the taxpayer plan we will be voting on tomorrow, likely in the middle of the
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night and definitely without much-needed debate, oversight, and transparency as it should have. i think everyone in this chamber agrees that we need to fix our tax system so that it doesn't do -- keep doing so much difficulty for our working families in our states. if this bill actually did that, it would be real reform and it would be bipartisan. however, this plan does not seek anything close to the type of relief that regular working people need. instead, what it did is this. it pays back wealthy donors and lobbyists through corporate welfare, and it does this at the expense of the middle class. in other words, this is a blatant attempt to take millions of families' hard-earned money and hand it over to rich corporations on the fortune 500 list. at the senate actually goes ahead and passes this bill, corporations and the wealthiest 1% of income earners will get
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massive and permanent tax cuts, and it will blow a $1.5 trillion hole into our deficit. and make no mistake, three months from now, the republican leadership will use that new massive deficit as the reason to cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. why are republicans in congress so determined to provide massive corporate welfare? listen to this actual quote from one republican member of congress, which will tell you everything you need to know about who this tax plan is really for. he said, quote, my donors are basically saying, get it done or don't ever call me again. mr. president, this is washington's culture of soft corruption at its absolute worst. and now somehow, after years of
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talking about it, a massive tax bill has finally made its way to the senate floor. and after all that talk, it doesn't even help the middle class. it does the exact opposite. here's one very simple example that sums it all up. this bill eliminates the deduction for local and state taxes known as the salt deduction, which so many americans need to help them stay afloat. the salt deduction prevents hardworking families from being double-taxed on their income. it has long been our policy that when workers pay their state and local taxes, the i.r.s. doesn't tax them twice on the same income. but the republican tax plan now repeals this. in effect, this plan would make it so that if you are taxed on everything you make and then you will be taxed again. why? because corporations need a big tax break to pay for the tax
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breaks for the richest americans. in many cases, the salt deduction makes it possible for families to afford to buy a home, which is usually a family's largest asset, and it keeps the value of this investment growing. eliminating the salt deduction would hurt new yorkers, it would hurt millions of americans. there's literally no other way to spin it. mr. president, when the details of this tax plan were released, we started hearing a lot of dredged-up old talk about the supposed virtues of trickle-down economics, the myth that if only corporations had more money, it would help american families. well, we've heard this one before, and let's not be fooled again. let's take a look at the state of things right now. the biggest companies in america are flush are cash. the stock market has never been higher. but cities, towns, and rural areas all over my state have hit
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-- have been hit hard over and over again by companies that have packed up and left for cheaper labor and fatter profits abroad. so then why would we reward them by giving them yet another tax cut that they don't need and won't go to their workers? president trump's top economic advisor recently asked a room full of c.e.o.'s to raise their hands if this extra cash from the tax cut would get them to reinvest in their communities. no more than a handful of c.e.o.'s in the room raised their hands. i know a lot of people like to pretend otherwise, but is that really a surprise to anyone here? in fact, several c.e.o.'s have said on the record that instead of hiring more workers or raising their pay, many companies will reward shareholders -- not workers -- by increasing dividends or buying back their own shares.
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this plan could not be more misguided because we should be rewarding work, not shareholder value. or let me put it another way. just yesterday the dow broke another record with a new all-time high, and i am sure many c.e.o.'s will get a massive bonus for that. but what i want to know is this. when the dow broke that record, how many workers on factory floors in pennsylvania or in new york saw their pay increase? how many workers in grocery stores saw their pay increase? how many families in your state were given big pay raises that reflected those historic profits? i think we all know the answer to that question. in our economy today, even as corporations are earning more money than ever before, there is
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essentially no benefit for families. the wealth does not trickle down. and this tax plan would make that problem even worse. mr. president, this tax plan helps the wrong people. it helps the people and corporations that don't need an extra help right now. it ignores the people who do. we need to start rewarding work in this country again, not doling out lavish tax cuts for giant companies. and i can't say this clearly enough to new yorkers and to hardworking americans all over this country. if you are not rich, if you are just a regular, hardworking family, then there is a very good chance that you are going to take a big hit if this bill passes. so i urge every one of my colleagues to do what's right for families and oppose this plan. tax reform should never be a
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partisan exercise, and we should all agree that our goal should be to help middle-class workers and their families. so let's pass a bill that actually does that. huge corporations do not need our help. they're going to be just fine. instead, let's finally start rewarding work in this country again. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i come to the floor today painfully aware of the many reasons to oppose this reckless, wasteful republican tax bill. it's a shame because i still
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believe we need smart tax reform that puts working families and small businesses first and that prepares america to compete in the 21st century. but that's not what we will be voting on this week. we're voting on the trump tax plan this week, a plan republicans hope to ram through the senate with a simple majority vote, 51 votes. with 51 votes, republicans will raise taxes on millions of middle-class families and those working to join the middle class. with 51 vote, republicans will hand huge tax cuts to big corporations, with no strings attached. no guarantees that workers will see higher wages. with 51 votes, there will estem cell health care coverage -- they'll take health care coverage away from 15 million americans and hike premiums for
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everyone else. they'll saddle our children and grandchildren, like my new grandchild with another $1.5 trillion -- trillion -- in debt. now, anyone of these -- now, any one of these reasons is reason enough to oppose the trump tax plan. but for me as the senior senator of new jersey, a state of nearly 9 million people, a state with the eighth most productive economy in america, i cannot and will not support a tax bill that reads like one giant hit job on new jersey's middle class. just how bad is the trump tax plan for new jersey? well, take the house version, a bill so all of that 11 out of 12 members of congress from new jersey voted against it, many of them republicans, and take that plan and make it worse in the senate.
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the senate bill is worse because it totally eliminates the state and local tax deduction, otherwise known as the salt deduction. even president trump's external economic advisor larry kudlow recently said, ending the salt deduction will hurt a lot of different people. and a lot of those people who will get hurt live in states like new jersey. in 2015 alone, nearly 1.8 million new jersey households deducted a combined $17 billion in state and local taxes from their federal tax bills. over 1.5 million new jersey homeowners with sky-high property taxes deducted nearly $15 billion that same year. these taxpayers aren't high rollers. they're middle-class families
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who had to work hard to achieve the american dream. in fact, tax data tells us that 83% of new jerseyans who claim the state and local tax deduction make under $200,000 a year, and about half of those make under $100,000 a year. so the families who get hurt live in every corner of our state, from ocean county where it will cost taxpayers $1.3 billion to burlington county where it will cost taxpayers $1.37 billion, to passaic county where it will cost taxpayers $1.16 billion in deductions. that's wrong. it's just plain wrong to ask these hardworking families, folks who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth, who had to work hard for every dollar they have, who had to
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fight their way into the middle class, it's wrong to ask them to pay more just so that big corporations pay less, and do so permanently. and those born to multimillion-dollar inheritances pay nothing, nothing at all. ending the state and local tax deduction will literally force new jersey families to pay taxes twice on the same money. and rubbing salt in their wounds is the fact that republicans let corporations keep on deducting their state and local taxes on top of the huge tax cuts lavished on them by the trump tax plan. so in protecting the state and local tax deduction is so important for big corporations that make billions of dollars a
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year, surely my republican colleagues can imagine how important it is for a middle-class family in a state like new jersey to keep it. so, quite frankly, i'm sick and tired of congress treating states like new jersey like america's piggy bank. my constituents already pay too much in taxes. new jerseyans can't afford to subsidize the rest of america more than we already do. and yet, republicans now want to dig even deeper into the wallets of new jersey's middle class with the trump tax plan. so to borrow an old phrase, as you come into new jersey from the lower trenton bridge, what new jersey makes, the g.o.p. takes. now some have speculated that this tax bill was designed to punish americans who lived in so-called blue states, and certainly -- i don't know, i wouldn't put it past an administration as cynical as this one to punish states that voted against trump in the 2016 election.
