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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  December 6, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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gentleman from texas. mr. gohmert: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on s. 1541, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. gohmert: thank you, madam speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gohmert: madam speaker, the blue star mothers of america was established during world war ii and federally chartered in 1960. the organization's 5,000 members and 225 chapters provide support for our men and women in uniform and assist veterans' organizations. according to their charter, the blue star mothers also care for unsupported mothers. membership in the blue star mothers is open to a mother, an adoptive mother, or stepmother who lives in the u.s. of a
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child who serves in the armed forces or has served in the armed forces during world war ii or the korean war. wendy hoffman, the national president of the blue star mothers has sent a letter to the committee in request that their charter be amended, consistent with the resolution passed at their national convention. they stated the following -- as mothers of american service members and veterans we recognize changing family dynamics and have founded extremely important to include other mothers who have played a part in raising military heroes and also those mothers who are not residents of the u.s. unquote. the blue star mothers have also opened membership to mothers of children who have served in the military at any time. this bill makes the changes to the charter requested by the
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blue star mothers, our colleague, scott tipson, introduced the house version of the bill, h.r. 2813, and the judiciary committee approved mr. tipton's bill by voice vote. this commonsense bill opens eligibility to, quote, a woman who filled the role of both mother, adopted mother, step mother, foster mother, grandmother or legal guardian, unquote, to a current member of the armed forces or to a child who has served at any time. to be eligible, the mother will not have to reside in the united states as long as she is a u.s. citizen. i urge my colleagues to support this bill, to help enable the blue star mothers to continue their wonderful work. with that i'd reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. cohen: thank you, madam speaker. the senate version of h.r. 2813 is another bipartisan bill to reserve the federal charter of
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the blue star mothers of america. the revisions implemented by the legislation is once again reflecting minor changes. the blue sister mothers has been a federally chartered organization since 1960. existing charter has three ways, a, members must be birth mothers, stepmothers. and they must be residents of the u.s. and they must be serving in the armed forces or served in world war ii or the korean conflict or korean war. the group adopted a resolution expanding these eligibility criteria. forming amendment to the federal charter is needed to make these changes operable. 1541, the senate bill was introduced by senator benity of colorado. the house companion was introduced by representative tipton, also of colorado. it makes minor revisions. expands the eligibility requirements including foster mothers, grandmothers, foster
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mothers, all stepmothers. it expands eligibility related to service men and women who served in prior conflicts other than world war ii and the korean war. our men and women in the military need all the support we can offer so i you a plaud this effort by the blue star mothers to expand the support that the organization can provide. they do much to remember our service people and i appreciate their efforts. i ask my colleagues to support this legislation, and i would yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. gohmert: thank you, madam speaker. this is a -- also another very bipartisan bill. the blue star mothers is a wonderful group. i have met with them. i have wept with them. i prayed for them and am grateful to them for their work. i'm grateful for my mother who passed away in 1991. as a mother of a service member
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and my step mother as well now, what they're asking for makes perfect sense, and i would encourage my colleagues to support this resolution as the blue star mothers have requested and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 1541. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the chair is prepared to entertain one-minute requests. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. cohen: thank you, madam
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speaker. the other day the postmaster general said first class mail wasn't going to be first class any more. it wasn't going to be overnight. it might be two or three days. because of the problems we have with making the post office financially sufficient, there are ways that can accomplish this. i've got a bill that allows them to go into other services to expand their revenue base, and there's also about $5 billion that's an issue concerning payments into a health fund that could be resolved. the post office is almost as american as apple pie. a lot of people will switch to using the internet to pay their bills and they'll never go back to the post office. i'm afraid it's been recommended as penny-wise and pound foolish and a great american institution that serves many rural people and others without a lot of connectivity and fortune will suffer. i wish the postmaster generals will consider this legislation. i hope we'll save the u.s. postal office.
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i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. are there any further one-minute requests? the chair lays before the house the following personal request. the clerk: leaves of be a requested for mr. moreno for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the request is granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. gohmert: thank you, madam speaker. there's an awful lot of people hurting across america now. we take up a few suspension bills here that only the
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congress could deal with. it's something we have to do. we're proud to do. important to those organizations in two states. it's important to them, it's important to us. we have people on the other side of the aisle who come forward and try to make into a jobs debate when it would seem that some of the best debate would be if all of us en masse walked down to the other end of the hall of this bill and begin to seek to debate the senate, the senate leadership, that is, and democratic party on why they are so intent on stopping legislation that could put people back to work. there are people who say this is a do-nothing congress, and because the senate does so very
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little they give credence to that argument. one need only look to all the bills we've been passing here in the house that could help the economy, would help the economy, would put people back to work, would bring down dramatically the cost of energy which would bring down inflation and the stagnation and stagflation that's been put in place by this president and also the two years prior to this president when our democratic friends across the aisle controlled congress and jumped up spending like we could not have anticipated. our friends across the aisle correctly pointed out that republicans in 2006 were spending too much money. they were right in pointing out we should never be spending $160 billion more than we were taking in. they were right.