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but ultimately, mr. president, this isn't about red states or blue states. it's time we start calling these states what they really are. these aren't blue states. they're america's blue-chip states. they're america's innovation states, america's economic powerhouse states, states like new jersey are home to millions of makers, not takers, and we're proud of it. but our success didn't happen overnight. it didn't happen by accident. new jersey's success is predicated on our priorities and our investments. new jersey is a donor state precisely because we invest in public schools and higher education so that new jerseyans continue driving innovation in fields like biotechnology, agriculture and medicine. new jersey is a donor state precisely because we invest in mass transit and infrastructure so that workers can commute to
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high-paying jobs, whether in new york city or philadelphia or in the financial district in places like jersey city and hoboken and family and friends in nearby states can easily travel to the jersey shore. new jersey is a donor state precisely because we invest in public health and law enforcement, because we're stronger when we have safe communities and a healthy workforce. in fact, the fraternal order of police says that ending the state and local tax deduction will hurt states' ability to recruit the men and women that keep us safe. that's their quote. in short, new jersey is a donor state. we see here the states that are ranked by the deduction, their per capita income, their education rank. there's a correlation. it's a donor state because we believe in opening the doors of opportunity to as many people as possible. that's how a small state like new jersey continues to punch above its weight economically, to the benefit of all americans.
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and especially americans who live in less productive states that are more reliant on federal spending. for more than a century the state and local tax deduction has encouraged states to invest in education and infrastructure and opportunity for all. and it's ironic that republicans who talk so much about supporting the states want to single out those like new jersey and virginia and massachusetts that invest in the middle class. that's why senator cantwell and i will be introducing an amendment to protect the state and local property tax deduction, and i hope a majority of our colleagues see the value in that. for as long as i can remember, i've heard my colleagues on the republican side talk about protecting, not punishing, success. no matter how you slice it, ending, limiting, or capping the state and local tax deduction is a massive tax on the success of states like new jersey.
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the trump tax plan will raise taxes on millions of middle-class families across america not in a few years, not in a decade. immediately. and i refuse to support a tax bill that enriches the few at the expense of the many. that saddles our children with trillions in debt, that sets the stage for republican cuts to medicare, medicaid, and social security. because when that debt rises, the next thing we hear, we've got to deal with entitlement, but not about the entitlements given to corporations permanently. and that punishes the success of millions of hardworking middle-class families in states like new jersey. that's not something i'm willing to do. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. i have a few minutes today of time on the floor, so i want to be relatively brief. i want to share with you a chart that shows what's actually happening as a result of this proposed tax bill. here's what's happening. there are 572,000 taxpayers. that's about half a million taxpayers in america that are fortunate enough to make more than $1 million a year. as a result of this proposed plan, they will receive $34 billion in tax cuts. they'll receive $34 billion in tax cuts this year, next year, the year after that. that's an average tax cut of roughly $59,000 a person. $34 billion going to 572,000
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taxpayers. what about the middle-class people that the republicans claim this bill is about? well, there are 90 million taxpayers. not half a million. 90 million taxpayers that make $50,000 or less. you know what they get under this bill, mr. president? they don't get $34 billion. by the way, if you include that estate tax, that number is $39 billion, $40 billion. they get $14 billion. that's an average tax cut per taxpayer of $160 a year. and that's in 2019. that's the best year that these guys have. after that it goes negative. $160 a taxpayer is equivalent to $7.50 a paycheck. i suppose in one year one could say there's a $7.50 tax cut a paycheck, that doesn't sound like a tax bill that's a middle-class tax bill to me.
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these are the tax cut levels under the republican plan. also in 2019, this is the $59,000 number. if you're making between $40,000 and $50,000, you get there $492. if you're making between $10,000 and $20,000, you get $8 and so on and so forth. there is nothing about about the tax cut proposal. i was asked by somebody today how could these republicans go home and explain in the states that donald trump won, how could they explain that they voted -- that they didn't vote for this tax bill? when i was saying i think we still have a chance to defeat this tax bill. they said how can you say that? how can somebody go home? i can't wait to go home to rural counties in my state that voted 80% for donald trump, 75% for donald trump, and tell them that i voted against this tax
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bill. my only regret is i won't be able to tell them i voted against it twice. they're not stupid. people in washington think that somehow by selling something based on percentages or selling something based on rates that people aren't going to understand what's actually happening to their after-tax income. my farmers and ranchers will understand that. they voted for a guy who said he was going to washington to drain the swamp. they voted for a guy who said he was going to go to washington and not help the rich people or the rich, as the president says. they voted for a guy who said that he was going to defend, support, fight for what he called the forgotten man. it turns out that when the rubber hits the road, we see the same movie that was happening before he got here, unless you want to argue that the forgotten man is making more
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than $1 million in an economy where people at the top earn more of that economy than they ever have, at least since 1928, if you want to make that argument, you can. my farmers and ranchers won't believe you. they will not believe that argument. this is a disgraceful bait and switch. and wait till you have to tell them that in order to make that tax cut for the wealthiest people in america, you're going to borrow the money from their children. you're going to borrow the money from the children of people here to pay for the tax cuts at this end. you're going to borrow the money through teachers' children and police officers' children and firefighters' children. you're going to blow a $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion deficit. today j.p. morgan came out.