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as a result of their being right on that and their promises that they would rein in that runaway spending, our friends across the aisle were given the majority in november of 2006. what followed in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 under the democratic majority was runaway spending at a level never even dreamed of, at least on our side of the aisle. who would have ever dreamed that the same -- the same party that condemned republicans correctly for overspending the amount of money coming into the federal treasury by $160 billion would up that ante and overspend by 10 times that much ? over $1.5 trillion deficit in
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one year. it is just unfathomable. one of the things that so concern me about tarp, not only the bill when i read it, but the fact that it desensitized americans to just how much $700 billion is and how much it was in late 2008. it's my belief that if we had not passed tarp and people would be so descent tiesed to how much $7 -- descent tiesed to how much $700 -- desent tiesed to how much $700 billion was, then president obama wouldn't have gotten through the $800 billion pork luss, stimulus, whatever -- pokkulus, stimulus, whatever you want to call it, it's like a $1 trillion giveaway program. only if you considered giving
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away amounts like $500 million to $600 million to solyndra which goes bankrupt as throwing away money. we have set this country on a course toward ruin, and now the secretary of the treasury, mr. geithner, who we recall had time with the international monetary fund has came to light during his unfortunate confirmation hearings, four years in a row he was paid by the international monetary fund and was said to be an independent contractor, though he manifested control and some level of governance within the international monetary fund, he
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had a job with the sper national monetary fund but -- international monetary fund but they paid him as a contract and therefore when he signed a document swearing he would pay all of the taxes due on those documents that was listed on those four documents, then he was allowed to receive all of the money that should have been paid to the federal government in taxes in return for his sworn agreement to pay that tax independently on his own. as we found out during those confirmation hearings, he did not fulfill his oath, he broke his oath, he did not pay those taxes and now he's in charge of the treasury. how amazing. i've privately had internally
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revenue service employees tell me how griefed they were to have had -- grieved they were to have someone not pay his taxes when he was required to do so by law, went even further and he signed a sworn document that he would take care of it and didn't. because despite all the jokes about the i.r.s. and despite there being some people with the i.r.s. who can be a bit brutal at times, there's some wonderful people that work for the internal revenue service who are abundantly fair, want to do the right thing and have incredibly clean backgrounds. and in fact, the rule, as i was given, by i.r.s. employees is if you ever have underpaid your taxes or failed to pay taxes, you're out. you cannot work for the i.r.s.
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there have been incidents where an i.r.s. agent has overpaid taxes and then recalled someone giving them cash and without anyone ever being able to hold them accountable, no one would have ever reported it but to keep a clean conscience because the i.r.s. agent was so clean and had a conscience and wanted so to abide by honesty and truth and the u.s. law, filed an amended tax return which still allowed a refund coming back and as a result their employment was in jeopardy. . imagine the feeling of internal revenue service employees who throughout their stellar careers, had to keep all of their affairs clean, open,
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honest to find out they were going to be ruled and governed by someone who misrepresented on signing a sworn document that they would pay taxes, that they didn't until someone called it to their attention and approached to being appointed to that role. it's got to be tough for i.r.s. agents, who have had such stellar careers to have dealt with that. so what's wrong with having somebody who played so fast and loose signing documents, not paying taxes, playing with other people's money in the international monetary fund. i would submit that we get to things as we have recently with our secretary of the treasury, who enjoyed spending hundreds of billions of dollars from tarp,
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who's enjoyed the power of giving away money, paying money -- under tarp, it allows the secretary of treasury to pay more than fair market value. this is his sole opinion, which somehow, somehow, some day helps our economy, even a foreign economy. that's the mentality that the i.m.f. and the mentality at the treasury department. i did not think we could get a worst treasury secretary than hank paulsen than we got our current treasury secretary, making the mistakes he has and taking the positions he has and now wanting americans to come in and bail out foreign countries who are slightly ahead of us on
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the road to socialism. you go back to the roman empire, the romans found that over time when you continue to give people bread and circuses, they come to rely on those. they come to believe that they shouldn't have to work, that the government will give them entertainment and will give them money to use food that they need and it materially affects work. socialism of a sort was tried in the new testament church, and on this earth, on this planet with fall i believe individuals, it resulted as it always has and always will and the apostle paul coming to the conclusion and issued the order, ok, new rule, if you don't work, you don't
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eat. the pilgrims had a beautiful compact. they were going to bring together all into a common story house and share and share alike. brutal first winter caused them to lose so many. eventually they got to a new thing that we now call private property where people would own their own property, produce from it as they wished, with full freedom to do so. they could eat what they raiseded, they could trade what they raised and use it as they saw fit, that kind of mentality and that kind of structure that affords private property to people to own and use on their property or rental property they can use to produce income, those kinds of freedoms have allowed the entrepreneurism that has brought us to the point in
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history where we are the greatest nation in the history of mankind with more freedoms than any in the history of mankind. but over time, we have seen as those who fled europe and england to come to america to start a new life, so many of them fleeing persecution as christians coming to a new land where they would not be persecuted as christians. they came to america. and with private property engendering the kind of thought processes that led our founders through the guidance, that they got as pointed to by so many of the founders, we got our constitution. we have a structure of government from founders who did
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not trust government, who wanted to make it as difficult as possible to pass laws. and even once they were passed, they could be vetoed and struck down and saw gridlock as being a good thing. the more difficult it was to pass laws, the less chance that government would interfere in personal property rights and personal freedoms of the individual. europe, after world war ii seemed to move into this socialist type of thinking where the government will take care of people. some in this country after world war ii, for 60 years, going on 70 years now, have been pushing an agenda to get us to a socialist state where we take on the attributes of those systems that have repeatedly failed over
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and over in time. i was recently in israel. went to a former kabutz. those were truly communes, share and share alike, socialism, communism, it can sound so nice, everyone bring into the common store house, share and share alike, sounds nice, but it never works. and i saw that so clearly in an exchange program in the soviet union back in 1973, when it really was the soviet union. and on visiting a collective farm, a socialist farm, you look out the fields did not look very good. i worked on farms and ranches and those did not look productive. but i was surprised to see in the middle of the morning the farmers were sitting in the
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shade in the center of the village, and i spoke some russian back then and asked as nicely as i could without meaning to insult because i was curious, when do you work out in the fields? and they laughed. and one of them who seemed to be the most boisterous and said i make the same number of rubles if i'm out there or here in the shade, so i'm here in the shade. that's socialism. that's why it fails. and we have seen the riots in greece as the government tried to be responsible and say look, we're going broke, we're out of business. we have got to stop spending money we don't have. we have to rein it in and people are saying, don't cut back what i'm getting from the government, not understanding that if it's
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not there, your government will be taken over by some type of radical form, at least historically that's what often happens, and some dictator, which they would hope would be a been eff lent dictator would take over and get the rioting under control and set the government on a course. we saw a government after world war i in germany, trying to work toward a democratic process. economic times were tough and so a little guy with a moustache ends up actually getting elected to office. and then eventually taking over the country and we know the results of that. at lease -- at least most of us do, ahmadinejad doesn't think the holocaust happened but we
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know it did. why in the world when we see how it works out and that a country will not accept its own responsibility, as incredible as the people in a country like greece, you meet people from greece, you love them. they're just great folks. as beautiful as a country can be, as rich a history that a country can have like greece, you want to embrace them. understandable. but when a people such as those in greece want to continue down a bankrupt course and you see them heading for the edge of a cliff, and they say come join hands with us, it doesn't make me feel any better to hear people like secretary geithner say, let's, figuratively speaking, join hands as they
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jump off the cliff and take us with them. but we're told, gee, some of the european countries they'll feel better about trying to bail out greece if they know that the united states will come in if things don't work out and bail them out. i mean, we have had such radicalized spending, it's been out of control, and until we get that under control, we're a very little use to much of the world economically. the best thing we could do for greece, for all of europe, is get our spending under control, come back from a point of strength financially, show them by example how you get out of your problems and then the world
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will be better off financially, because you see repeatedly in history, when a country gets in trouble financially, it opens the door to dictators or radical form of a government, such as we see in iran today. that wasn't entirely economic. we do recall -- i was in the army at the time when president carter failed to support our ally the shah. never met the man, but apparently, historically, not a warm fuzzy fellow. wasn't fine with the folks in iran. but using very poor judgment, president carter hailed the ayatolla in his return to iran as a man of peace. and as a result of that man of peace, as president carter hailed him, thousands and
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thousands and thousands of americans have given their lives or had their lives taken from them. there are prices that are paid by bad judgment. and this country has paid a price for bad judgment. and now we have more efforts at bad judgment. and that would include telling the world that as we've overspent more than $1 trillion more than what we have coming in, don't worry, we'll come bail you out. i was surprised to find out this summer that we're not printing money to get us out of our problem. no. we're not printing money. i was surprised to find out, because i have said that before, i think we are printing money to pay off our debt that caused runaway inflation. i stand corrected.
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we aren't printing money to get out of our financial dilemma. no. i was told we aren't printing this money but adding zeros, ones and zeros in a computer to say we've got more money. we aren't even printing it anymore. how irresponsible is that? there is a price that will be paid for that kind of irresponsibility and it is very tragic that it may well be paid by our children and grandchildren, the height of irresponsibility, to lead that to future generations. and then to have our treasury secretary say, let's go bail these folks out, well, it's not really us, it's the international monetary fund, kind of reminiscent of president obama saying, we're going to go get gaddafi and we are going to help the so-called rebels, but
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we aren't actually going to do it. let nato do it. we started out a little bit there, but now it's not the united states at all, it's nato. so we checked and we find out, 65% of nato's military is united states armed services. oh, no, it wasn't nato much. 65% was the united states. it was the united states. and now the secretary of the treasury wants us to do this with countries that are failing and yet still unwilling to embrace the problem they've created. . and then we hear that unemployment has dropped from 9.1% to 8.6% or 9.0% to 8.6%
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and we feel like that is a wonderful thing. now, i'm not a huge fan of "the new york times," but there's an article in december 2's "new york times," an editorial entitled "been down so long." and i think it's worth entering into the congressional record by its reading, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% in november from 9% in october in the jobs report released friday. the economy added 120,000 jobs and job combrothe was revised up-- growth was revised upward in september and october. that's better than following payrolls but the new figures would be more about the depth of distress of the job market than about real improvement in
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the job prospects. most of the decline in november's unemployment rate was not because jobless people found new work. rather it is because 315,000 people dropped out of the work force, a reflection of extraordinarily weak demand by employers for new workers. it is also a sign of socioeconomic decline of wasted resources and oven tapped potential, the human equivalent of boreded up main streets and shuttered factories. the job growth numbers also came with calf yots. more -- caveots. more jobs were created, but with the job market so weak for so long, that is a low bar.