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j.p. morgan came out and said this will result in the largest nonrecession deficit this country has ever had since world war ii. that's what j.p. morgan said. we do have problems in this economy. in colorado, we've got problems because even though we've got one of the most dynamic economies in the country, middle-class families are still having a hard time paying for early childhood education. they're having a hard time paying for housing. they're having a hard time paying for higher education, which this bill makes even worse. they're having a hard time paying for health care, which this bill makes even worse. you can't even make it up. they're taking health care away from 13 million americans in a tax bill. and the congressional budget office tells us that because of the tax cuts they are producing here for the wealthiest americans, there's going to be
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an automatic cut to medicare of $25 billion in january. so i say let's go out to those 80% trump counties and 70% trump counties in colorado and have a debate. they are not going to like what's in this plan. they will hate what's in this plan. it's the opposite of what they were told they were voting for. and so what i would implore my colleagues is, before i yield the floor, is that we stop this. let's stop this bill. this bill doesn't deserve to be on the floor of the senate. it's a disgrace. there was not a single hearing in the committee of jurisdiction, the finance committee, about this bill. not one hearing about a bill that touches every recess of our economy. it touches every household in our economy. it's been 31 years since we did tax reform, and back then we did it right, in a bipartisan
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way. this time we don't even have the decency to have a single hearing so the american people can hear what's in this bill and make a judgment about whether it's a good bill or not a good bill. and i'm telling you, i know what they're going to say when they know what the details are. we should stop this, and we should work in a bipartisan way. my colleague from florida is here on the floor, and i know how important the child tax credit is to him. and my colleague from utah. it's important to me too. that's the basis for a deal. i believe that the corporate rate is not competitive with the rest of the world. that's the basis for a deal. but borrowing money from middle-class taxpayers to finance $34 billion in tax cuts for 572,000 people is not a basis for a deal. and the american people are not going to be fooled by this. they're too smart for this. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak into a colloquy with my colleague, the senator from utah. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. rubio: mr. president, hope that in tax reform we will try to do what we should do in all of our policies, that is, come up with ideas that are both pro-growth and pro-worker. there are a lot of good things in this tax bill, but we need to make it better. we can make it more pro-growth and more pro-worker, and senator lee from utah and i have a plan that helps us notify that direction, and -- that helps us move in that direction, and i'll describe it briefly. the and i him to have the opportunity to weigh in as well on this. on the pro-growth side, it is about becoming more economically competitive by lowering the corporate tax rate in united states, 35%. we would reduce to 22%. the current bill has it at 20% but 22% is just as competitive
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as 20%. just like the current bill, it would be lower than the global average rate of 23% and just like the current bill would move us from last place to third place among the g-7 countries. so it is just as pro-growth. it makes us just as competitive, but it allows us to do the pro-worker reform that we decimately need. -- that we desperately need. it allows us to change the child tax credit in the current bill to help working families even more. it would make it fully refundable up to the amount you pay in payroll tax. it would eliminate the marriage penalty, meaning that you would be paying more in taxes if you were a marriedum than you would if you are an individual. number three, it would index it, the tax credit, to a chained c.p.i., which means as inflation and the cost of living goes up, the credit doesn't lose its value. the one thing i want to emphasize is, who does this help? i have had some people in the past and even today who say, why are you doing this?
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this is like welfare. i find that offensive. i find it offensive not because i am offended by people who need the help and are in the safety net program because they've come upon difficult times but because the people that we are trying to help are not on government assistance. they're workers. you have to work to get this credit. in essence shall the credit applies against your tax liability be it payroll tax or income tax. for a lot of people that are working, they don't make enough money to be paying a lot of income tax, but they pay up to 15.3% of what they make it payroll tax. it is their primary tax liability, and if you don't allow the credit to apply towards that you're not helping them. and who are they? who are the kinds of people that we're talking about? in essence, who are these workers? think you're the waitresses mark i can a $20,000 a year. they're not fully benefiting from this credit right now. if we do it the way senator lee and i are talking about doing, they would.
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they are the home health aid, the office clerk, the welders making $35,000 a year. they're the truck driver, driver, the nurse, the firefighter making $45,000 a year. the ones who have been left lined for over three decades because no one fights for them. they have been ignored and disrespected. and they're not accounted for in this bill. and they're raising families. our future taxpayers. and it costs money to raise a family. and the more children you have, the more expensive it is and our tax code should recognize that. and we make a reasonable proposal in that regard. and now i'd like to turn to senator lee and ask him to expound on the importance of this for america's workers and why if we are fuel to be a pro--- why if we are truly to be a pro-worker reform, the payroll tax is essential. mr. lee: thank you, mr. president. i am grateful to my colleague, the distinguished senator from florida for his worker this
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issue. he noted a couple of issues that we focus on. noted the marriage tax penalty, a more obvious feature -- defect -- within our tax code. there is another detect he also mentioned that doesn't get as much play as it should. it doesn't get as much play, especially considering the amount of damage it z it's called the parent tax penalty. here's how it works. we have american parents from one end of this country to another who are essentially propping up, securing the future of our senior entitlement programs, not just once but twice, and in a pretty unfair way. you see, they prop up social security and medicare two times, first as they pay their taxes and, secondly, as they incur the cost associated with child rearing and thereby prop up and secure social security and medicare. you see, social security and medicare are paid foreign paygo basis. meaning today's workers pay for the benefits of today's retirees. today's children are toms
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workers who will be working to pay the taxes to fund the social security and medicare retirement benefits of today's workers who will be tomorrow's retirees. now, that's costs add up over time. according to one very low-ball estimate, an estimate that doesn't include a lost things it probably should, including things like education, higher education and so forth, a family raising three children can reasonably expect to incur $700,000 in child-rearing costs, just as they raise their three children. those three children are going tok on to be tomorrow's workers paying the social security and medicare benefits for today's workers, tomorrow's retirees. this is important. and we need to end the marriage tax penalty. we also need to end this parent tax penalty of the best way to do that is to make sure we increase the child tax credit up to $2,000 as the current senate proposal would do, but just as importantly, we need to make
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that sum refundable up to $2,000, up to the total amount of taxes paid, including payroll tax liability, in other words up to15.3% of earnings. if we do this, mr. president, it is not going to end the parent tax penalty altogether, but it is an important first step. i also want to echo something said by senator rubio a moment ago. i think it is worth mentioning here. this is not a handout. this is not a welfare benefit. this is money that they're making. it's not welfare when you say the government is not going to take away something that you've worked harass for, that you've earned. -- that you've worked hard for, that you've earned. we should be don't for those people who are america's ultimate, most important entrepreneurial class. america's most cherished group of investors. you see, the most important investment decisions are not necessarily just those made around the boardroom. they're made at the altar, they're made in delivery wards
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in hospitals. those are the investors we need to be encourage and certainly not punishing. mr. president, we can fix this problem. we need to do it by passing the rubio-lee amendment and increasing refundability so that we can all benefit from this and so that america's families can stop being punished as the result of the interaction between our tax code and our senior entitlement programs. thank you, mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i come to the floor today to join other colleagues from both sides of the aisle to talk about this tax debate. you know, we don't do tax reform nearly enough here in the united
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states. it seems we take it on about every 35 years whether we need to or n but if there's one lesson that we've learned from previously tax reform efforts is that while they can do a lot of good, they can also do a lot of harm. and i have to start by expressing my extraordinarily deep frustration with the process that we've gone through. today we are considering a bill that was drafted in secret, designed with more gimmicks and loopholes that i've ever seen, and is being rushed through in a process without impact from all of us on this side of the aisle and without even appropriate impact of its true financial analysis. in many ways, to quote the president, what got us here is the worst of washington. if you want to see swamp 101, look at the process of this tax bill. a 300-page tax bill that was