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it would take nearly 11 million new jobs to replace the ones that were lost during the recession and to keep up with the growth and the working age population in the last four years. to fill that gap would require 275,000 new jobs a month for the next five years. that's not in the cards. even with the better than expected job growth in the past three months, the economy added only 143,000 jobs on average. and most of those new jobs are low-end jobs. in november, for example, big job growth areas included retail sales, bartending and temporary services. teachers and other public employees continue to lose jobs and job growth in construction and manufacturing were basically flat. indeed, work, once the pathway
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to a rising standard of living, has become for men a route toward downward mobility. moto rich reported in the "times" recently showing that most people that lost their jobs in recent years now make less and have not maintained their lifestyles. with many experiencing what they describe as drastic and probably irrevirsible declines in income. -- irreversible declines in income. amongst the backdrop, the modest improvement in the jobs report even if sustained in the months to come would not be enough to repair the damage from the recession and the slow growth aftermath. "the new york times" goes on, help is needed, yet congress is
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tied in knots even basic recovery measures like extending federal unemployment benefits and the temporary payroll tax cut. meanwhile, the increasing likelihood of a recession in europe or any other setback could easily derail the weak american economy sending unemployment back up to double-digit recession levels. now, we've been hearing a great deal lately from the president and from members of congress on the democratic side about how we just needed to extend this wonderful payroll tax holiday. well, as the person who came up with the idea of a payroll tax holiday three years ago, i'm offended at the use of the term payroll tax holiday to cut 6.2% social security tax down to
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4.2% social security tax when it is not increased jobs, it has not helped jobs. we are talking $30, $40, $50, $60 when the payroll tax holiday was a true holiday. it would allow every worker in america not to pay any social security tax, any medicare tax, any income tax for at least two months, and it would not have hurt social security, the trust fund, and it would not have hurt the medicare system because it was totally paid for . my bill said that money that was left over, which was available at the time before our secretary of treasury just started giving it away, that money would be moved over and
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would cover the social security trust fund moneys that were necessary, so the tax would not be missed. it would cover the moneys that was supposed to go into cover medicare. and so the only way that money would be missed is that secretary geithner would not have been able to give it away and support those 4-1 democrats to republicans that are executives on wall street and who reside in controlling our investment banks. and that's a shock to some people when they actually do their research and find out wall street is 4-1 democrat over republican because they've been listening to democratic leaders for years talk about those sorry fat cat republicans on wall street. well, they hadn't done their research either. or if they had they would have been just so disingenuous in so
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saying. that money, as i and many others contended, that was in tarp and was in the slush fund of the secretary of the treasury would have been far better used by those people who earned it. by just saying you get every dime back that you were paying in this month and next month and i also knew privately in my heart that if we could have that payroll tax holiday, a true payroll tax holiday for two months, and initially i said a year, but if we could have that for even two months then i knew taxpayers across the country would see many, most for the first time, just how much money they were sending for the federal government to use and they would demand better from their congress, from their president. they would demand better from
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the bureaucrats in washington that get to the end of the year and see they got money left and rush out and throw it away, spend it on whatever they can. they would have demanded better government and they would have gotten it or they would have fired everybody at the next election and gotten better. but we didn't get a true payroll tax holiday, and i was very honored to have a chance to explain the concept of a payroll tax holiday when president bush came to our republican conference back at the first of the year in 2009, and as i explained to him, this is immediate. it immediately helps the economy. moody's said the tax holiday idea, a true tax holiday idea, not this bastardization of one, the true tax holiday would have increased the g.d.p. more than any other proposal, more than any democratic proposal or more than any other republican
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proposal. and as i explained to the president, we pass this and you sign it and if you say you were willing to sign it we would get it passed. and the day you sign it on a thursday, then on friday all of that money, all of the income tax, social security, medicare tax, all of that will be in the check of the person that owned it. it doesn't have to go through washington and washington take its cut out and dribble out $30, $40, $50, $60 to the worker. they got it all. and to know that was going to be paid for by stopping the giveaways to the auto companies, to the investment banks, to the fat cats as the president calls them, that is what i wanted to see and that money would go into the hands of the people that earned it. and then they would have decided. we did a survey in our district about what people would use their money for. look at your check. think about it for two months,
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what would you use it for? and we weren't talking about $20, $30, $40, $50, $60 like this president has. we were talking about $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $6,000 and when people did that they told us, for example, we got a gas guzzler and gas is so high now. we can barely pay our gasoline bill. but we're underwater on our car. we owe more than what the car is worth so we can't afford to trade it in so we're stuck. you let us have our money for two months, we'll buy a new car. and the people in america would have decided which car companies deserve to be bailed out. and they would do that by deciding which car they would buy and you wouldn't have had to have an auto task force secretively meeting in the white house, an auto czar, and all those folks breaching the
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constitution, breaching bankruptcy law and decide which dealers would keep their dealership and which would have them yanked away than years down the road say, whoops, too bad. we could have avoided all that. and trying to shore up the real estate market, we had people tell us, look, we got behind on our mortgage payments when gas hit $4 a gallon. you let us have the $6,000 we get to keep over two months, we'll catch up on our mortgage, we'll catch up on the other things. you don't need to have some big financial bailout situation because we'll take care of it ourself and we have our own money. then again to know that that would have been paid for by the tarp money and social security would not have been hurt. they would have gotten all the tax money that would have come in and just come from tarp instead of the individual taxpayers and to know that
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medicare would not have been hurt because that money would have gone directly into medicare, not from the taxpayer, for two months but from tarp, that would have been the right thing to do if you really want a stimulus. let the people earn it spend it. they'll know more than the people here in washington did. and it didn't pass and president obama has chosen to take the name payroll tax holiday that i was using three years ago and use it for a 2% tax. why? because it will look good for the election. why? because it looks to be so grand because, see, you can tell people that are working that, gee, the president's got you a petty $30 extra in your check and these republicans don't want you to keep that.
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that's not true. we do. but we also at the same time don't want social security not to have the money that it needs. what the president is not telling people as he has pitted those who are working now against our seniors and to the one group saying, hey, workers, i want you to have that little extra $30 in your paycheck. and republicans don't want you to have it. and then go into seniors saying, you have to worry about those republicans because they're not going to take care of social security. never bothering to mention that when he says we're allowing you to keep this money in your check now, it means that money will not be in the social security trust fund, not even the i.o.u. will be in the social security trust fund to take care of our seniors.
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we were told when this president was running that he was a uniter, not a divider. and yet we see in this campaign ploy that working people are being pitted against our seniors. we've seen class warfare. in essence if you see somebody has more than you do, you need to want it and go after it. after all, that basically seems to be the one common thread running through all the occupy wall street, washington, all the occupy groups. we had them come through washington screaming in the hallways today. . wasn't enough they are trying to disrupt a beautiful park. and why? they have no regard for private property. why? because they have become envious and jealous, and i can say that because i'm repeatedly told in the analysis that i have less
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assets than most people -- one time i had the least assets than anybody from texas in congress. my wife and i cashed out all our assets except our house so i could run for congress, so i could try to make a difference. and i am not jealous of anyone who has more than me. i thank god we have a country where people can be entrepreneurs and i have septembersed that as a role i can play in helping try to do that. so it breaks my heart when i see a president dividing america on class warfare, encouraging envy and jealousy, you ought to want what they have and demand and get theirs. leaders coming out and saying
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they fully embrace the occupy movement. it's a great thing when even the occupy folks can't explain anything other than they hate the people who got more than they do. there is a report, cnbc.com, more americans are going abroad for economic opportunities. it says the state department estimates 6.38 million americans are working or studying abroad, the highest number on record. we're told that 70% of americans, adults believe their children will not have as much opportunity and freedom as they've had. that's why i ran for congress. that should not happen. we can change that. but i'm mystified when i think about the record spending in
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2007 that was followed by additional record spending in 2008 under the guidance of speaker pelosi and leader reid because we know all spending originates in congress. this is where budgets are passed. it's where appropriations are passed. if money is appropriated, it has to be appropriated from here. 2007, 2008, i never here anybody, democrat or republican complain that those budgets didn't spend enough money. each year going beyond what we had spent the year before. a then to have a new president come in in 2009 and with speaker pelosi and leader reid still at the reigns jump up spending an extra trillion dollars and come
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before congress and the country and say, look, you have to raise taxes to get up to where this extra trillion dollar is that i have already spent. why couldn't we just say, you know what? nobody complained in 2007 or 2008 about too little money being spent. let's go back to the pelosi-reid budget that was so much more than the republican budgets of 2005 and 2006. we'll go back to those. it means we drop a trillion in spending. there you go. boom, we didn't need a supercommittee. and another easy solution that isn't talked about enough, but this house voted to cut our own legislative budget 5% last year and 6.4% the year we're in. that amount of money, though
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significant to most of us, is a drop in the bucket when you look at the overall federal budget, and the way that that should be used to make a difference is for this house because we have done it to ourselves, now having the moral authority to say to every federal department, every federal agency, we cut ourselves 5% last year, you are cutting yourselves 5% next year and the year after that, you are cutting yourself another 6.4%, 11% cut and there your we didn't need a supercommittee and didn't need your cuts. i'm grateful to chairman paul ryan. we had a good discussion back in july and i was so thrilled to hear that since he has been in congress like i have, the four terms i have been in congress, i filed a zero-gline budget bill
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that says no more automatic increases for every department. but we are living under the rules that were established for c.b.o. back in 1974, a very, very liberal congress that ended participation in southeast asia. we should have ended it because we had not given our soldiers, sailors, airmen, we had not given them the go-ahead to win that war. we had tied their hands. when we hear people say we ought to have learned the lesson in vietnam. the lesson is unless you are willing to commit 100% of the resources and give the rules of engagement that allow our military to win, they should never have been sent. it is outrageous to have our military in foreign countries with rules of engagement that don't allow them to adequately protect themselves. that's the lesson that should
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have been learned from vietnam. sam johnson can tell you the leaders in hanoi as the p.o.w.'s was taken out, they were laughing, you stupid americans, could have done that years before. saved thousands and thousands of american lives in vietnam. but we didn't commit it to win it. we shouldn't send anyone anywhere unless we can win. it costs the greatest american treasure and that's american lives. we are in an economic crisis. and as peter marshall, chaplain of the u.s. senate prayed in the 1940's, what we call crises, god
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calls as opportunities. it turns out those of us in the house, those of us in the senate, even the president, have an incredible opportunity. we'll never be called the greatest generation, but 100 years from now, if we bring spending down, under control, people can look back and say, wow, they had about 60 years, 65 years uncontrolled spending, it grew and grew and grew, and the people that were in government then did something that most have never been able to do when they get to that point when nearly 50% are getting more back than they are paying in. they were able to restrain their spending and get control of their financial destiny and we have another 200 years of the greatest nation in history.
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the other is possible. they look back and say, wow. the united states followed the tried and true path to the dust bin of history. they spent more than they had. people found that they could get congress to vote them money out of the treasury, and once again, that socialized concept, socialist concept failed and the nation failed. and the nation that provided for that brief time of camelot, a time of hope, relative peace, evolving toward more perfect freedom was lost because of financial irresponsibility. people have heard me so many
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times quote ben franklin. about it's easy to see from pro verbs and easy to see free speeches from people like ben franklin, our problem is a selfish problem. any time we spend more money than we have with complete and utter disregard, gross negligent disregard for the future of our children and one day their children and one day their children, complete disregard, we want to spend it on ourselves now. it's time to tell greece, to tell everyone, let's hold hands and do this together, not jump over the cliff spending good money after bad, let's do it by not spending money we don't
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have. and there's no way a country would not be upgraded when s&p and the world see that these people are really serious about not spending more than they have coming in. this is a brave country. they know how to make commitments. and that would get us back to having true freedom and not having the american citizens have to come begging to congress, please, please throw us more morsels. instead, congress would be a body that inspired greatness and inspired potential again and wouldn't lure young women into the rut of having children out of wedlock because they are bored with high school but instead give them encouragement, fineish high school, go to college, let's have incentives not to stay out of work, let's
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have incentives to get back to work and have incentives to sell our products around the world and decrease the tariff that we have on american-made goods, that would help us get us back on the road to fin is -- financial independence. when you are blessed when we have our own energy, we ought to use it. we are blessed and i suggest that this president get out of the way, stop preventing our use of our own energy and allow us to become an independent and great nation again. and with that, madam speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the jar yields back. the chair lace before the house ar communication. the clerk: the honorable, the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in
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clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on december 6, 2011, at 2:04 p.m., that the senate passed senate 384. i am with best wishes signed sincerely, karen l.h.a.a.s. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized as the designee of the minority leader.