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released on the eve of a holiday weekend, only days before it was marked up in committee. and over a four-day markup, two significant rewrites of this bill were presented. one consisted of over 100 pages of changes and a second was release add mere 30 minutes -- was released a mere 30 minutes before members were asked to vote on literally its myriad of provisions. now, less than two weeks later, we're considering that bill or a variation of it on the senate floor. we're voting either to procedure of the bill later today on then on p amendments tomorrow before we evening have any analysis from j.c.t. and we know that near the end of a debate on the floor, another bill will magically appear from the majority leader's office without any time for those of us who want to do tax reform to have a chance to genuinely
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review or analyze it's provisions. it makes this process, i believe, enormously dishonest. i know my friend from delaware has just come on. i'll speak quickly, because i know he'll raise some of these same concerns. one of the things that i've been most involved with since i've been here in the united states senate is trying to grapple with our nation's overwhelming debt. we're a country that's run up close to $20 trillion of debt. and both sides -- both sides -- have been part to that over the last 70 years. but what i have heard from colleagues on both sides of the aisle is that when you're in that deep of a hole, you ought to stop digging. and that we need to make sure that if we're going to do triumph, we do it -- if we're going to do tax reform, would do in a physically -- fiscally responsible way. it starts with a $1.5 trillion
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acknowledgment that that money will somehow magically appear through magical growth. but, when you peel that away a little bit, it is bad enough that it's not really $1 .5 trillion in additional debt that we're adding. the real number is $2.2 trillion. let kneel you why. -- let me tell you why. off of the $1.5 trillion additional debt that's haded, that alone will generate more than $230 billion of additional interest payments over the next decade. raising the cost of the bill from $1.5 trillion to roughy$1.7 trillion. and then in an effort that really takes the cake in a place where both -- again be, both sides have been known to use gimmicks, this legislation includes 37 different expiring provisions, provisions that are popular, provisions that a number of my colleagues have said give middle-class tax relief. well, the interesting thing is,
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all of these provisions are due to expire five to six years within the ten-year windex -- window. and rather than acknowledging the true cost of the bill, what people have said, we know what we're going to create. we're going to create a whole new series of fiscal cliffs in the neighbor manufactured $500 billion that the expectation will be that they'll become so popular that congress will go ahead and have to extend these provisions again without paying for them. in terms of gimmicks, don't take my word for it. you only need to listen to the words of the president's own o.m.b. director, mick mulvaney who acknowledged that the tax bill had a lot of gimmicks to it. you add that $500 billion to the $2030 billion of additional interest, the $1.35 trillion that you start with what we are talking about today is $2.2 trillion addition to our debt.
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for all my friends who for years have stood with me on the floor of the senate and spoken out against adding this additional burden to our kids and grandkids, i hope they'll talk a moment and rethink their support there are this legislation. -- their support for that legislation. how will this get paid for? i believe there might be some dynamic growth, there might be some addition from smart tax reform that would add to the growth of our economy. but nothing near what this bill assumes. in fact, it's even worse than that in earn ways. not only will this add over $2 trillion to our debt and deficit, but we've even had the audacity of the secretary of the treasury, secretary mnuchin, who said this bill is going to be so good for our economy that it's going to decrease our debt by $1 trillion. yet there is no responsible budget projection of any
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economist from left to right that makes any kind of assumptions that would make that prediction true at a and if we go back and look in recent american history, when you pay for tax cuts with borrowed money, you end up with a pretty bad situation. many of my friends on the other side of the aisle like to cite ronald reagan. i think president reagan was a great president in many ways. the 1981 tax cut did provide a short-term stimulus but then that stimulus ran out and our debt and deficits blew up, grew dramatically and president reagan had to raise taxes in 1982 and 1984. likewise again, president bush in 2001 inheriting a surplus, promised again the magic of tax cuts will grow our economy. instead we ended up with very little job growth and a debt and deficit now that is rapidly approaching the full size of our
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economy. and if we went out and looked at scoring of the effects of this kind of tax cut, we've seen the tax policy center that did a dynamic score saying how could build and growth come from a tax cut. they said this bill costs at least $1.5 trillion. the penn wharton, an organization well respected by both sides of the aisle did a dynamic score on this legislation as well. they're saying minimum costs of $1.5 trillion. and congress' official scorekeeper, the group that we look to for outside advice, the joint committee on taxation, we are rushing this bill through so quickly that we've not even allowed our official scorekeeper to come up with a score. this is not the way to do a once-in-a-generation tax reform process. the truth is when you do a tax cut with borrowed money in
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periods sort of where we are right now, relatively full employment, there is no historical precedent at all that you'll see any kind of economic growth. again, don't take my word for it. alan greenspan, the respected fed chair, pointed this out just within the last two weeks that tax cuts paid for with borrowed money do not provide the kind of growth that this budget projects and this tax reform projects. now i could go through a whole litany of other concerns with this legislation. i for one believe we do need to do international tax reform. i for one believe we need a corporate tax rate that's more competitive. i for one believe we need repatriation and to bring back tax profits that have gone abroad. but we've seen analysis recently that shows that this legislation may actually increase the amount of american jobs that are pushed overseas, for example, because
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of the averaging of tax rates in their so-called territorial system where a company could build that factory in a relatively high tax state, move that intellectual property to a place like the cayman islands, average out the tax bill combined and end up paying the country, our country, nothing. and at the same time continuing to see job loss around our country. there are a group of us, close to 17 of us, and many of my colleagues on the floor today, that came together yesterday, that said to our republican colleagues time out for a few minutes. we will work with you to do a responsible tax reform effort. we share many of the same goals. but unfortunately, the process that we're going through here today to reach some kind of arbitrary christmas present for the president is not the way we ought to be doing responsible tax reform. i hope my colleagues will
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reconsider. i hope they'll take the offer of the 17 of us who said we'll look at corporate tax reform. we'll look at lower rates. we'll look at repatriation. we'll look at ways to make businesses more competitive. and join with us and do this in a way that we can all be proud of. if we're only going to do tax reform once every 30 or 35 years, we sure as heck owe the american people a product that we can all be proud of, not a product that's rushed through with one party only that at the end of the day will leave our kids and grandkids paying the bill for decades to come. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: thank you, mr. president. nine years have passed, colleagues, since i first
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joined the senate finance committee. nine years. and for each of those nine years, i've looked forward to working on tax reform. as a member of the house of representatives a million years ago, i had the privilege of working on tax reform legislation led by president reagan, led by tip o'neill, dan rostenkowski, bob packwood, others that actually worked and got us where we wanted to go with lower raises and a simplified code. but tax reform takes time. it takes a lot of energy. it takes a lot of effort, a lot of give and take. when we did that in 1986, congress took two years of public hearings, two years of meetings, two years of bipartisan negotiation. the idea that a permanent and enduring tax reform plan today can come to fruition in mere weeks is what they call in my state the triumph of a man's hope over experience. the tax legislation that is
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purely partisan written in the dark and rushed to the finish line is bound to be poorly designed and riddled with inadvertent errors. flawed process results in a flawed product. when considering any tax policy, i look through, mr. president, a prism of four questions. number one, is it fair? number two, does it foster economic growth or impede it? number three, does it simplify the tax code or make it even more complex? and number four, is it fiscally responsible? those four questions. unfortunately, the republican tax reform plan fails the test on, sadly, all four of these questions. all four. according to the nonpartisan -- we just heard this from the senator from virginia, according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office this plan would increase taxes on millions of americans beginning next year. by 2019 the c.b.o. found that americans earning less than $30,000 a year will be worse off