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>> madam speaker.
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the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentlelady from ohio, ms. kaptur, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. ms. cap for: thank you very much, madam speaker. i'm pleased to join my colleagues, including john garamendi of california, this evening, to talk a little bit about the standoff that appears to be happening in discussions between the senate an the house and the seemingly irresolveable issue of whether or not average american families are going to be able to maintain a tax benefit on their payroll tax deduction relating to social security contributions for the average fam -- contributions. for the average family, this is about $1,000 a year. whether they'll be able to maintain that tax benefit or
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whether or not that money is going to be taken away from them and tax breaks given to multimillionaires and billionaires in our country. it appears that the republican party is quite averse to having everybody in this country pay their fair share. and i just want to go on record as saying that at this point in our economic recovery nothing could be more important than keeping that tax benefit in the hands and pockets of america's families. they're the ones that actually take those dollars every month and they buy essentials. not extravagant purchases. they make their car payment, if they're fortunate enough to have a car. they buy enough food for their family. they buy clothing. and during the holiday season, they might even be able to buy a little bit extra, something special, for their holiday dinners and pay down some of
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the debt their kids have in trying to pay their college or after high school training bills. and it's really amazing to me that in the richest and most powerful country in the world that we continue to have this tremendous friction here in the congress to do something that is so reasonable, that is just so eminently reasonable and would contribute to economic growth. we know that consumer spending is the most powerful institute to help lift this economy out of its dold rums. as we see -- its doll dm drums. as we see the automotive industry recover, and we saw more signs of that with an announcement by ford that it is moving its truck line back up from mexico to avon lake, ohio, and making over a $128 million investment there. as we see the industry that the obama administration and
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certain members of this congress fought so hard for the recovery of that industry, we see car sales increasing. that's because people have spendable income. so why would you want to, at this point in our history, allow those who have the most not to pay their fair share and to take away $1,000 a year on average from middle class families who would spend those dollars in helping to propel economic growth. i can guarantee you that at firms i represent, like chrysler-jeep, fee at, that the -- fiat, that the wrangler, the cherokee, they are selling well. that the cruze vehicles are sell like hot cakes because people are able to make those monthly payments. that particular part of the discussion here in washington makes such eminent sense. why in the world would you want to penalize middle class
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families because you want to just take care of the top 1%? it simply isn't fair. it simply isn't fair. it would seem to me that in the holiday spirit, that both chambers should get together, the tax writing committees, and figure out a solution that is fair to all families. it's clear to me what that is. it's pretty clear to me that with corporate profits at all-time highs, and those who run these corporations and sit on their boards, they have been doing quite well, thank you. and it's time for them to do something for the republic. it's not that big a deal. who is going to miss an eighth home or seventh yacht. but the average family is having trouble meeting its credit card debt, paying their kids' bills, having enough as prices go up, enough to pay for food on the table, and taking care of elderly relatives
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sometimes who need extra medications. so i would urge those in both chambers who are on these budget and tax writing committees to spend the time that's necessary and not burden the american people with unnecessary delay and give the economy the boost that it needs by maintaining the middle class tax cuts on the payroll tax cuts and making those at the top 1% end pay their fair share. many, many years ago, they paid a lot more percentage wise than they do today and we had lots of job creation in this country. it eludes me why those at the very top end of the income scale who have taken mosts of -- most of the benefits of growth in the last 20 years why they are so averse, when they're doing so well to helping our country and to making sure that everyone has a chance to prosper because when everyone prosper, does the top
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1%. and that's where this consumer spending injection from the middle class tax cut, payroll tax cut, plays such a significant role in the economy. now i wanted to say a word also that as we buy for the holiday season, nothing could be more important than buying made in the u.s.a. goods. why is that important? it's important because when you see that label, made in the u.s.a., you know that those dollars flow back to that company and those workers and you actually help build wealth in this country. last weekend, when we were doing some shopping for the holidays, we went in one store and i kept looking at labels and it was china, china, china, i'd put it back on the shelf. it was actually staggering what percentage of those goods a majority of the goods on the shelf, were actually made someplace else. i made a point of going to a
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craft fair in our region and was able to buy several christmas gifts that were handmade and i felt really good about that because i knew that those people who had taken their artistic abilities and they had created tableware, table lynn ens, other -- linens, other items, jewelly, that was handmade, i knew it would ben fete those families and go to work in the communities they came from. it shouldn't be so hard to find made in the u.s.a. goods on the shelves of our major retailers. i would, our citizens, as you're doing your holiday shopping, and i know sometimes it's hard, to try to look for that label, made in the u.s.a. and help your own community to find small businesses to find products in your community, that are made here so that those dollars recirculate over and over and over again and help build the real wealth of our nation that made america great. i urge you to look at candymakers in your region, at
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those who are making cookies, those who are small entrepreneurs of different kinds, making scarves, i was able to go to one potter in our region and ordered several items for this holiday season, that's a local artist who has her own shop and makes her own goods right there, exports out of that shop and i know that's going to help our region grow. so we can do a lot in our own lives and the way we spend those precious dollars to really help job creation in our regions, in our country, at a time when we really need it. i see that some of our other colleagues have joined us here on the floor and i want to welcome congressman paul tonko of the great state of new york, who is such an outstanding and really relentless voice on job creation, economic recovery in our country, for joining us this evening. mr. tonko: thank you, representative kaptur and thank you for kicking us you have on a wonderful hour of discussion