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under this tax bill. worse off. by 2021, americans earning less than $40,000 will be worse off. and by 2027, most americans earning less than $75,000 a year will be worse off. not better. in fact, within ten years more than three-quarters of the tax cuts in this bill will go to the richest 5% of americans. think about that. within the next ten years, more than it three-quarters of the tax cuts in this bill will go to the richest 5% of americans. in fact, almost two-thirds of the tax breaks will go to the richest one out of every 100 americans. none of this meets a reasonable definition, in my judgment, of fair. the second question, does it foster economic growth or impede it? this bill does little to foster economic growth and i fear in the long run it will impair
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growth. last week a survey of top economists including economists from across the political spectrum as well as nobel prize winners and former presidents of the american economic association found that only one out of 43 experts believed this type of tax reform would boost economic growth. one out of 43. just one. the truth is any economic growth from this bill will be swamped by the deficit it creates. i'll talk more about fiscal responsibility in a moment. an important point here is that the increased national debt will be a huge drag on economic growth. more federal borrowing means higher interest rates, which means it will cost more for businesses both large and small to borrow and finance investments. it will cost more for families to take out a mortgage. it will cost more to borrow for college. number three, does it simplify
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the tax code? one goal of tax reform is supposed to be simplifying the tax code. reducing unpredict ability and uncertainty. unfortunately this bill introduces new and complicated provisions. for example, new requirements to claim the child tax credit, an awkwardly designed tax deduction for pass-through businesses. this will make it difficult for americans to file their taxes. more difficult, not easier. as we learned from the joint committee on taxation during consideration of this bill in the senate finance committee earlier this month we learned that this tax bill will make the internal revenue code and regulations longer, not shorter. it will make the tax code longer , not the key for simplification. a large part results from an enormous new fiscal cliff created by this bill which makes tax policy unpredictable for
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families and unpredictable for businesses, which brings me to my third question. actually my fourth question. is it fiscally responsible? is it fiscally responsible? this bill allows a $1.5 trillion hole in the debt. it will be far easier -- costlier rather than that as the deficit grows in years and decades to come. with respect to the fiscal cliff, i just mentioned, almost all the individual tax provisions expire within nine years. i'll say that again. almost all of the individual tax provisions expire within nine years. the bill's increase in the standard deduction, the increase in the child credit, the new tax rate for pass-through businesses and most other provisions affecting individuals will under this republican bill expire by the end of 2025. at the same time, the tax cuts for corporations, large
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corporations in this bill are permanent. many of our friends on the other side of the aisle are saying that all of these individual provisions will be extended and made permanent. if that's the case, why don't they do it now? why don't they do it now? the truth is extending these provisions would dramatically increase the deficit, adding far more to the national debt, more than the $1.5 trillion that this bill already adds. making the individual provisions temporary and the corporate tax cuts permanent is at bottom an elaborate attempt to have our cake and eat it too. at best, making the individual provisions expire is, simply put, an elaborate scheme to hide the true cost of this tax bill, obscuring the fact that this bill would add much more to the debt, possibly twice as much, than the $1.5 trillion that's been admitted and advertised. at worst, making the individual tax provisions expire is a sneaky way to increase taxes on
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american families all in order to pay for a permanent and expensive corporate tax cut. either way, the result is unconscionable and an affront to fiscal responsibility. i will conclude by noting it doesn't have to be this way. it doesn't have to be this way. instead of rushing ahead with a partisan product that haphazardly remakes the economy economy there are many areas that republicans and democrats could work together. i talked about a couple of those yesterday at a press conference that senator warner alewded to. one of those areas is the standard deduction. i propose to double the standard deduction which will simplify filing for a lot of taxpayers. another area where we can find common ground is the corporate rate. i think many of our democratic colleagues would agree with me and with others that the business tax rates should be reformed to ensure that american businesses remain competitive
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with our global trading partners. and while lowering the rate from 35% to 20%, maybe too low -- and i think fiscally irresponsible, a more sensitive and moderate proposal would bring both democrats and republicans together. there's got to be a rate between $25% and 35% that we can come together on. another area is the child tax credit. this bill increases the child credit. it fails to deliver the benefits to the middle and working class families who need it the most. a better tax reform proposal would reform the child tax credit to be fully refundable and just as important, permanent so that lower-income families could benefit from it as well. despite these many areas of bipartisan agreement, our republican colleagues partisan push to the finish line leaves us with no room for negotiations on a plan that blows again a $1.5 trillion hole in our debt while actually increase taxes on millions of americans beginning next year.
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in closing, president trump made three promises when he ran for president and when he was nominated for president, when he was sworn in to office as president. and one of those is he didn't want a tax reform people to help people like him, the wealthy. that's not what he wanted to do. number two, he wanted to make sure we put money back in the pockets of hardworking families. that's what he wanted. and he said he wanted to simplify the tax code. democrats are all in. we're all in on tax reform to keep those three promises. from what we know about the legislation before us here this week, this plan does almost nothing to fulfill the president's three promises. almost nothing. i join my colleagues today in urging republicans to slow down, work with the democrats on a plan that's actually fair, that's actually fiscally responsible, that encourages economic growth and job creation and simplifies the tax code. i close with an african proverb
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i mentioned yesterday. if you want to go fast, travel alone. if you want to go far, travel together. if you want to go fast, travel alone. if you want to go far, travel together. we need to travel together. if we do, we'll go far. and, frankly, we'll lift with us the economy of this country and a lot of families who need our help. with that, i yield the floor to my colleague from florida. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, we do want to go far and we need to travel together, and that's what we have been trying to make the case, indeed, that we do this in a bipartisan way instead of it being jammed through in a partisan way. mr. president, i don't think there would be a senator in this chamber that would not want to
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help puerto rico given the fact that puerto rico is going through the ravages of the aftermath of a hurricane where today still just under half of the population in puerto rico does not have electricity and it's three months after the hurricane. but we're going to send another hurricane to puerto rico if we pass this bill because of the provisions that are so punitive to puerto rico in this tax bill. mr. president, in this tax bill there is a 20% penalty on businesses doing business in puerto rico. it's just unbelievable, a 20% penalty on companies that invest in puerto rico causing one of
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the daily newspapers in the island to state that 250,000 jobs would leave the island just as a result of that provision. that's not something we want to do to puerto rico. we want to help puerto rico. but, unfortunately, that's not all. the bill eliminates the section 199 manufacturing deduction for puerto rico. that was specifically in the law to encourage manufacturing in that island commonwealth, that island that is a territory of our fellow u.s. citizens. the bill also eliminates what is called the rum cover, which is
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that excised taxes that are made on the production of puerto rican rum and u.s. virgin islands rum that they get a rebate for paying those excise taxes. it's a means of offsetting the cost of economic development in those two territories, puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands, and this bill further fails to put puerto rico residents on an equal footing with those on the mainland by giving them the same treatment on earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. first of all, the bill is so out of balance to begin with, but then when you get down to the
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specifics in so many of the items, now in this particular item affecting puerto rico, this is not what we want to do. and yet we're just about to vote on this bill and that's what's going to happen and that's what's going to happen in puerto rico. mr. president, i urge some of our members to reconsider their vote. mr. president, i yield the homes. now, as far as the tax bill is concerned, the last time congress modernized the tax code, it was 1986. that's more than 30 years, quite obvious to anybody who can subtract. in the generation since, the tax code has grown out of control. it's been a dream come true for
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who, the professionals and accounting and the lobbyists that protect the loopholes, but it happens to be a real nightmare for most americans, and i would say for most members of congress as you read regularly, very few members of congress do their own taxes. the outdated tax code helps the powerful and the well connected, but hurts american workers. it hurts american industry, and it hurts americans' ability to compete with the rest of the world, and that means lower wages and less employment. the bill passed out of the finance committee moves us very much in the right direction to make our tax code simpler, fairer, and more competitive. at the heart of the legislation is a middle-class tax cut.