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for a plan to revitalize our economy and grow the opportunities for our working families across this country. president obama has ushered forward a wonderful package called the american jobs program that will enable us, as an american society, to respond to the crises for jobs and the crises for economic recovery, all of which are incredibly valuable to the future of this country. we need to invest, i believe, in a way that allows us to provide for the tools that are essential for a modern day economy and modern day manufacturing. this proposal stands in sharp contrast to the work done a decade and a half ago, a decade ago. what what was -- what was done then was this spending frenzy that paid for tax cuts for millionaires and paid for tax
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cuts for billionaires and fought wars in iraq and afghanistan and offered a pharmaceutical plan for the medicare program, all without having a payment mechanism. and so this spending frenzy, which was tremendous, there was a huge bill for the american public, had been done offbudget and had no funding sources. there were no pay-fors as they're addressed today. the contrast here with the president's proposal work president obama's proposal, is last an offering for relief for america's working families. for her middle class strata with a payroll tax, -- payroll tax extender, payroll tax reduction extension. that enables both employers and employees to realize a savings that then allows us to put together a balanced approach on
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assisting the economic revitalization of our working families and middle class and providing investments that are essential going forward. automating our manufacturing concepts in providing an inducement of an ideas economy into the equation of success for this country. that all requires investment. and so as we look at this plan that is very balanced and paid for, we know that we can compete in that demrobal market, if we're given the appropriate revenues to invest in a modern manufacturing concept. keep in mind, certain sectors were totally avoided by the bush administration. no focus on agriculture, no focus on manufacturing, a focus on the service sector of the economy, but narrowly on the financial services. we all know the saga there,
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that avoidance of the watchdog, turning our backs so there could be this laissez-faire approach brought america's economy to its knees. we saw the displacement of 8.2 million jobs. that was painful and impacted people in tremendously profound measure and people lost their lifetime savings through those failures. housing values went down they plummeted and again, 8.2 million jobs were lost. and so we have an opportunity to here, representative kaptur, as you talked about an extension of the payroll tax holiday, to not only provide for savings for our families but for investments in a modern world manufacturing model that enables us to again utilize the strength of research, the strength of technology, the
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strength of ideas, that can then bridge into a new threshold of manufacturing opportunities in this nation and of course the investment in the human infrastructure where we train and retrain workers for that automated phase that comes in manufacturing. i thank you for bringing the focus tonight on the floor of the house of representatives to what we call in our caucus a progressive agenda, for revitally -- agenda for revitalizing the economy and emphasizing, underscoring, the concept of making it in the u.s.a. making it in america, putting a focus again on the manufacturing base. i represent a host of communities in milltowns. they were the economic engine for an industrial revolution. they were the epicenters of invention and innovation that led to this westward movement that enabled us to impact not only the growth of this nation in favorable measure but to
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impact the quality of life of peoples around the world, simply by our spirit of pioneer which is within our d.n.a. to make a difference in the product delivery, in the quality of life that's addressed by this that product line and i'm filled with optimism, i'm filled with optimism if we move to go forward in a way that invests in the american worker, invests in the american business, small business, and invests in our ingenuity and innovation. thank you so much for the discussion. ms. kaptur: congressman tonko, i want to thank you so much for coming to the floor tonight to again express your deep and abiding passion for jobs in our country. i want to follow on something you said. this is a chart that show ours trade deficit with china. i'm probably like your community, our community -- and probably like your community, our community is loaded with goods coming in from china. if we look back at the last decade, the enormous rise in those goods on our shelves when
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you really put the math of it on chart, it looks like an avalanche. it is just crowding all this money in 2010 over $273 billion of hard-earned american money was actually used to purchase chinese goods and that money then went back to, not the united states but to china. and you think from everything f tableware and food products now and i had an experience over the weekend, and i ran into a woman who is called the master roaster and called beas blend from
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toledo, ohio and said i need a small loan and i don't want to go into debt and i told i would put her in touch with the small business administration, i'm meeting companies all the time that are inventing new products, incidentally, very good products, and try to counter this trend of more imports versus our exports. and her product is a product that can be sold locally, interstate and ultimately sold internationally because it is vacuum-packed and i was thinking about the creativity of this individual trying to make it in a tough economy and a couple days later i was in a coffee shop in lakewood, ohio, that i met this master roaster and she said interesting you should say that, i'm trying to bring together all these master
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roasters across the coast. we have roaster coastals, but the point was people were thinking and creative and bringing something new to the market and trying to counter these trends. and because small business is located in our communities, it's interesting to look at the last several years as well that conforms to the rise of chinese imports and other imports into our country and look at the distribution of income of people in our country. and what is happening is what the american people obviously know, which is why we need to maintain the payroll tax holiday and to make those in the top 1% pay their fair share. the difficult veeringens between people who are in the lower income spectrum and lower has just exploded. those who had much and those who had just enough, and those who
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have little were not so far apart, but the gap has just widened to a level where the american people know something is fundamentally wrong and that the ship of state is very out of balance and that somehow we have to begin to make sure that all boots are lifted in this society and not some boots get lifted. and we know that job creation, business growth, business start-ups, business expansion of american-made products are essential, products that can be exported that can help to close the trade gap, but also begin to narrow the income gap that we see as we allow more income to be earned by those who are in the middle class and who are in some of the categories of income where they are stretching just to make it every day, every week to put enough food on the table. this is really un-american.