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a typical family of four with two children making $59,000 a year could see a tax cut of more than $1,700. very significant tax relief. but you would never know it by listening to the rhetoric of my colleagues of the other political party. they have repeatedly recited the tired lines that republicans are only interested in giving tax cuts to the wealthy. in fact, they began pushing that narrative even before this bill was written, going way back to september, started analyzing a bill that didn't even exist. it was a charge made by a document that was put out called the big six framework, and framework is no piece of
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legislation. it merely provided guidelines for tax-writing committees to start from. the partisan tax policy center then filled the gaps with policy assumptions and crafted analysis to fit their narrative, their analysis of a piece of legislation that hadn't even been written. the problem is their narrative hasn't changed, but the finance committee provided policy details that they should have used to change their narrative, but they still keep with the same old rhetoric. i think even the tax policy center would have to agree that the finance committee product differs drastically from the underlying assumptions of their initial analysis.
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so i'm going to try to compare what tax center policy says about tax law that we ought to pass compared to our bill, and you will see there seems to be a real closeness of some of the ideas that ought to be done that we get from the left that are in this bill, but they don't even recognize it. the finance committee used all the available tools granted under the unified framework to target more relief to middle-income taxpayers and retain the progressivity of the income tax. let's take a look at some of the major features of the finance bill and how they provide relief for the nation's middle-class and low-income earners.
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first, it nearly doubles the standard deduction, which means that many lower income americans will be removed from the tax rolls completely and tax-filing season will be simpler for millions more. second, it doubles the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and moderately increases its refundability. both of these are made possible in the large part by repealing personal exemptions. personal exemptions for taxpayers and spouses help increase the standard deduction, and the personal exemption for children helped with increasing the child tax credit. interestingly enough, these provisions mirror a proposal put out by the left-wing tax policy center in december just last year. nearly identical to the finance
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bill, the very liberal tax policy center paper argued for repealing personal exemptions, nearly doubling the standard deduction and an increase in the child tax credit to 2,012. according to the authors of the liberal tax policy center proposal, such a proposal change would, quote, reduce complexity, remove inequities, and mitigate marriage penalties. that's exactly what the bill before the senate does, but they don't seem to recognize that, but they sure wanted that as a goal last year. the fact is these changes provide more tax relief to the middle class and at the same time simplify the tax code.
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as the liberal tax policy center paper points out, the value of the personal exemption is largely dependent on the tax bracket of the taxpayer. the higher the tax bracket, the more benefit that comes from the personal exemption. in comparison, the child tax credit generally lowers a taxpayer's tax liability dollar for dollar, regardless of the tax bracket. as a result, repealing personal exemption in favor of expanding the child tax credit makes the tax code more progressive and targets more relief to lower and middle-income taxpayers. admittedly, there are some differences between what was suggested by the liberal tax policy center and what is in the bill before us.
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its proposal would have been more generous on the refundable feature of the child tax credit. but on the opposite end, they would have made the child tax credit available to everyone, even including millionaires. the finance bill is less generous to the affluent because it phases out the credit for married taxpayers with incomes over half a million dollars. you would think the other side, meaning the democratic party, finding fault with this bill would offer some credit for taking this rather progressive approach to providing family tax relief. but no, they continue repeating their lying over and over, that this bill is a tax cut for the wealthy. another major feature of the
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finance bill that provides relief to middle-class and lower-income earners is the reduction of the tax rates for middle-class -- middle-bracket taxpayers. first, it retains the 10% bracket, which many on the other side expressed concern about being repeated based on the big six framework. so they were wrong in using the framework, but they haven't admitted that. next, it lowers the current law 15% bracket to 12% and expands its applicability. additionally, it reduces what is essentially the current law bracket of 25% down to 22%, and what is essentially today's current law 28% bracket to a much wider 24% bracket. these rate reductions target tax
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relief to the very heart of america's middle class. now, you may be wondering how this middle-class tax relief bill will be financed, largely by repealing the state and local tax deduction, also known as salt deduction. our colleagues on the other side have tried to argue the repeal of the state and local tax deduction as a tax increase on middle class. nothing further could be from the utah, considering the reduced tax brackets i just discussed in combination with the higher standard deduction and the double child tax credit. the repeal of the state and local tax deduction is actually a very key piece of this
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legislation that makes the middle-class tax cuts possible. the state and local tax deduction overwhelmingly benefits the so-called wealthy that our colleagues on the other side vehemently argue should receive no tax benefits under this bill, and i'm going to tell you now how the liberal elements in this town see the state and local tax deduction as something that should have gone away anyway, and now they're complaining because we're doing away with it. so i don't want you to take my word. here are several partisan think tanks -- here are what several partisan think tanks have said about state and local tax deduction in the past. according to the tax policy center -- remember, that's that left-wing organization finding fault with a bill even before it
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was written -- about 40% of the state and local taxes deduction benefits go to taxpayers with incomes exceeding $500,000. so we do away with the state and local tax deduction because it benefits wealthy people, and they don't give us any credit for it. keep in mind that tax filers with incomes of a half a million or more only make up about 1% of all tax filers making it a very lopsided benefit. here's what the very left-wing center for american progress has said about the state and local tax deduction. quote, the deduction for state and local taxes disproportionately benefits high-income taxpayers, property owners, and residents of
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high-tax states. that's because these groups pay the most taxes at the state and local level. it also benefits high income taxpayers because any kind of deduction is worth more to people in the high tax brackets than the low tax brackets. now, i just got done quoting the center for american progress that said the state and local tax deduction ought to be done away with because it benefits wealthy people. and yet they complain to us that our tax bill is a tax -- is a tax benefit for the wealthy. to further illustrate how eliminating the state and local -- who eliminating the state and local tax really hits i would like to cite an article titled tech hike fears trigger talk of
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exodus from manhattan and greenwich. now, this article is about concerns -- is not about concerns for middle-class police officers or teachers on repeal of the state and local tax deduction. instead, it highlights concerns from wealthy hedge fund managers who may now consider moving out of the high-tech state of new york. so here's the bloomberg article, quote, the problem for connecticut hedge funds set and the wall street crowd is that republican proposals in both the house and senate would drive up taxes for many high earners in the new york city area by eliminating the deduction for most state and local taxes an. an individual making a yearly
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salary of $1 million would owe the internal revenue service an additional $21,000. end of quote. so we in this legislation repeal that deduction and make this -- this person making a yearly salary of $1 million pay $21,000 more taxes and liberal groups are proposing doing away with it, and we put it in our bill so that we don't let these wealthy people get the benefit of the tax deduction, and they don't recognize it. so i ask my colleagues on the left, are you prepared to go to bat over salt deductions for millionaire hea hedge fund mana? from listening to my democratic
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colleagues' rhetoric, i'm really surprised by this article. i thought republicans were all about tax cuts for the wealthy and giveaways to wall street. but this article suggests otherwise. in fact, these types of taxpayers are likely to experience sizable tax hikes under the proposal on the senate floor now. according to the nonpartisan joint committee on taxation, by 2023, nearly 30% of taxpayers with incomes exceeding $1 million will experience a tax hike. that does not sound like a giveaway to the wealthy to me. i yield the floor. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire.
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mrs. shaheen: mr. president, i agree with my colleagues that we need tax reform, but we need tax reform that simplifies the tax code, that bolsters the middle class and helps small businesses create jobs. now, i think we can do that and we can do it in a fiscally responsible way, but we need to work together. republicans and democrats as they did the last time we did tax reform. unfortunately, these priorities are not reflected in the bill that's before us. instead, it is a partisan fiscally irresponsible giveaway to the wealthy and the largest corporations in this country, and it comes at the expense of the middle class and small businesses. now, we know that the wealthiest americans will see massive tax breaks from this bill, including president trump himself. in fact, "the new york times" has estimated that president trump and his family would save more than $1 billion from this
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tax bill. how does this legislation pay for these tax cuts? well, it asks today's middle class and future generations to foot the bill. the nonpartisan analysis from the joint committee on taxation has found that the bill will raise taxes on millions of middle-class families making less than $75,000 a year. the bill sunsets any middle-class tax breaks in 2026. and at the same time, it makes tax breaks for large corporations permanent. it increases the national debt by $1.5 trillion. and i think the headline in the current "forbes" magazine says it all. it says g.o.p. tax bill is the end of all economic sanity in washington. as more people look at this bill, they're beginning to see how it will hurt middle-class families across the country.
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over the past few weeks, i have heard more and more concern from people throughout new hampshire. i just want to take a minute to highlight some of these concerns. i met recently with the new hampshire realtors and home builders. they are major advocates for homeownership in new hampshire. they told me that this bill is nothing short of an attack on homeownership. in particular, they're concerned about the impact of repealing the state and local tax deduction. that will be a huge hit to middle klaas families in -- middle-class families in new hampshire. more than 200,000 granite state homers use the tax deduction so they're not double taxed. that's about a third of taxpayers in new hampshire. and it's particularly important to us where property taxes account for 66% of all state and local taxes. that's a higher share than any other state in the country. homeowners are also concerned
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about proposals to limit the mortgage interest deduction, including on home equity lines of credit where homeowners in new hampshire are going to get hurt more than nationally because we have approximately 14% of homeowners would have a home equity line of credit. that's compared to 3.8% nationally. the result is, according to the realtors and the home builders, that home values will decline significantly. according to the association of realtors, this bill will put downward pressure on home values by as much as 18% in new hampshire and 10% nationally. and if we look at this chart, this is for new hampshire but you can extrapolate this across the rest of the economy. in we look at this tax bill, this is the impact on homeowners in new hampshire. it's going to be -- values are going to be reduced by about 18%. that's equivalent to what we saw
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after the financial meltdown in 2008 where again we had about that same reduction in property values, about 18%. that is a huge hit for us in new hampshire and for people across the country. you know, i thought the realtors put it very well. they said, it is simply unfair to ask homeowners who pay 8 3% of all federal in-- 83% of all federal income taxes to take a greater tax burden so the biggest corporations in this country can have steep tax cuts. it doesn't make sense. i've also heard significant concern from students, colleges, and businesses that this bill will raise taxes on students trying to get the skills they need to get ahead. and, you know, that's really crazy because when we do that, we don't create the workforce we need for the future.
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the house bill, for example, would eliminate the ability of individuals to deduct the interest on their student loans and it would tax graduate students on tuition assistance. i heard from a graduate student who right now is making $20,000 a year and a stipend. that's what he's trying to live on. if this bill goes into effect, he will pay $5,000 of that in taxes. it doesn't make sense. we need to be encouraging our students to get graduate degrees and higher education degrees so they can take on the jobs of the future. and again in new hampshire, it's a particular problem where we have student loan debt that is higher than the national avera average. for the graduating class of 2016, new hampshire had the highest per capita student loan debt in the country, and the average debt for new hampshire graduates was $36,367.
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and we know that nationally, student loan debt has roughly tripled since 2004 to a stagge staggering 1.3 trillion. that's higher than the total credit card debt. what this legislation is likely to do is to make that worse for young people who are trying to get out of college, have their student loans paid, get married, start families, buy a house. if they continue to have this impact, they're not going to be able to do any of those things. the top challenge that faces new hampshire businesses and so many businesses across this country is finding skilled workers. the last thing we should be doing is making education more expensive. i also serve as the ranking member on the senate small business committee. small businesses employ more than half of our workforce.
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they make up more than 99% of all employers. we need to work in a bipartisan way to enact tax reform that supports our small businesses. again, this bill, unfortunately, doesn't provide meaningful reform for small businesses and the problems they're naysing with the tax code -- they're facing with the tax code. first of all, this bill doesn't address the top issue that we've heard from small businesses. that's simplification and cutting of red tape in our tax code. for entrepreneurs, time is one of their most valuable resourc resources, and every wasted hour spent filling out forms or navigating confusing tax rules is an hour they can't spend innovating, marketing, and growing their businesses. the tax system is so difficult to navigate that 89% of small businesses turn to outside tax preparers to fill out their forms and file their returns. the compliance burden for small businesses is 67% higher than it
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is for large businesses, and it costs about $18 billion annually. tax reform should be an opportunity to help us help small businesses focus on what they do best. that's running their business. instead this bill will result in even more red tape and complexity. according to a former joint committee on taxation economist, if this bill becomes law, and i quote, treasury will be writing regulations and congress will be enacting technical corrections for years. there are more ticking time bombs in this bill than in a road runner cartoon. in a recent poll of small business owners from businesses for responsible tax reform found that a majority of them oppose the plan. so this is polling that's just been done in the last week or so. 61% oppose. only 28% support. small businesses are even more
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concerned about the impact of this tax bill on our debt and deficits. in fact, 61% of small business owners oppose raising the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for tax cuts. increasing the debt will inhibit our ability to address the real challenges facing small businesses, like educating the skilled workforce, building that broadband in rural areas, and fixing our broken infrastructure. and then there's the repeal of the individual mandate, which is part of this tax proposal. according to c.b.o., repealing the individual mandate as this bill does would cause 13 million americans to become uninsured by 2027, and it would sharply raise premiums for those who purchase insurance in the individual market. now, we've heard from our
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colleagues that they think that including the alexander-murray legislation would help address that, but that's not designed to address the underlying health care bill that we have in this country. all that will do is address the uncertainty in the marketplace. repealing the individual mandate is going to deny health insurance to millions of americans. it's going to cost middle-income families more, and ultimately it's going to have an impact on people's ability to provide for their families on the long-term health of this nation. that is not the kind of investment we should be making in the future of this country. there are many more issues with this tax bill, but my time is limited. but if we look at who's opposed to this bill, so many organizations. the realtors, the homebuilders,
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the aarp, the fraternal order of police -- they'll all come out in opposition. and that's just to name a few. i've heard from nearly 3,000 granite staters who've expressed their opposition with the impact of this bill. and as more and more people have a chance to read it, that number is going to continue to grow. you know, i want to work with my colleagues here. i think republicans and democrats should genuinely reform the tax code. it's long overdue. but we need to do it in a way that's transparent, that looks at where we want to go in the future, what we need to be investing in in this country. we need to work in a bipartisan way, that puts the middle class and small businesses first, and that doesn't leave a massive debt for our children and grandchildren. and if we pass this legislation, that is exactly what we're going to be doing, leaving future generations to deal with a massive debt without the
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benefits of the investment that we should be making in this country. so it is a sad day for america, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thanks, mr. president. i'm honored to follow my distinguished colleague from new hampshire and begin actually where she finished. this massive tax cut has indeed so many ticking time bombs that are unknown at the moment because it has been rushed and rammed through this body as well as the house, without the kind of regular order that should be given, the intense scrutiny and attention that is due an
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historic massive measure of this kind. and the idea that it has regular sponsored absolutely absurd. if this is regular order -- and the idea that it has regular order is absolutely absurd. if this is regular order, it is surely regular order-light. there have barely been the most cursory of hearings, no real markup, no real opportunity for the public to be heard, no real scrutiny of the complicated and numerous provisions that will affect people for years, decades, maybe generations to come. the last tax cut was in 1985, the last so-called reform passed in the mid-1980's involved scores of hearings and meetings and sessions for the public to
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be heard, dwarfing -- making a mockery of this process. this process has been in fact a mockery of democracy. it is a classic bait and switch, a promise that is unfulfilled, a tax cut initially for people who then -- who it then disappears while the wealthy continue to enjoy their tax cuts. there are winners and losers in this measure. let's be very blunt, the winners are the wealthy, the losers are the middle class. the winners are special interests, the losers are the american people. the winners are people who already have it made, the losers are people who want to fulfill the american dream and make it for themselves. people are pulling up the ladder
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for others to climb and make it real for them. the measure that we have before us is the result of a promise -- middle-class tax cuts -- and that promise was made by donald trump, who said also that he would not benefit. and he sent his small business administrator to connecticut to say, quote, everyone will experience a tax cut, end quote. this plan is a scam. yes, some people will receive a tax cut initially, but if you earn less than $75,000 within the next decade, you will be worse off under this plan, and that means in connecticut 468,200 taxpayers in the bottom
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80% of income distribution will experience a tax hike under this planning. the majority of people in connecticut are losers, even though there may be a wealthy segment at the very top of the income distribution level that are winners. our children and grandchildren are surely losers because they will inherit the whirlwind of additional debt -- $1.5 trillion underestimates the amount of debt that will be added. i saw a cartoon in one of the newspapers that showed a boat -- a rowboat filled with water and one of the characters said to the other, drill another hole in the bottom of the boat to let the water out. and the sea was the debt sea. that's what this measure does.
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it fills our boat but not only ours, our children and grandchildren's boats with additional debt. they are losers, even though the wealthiest are winners. and the losers include also first responders. earlier this month the president of the fraternal order of police wrote a letter to the house and the senate leadership urging members of congress to protect the state and local deduction as it is. this measure eliminates that state and local deduction devastatingly for connecticut but also for first responders and firemen and police across the country, our teachers who depend o on the adequacy of federal funding for essential services, which will be reduced because there's no incentive for state and local taxes. they can't be deducted anymore. states like connecticut, new
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york, california, we know are the losers, and our middle-class taxpayers are losers. that's why the national education association has found that gutting state and local tax deduction will seriously harm already underfunded public education, risking nearly 250,000 education jobs, including over 5,000 teacher jobs in the state of connecticut. and it'll lead to about $250 billion in cuts to public education over the next decade. and while we're talking about education, eliminating the deduction for interest on student loans? what could be more stupid at a time when we are encouraging young people to invest in their futures, and we should be investing in them. ultimately also the losers are our job creators, the folks who
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need infrastructure, which will go unrepaired -- our roads, bridges, railroads, v.a. facilities, broadband, airports, and ports -- all of them desperately in need of rebuilding, not just repair, but true rebuilding and modernization and innovation. there's no requirement or opportunity here for repatriation of the trillions of dollars parked overseas. no provision for any sort of incentive for companies to repatriate and invest in an infrastructure bank. and so we will see -- continue to see neglect and disregard for that very important infrastructure. it is clear who will be the
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winners, despite all these losers, corporations that move overseas to evade taxes and benefit from special interest loopholes to lower their effective tax rates are going to be very richly rewarded. senate republicans have decided to open the arctic national wildlife refuge for oil and gas drilling. those special interests, they're winners. the bill borrows $1.5 trillion, so that those special interests and corporations can have those benefits, but it will also line the pockets of those corporate c.e.o.'s -- not just the corporations, but the c.e.o.'s. that's equivalent to the cost of all veterans' health care and benefits payments to every single veteran in america over the next decade. with $1 .5 trillion, by the way, you could also pay off all the
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student loan debt in america. think of the difference in lives that would make. think of all the young students debt-free. think of the vistas and the dreams that could be fulfilled. think of the economics that would be generated. and think also of again the false promises and the bait and switch when corporate c.e.o.'s were asked by the present chief economic advisor, gary cohn, how many of will you create jobs with that's corporate tax cuts? nary a hand went up in the audience. a picture says a thousand words. i end my words now simply with a warning that americans are far from buying this bait and switch
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and will see the truth in their pocketbooks. they will see the result of this consummately partisan measure rammed through without regular order, without real consideration, without the scrutiny that it needs and deserves, without public and popular support if we move ahead as the republican leadership apparently appears intent on doing. now is the time for us to show some backbone. i urge my colleagues to do it. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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