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this looks like an old stratified society from times past that were very, very undemocratic places where we wouldn't want to live, kind of places that our relatives fled because they didn't have enough to eat or earn a fair day's wage. we are joined this evening by swam jackson lee from the great state of texas, such a hard worker, who is such a voice for citizens across our country and our world every day. and we thank you so much for joining us this evening. ms. jackson lee: thank you for allowing me to join you and join the distinguished the gentleman from new york. we are on the floor often but as i listen to you discuss the issues of not only make it in america but something you have been on. but we have known ohio over the years to be the center point of manufacturing, the center point of production of what we call
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the raw materials, overlapping with our friends in the midwest on steel production, and we call ohio just the true salt of the earth and the underpinnings of america's economy. again, they are fortunate to have a member such as marcy kaptur who has never stepped away from the morality and the moral compass of allowing members to work and constituents to work and to fight for them, having the opportunity to work and to create opportunities and jobs than in manufacturing ohio. we thank you, joined by mr. tonko who has never waivered frr assisting his constituents. i want to join you and pick up on a chord if i can. the president went to -- i guess he listened to us and went to
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kansas and went to the place where teddy roosevelt, the man with the big stick -- when you have a big stick around here, i don't believe in violence, but if i might get one quote in, that i like, this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules. this is what we have been speaking about and this is what our public has been speaking about. this is what the could haveey maker has been asking about, give us an even playing field. i want to speak as i participate in this special order on one or two points and that is, these go hand in hand. we know there are people who are unemployed. and there are working people that will benefit from the extension of the payroll tax cut. and we also know that we have great respect for our colleagues, but we have not been
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tending to the people's business for the last three weeks. we have been passing legislation that have been job killers and we need -- i don't mind doing things in a bipartisan way. i never seen you reject bipartisanship or mr. conoco reject bipartisanship or mr. garamendi. we are eager to move this country forward and i'm going to give the other body a compliment because i know they were stuck on the plan of the payroll tax, but i like the idea of a 1.9% surtax applied in 2019, not even in 2012 to millionaires in a 10-year period. and there will be increasing fees on mortgage leapeders paid to freddie mac and fannie mae and those may have to be reviewed by this body, but it is seeking a way to ensure that everyone gets a piece. let me tell you what the
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response is. the hostage taking comes when one senator says, ok, we don't want the bush tax cuts to ever expire. that's their response. so i just want to say to my colleagues, the olive branch has been extended. if we do not do this, i will tell you we will be risk, the g.o.p. will be risking 160 million americans will not be protected and subjected to this massive, if you will, tax increase. if we do it, we'll give 160 million americans relief, 300,000 people making over $1 million will give a sacrifice, a teddy roosevelt fair shot, $1,000 to $1,500. let me speak about this unemployment circumstance. six million americans lost their
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jobs. and i want to show this picture of a happy family. you've got manufacturing and we have the houston port. and when the international economy flows down, what happens to the guys that load and unload ships. my guy that's in this family that's in need, he has been off work for a month or two months and has a beautiful wife and children. medical problems, needs surgery, these are the kinds of people that we are castidebating, the salt of the people in ohio where they were laid off or slowed down, says "illness budget cuts ," and you see their three lovely children. if this gentleman does not get unemployment, if he continues to be laid off, we are talking
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about a family that is not on public assistance but a family, that, in fact worked which is unemployment insurance, car insurance, fire insurance, they worked, and they have come upon hard times. new yorkers worked and come upon hard times. the people of california worked and come upon hard times and those in ohio. i would say in the spirit of bipartisanship to my good friend, find a way to repay the american worker, who have come upon hard times, the children who have watched their parents get up every day and work. here's what my swan song and so the gentleman can be yielded to, here's my swang song on this point, i wanted to show this picture, because i have been plagued over the weekend by the words of one of our nag figures who indicated that poor children have no role model, no one in
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the poor communities ever go to work, no one watches who happens to be poor, any family member get up and go to work unless they are doing illegal activity. so a solution is, we watch the janitors in the schools, let's make sure the poor children pluck them out of the pre-k, first grade and sixth grade and do the work of an adult who is providing for a family and in my day, sanitation department was good, hard work who were providing for their families and maybe they educated a whole generation of children by being a janitor or someone who was housekeeping or someone who was cleaning facilities or office buildings. we aren't suggesting that these individuals are not looking for greater aspirations. maybe someone got a g.e.d. or
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went to a community college, but to suggest that poor children in ap latch iowa -- appalachia or in places of inner city houston or rural america don't have role models because they are impoverisheded and the only thing they are able to see is illegal activity is an insult to the american spirit and reflection to what we have come to in this body where we can't give to the working class this wonderful family that is on the front pages of our paper, indicating that they are only in this situation, they only can see daddy go to work because he is without work and then getting back surgery, so compounded, not because they are poor and in a family where nobody gets up and
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goes to work. we have to do better than this and take the teddy roosevelt spirit. i'm glad the president was in kansas and taking on this kind of hard talk in order to provide for the working families. i will yield. ms. kaptur: i thank you so much for bringing this family's plight to light here in the congress on behalf of all of america's families who are suffering in this holiday season. and isn't it an indictment on the legislative branch of this country at the national level that when people need unemployment benefits, we have to run out the clock right to the bitter end, right to the bitter end for benefits that have been earned, earned. in church on sunday, a couple came up to me and the husband asked, congresswoman, if you hear of any other jobs, please let me know. what's going to happen with unemployment benefits?
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this was a family that obviously needed help, a family that spent their entire life, man and wife both working. and he didn't want to ask about the unemployment benefits, but he knew that for that family, maybe it was all that would be there in the near term. and i'll give you a couple of figures i would like to put on the record this evening. one, i called the head of one of our major railroads the other day because i was trying to get the word out in my region that there were 4,000 jobs that c.f.x. was offering around the country and i wanted to make sure that people in our region knew they were available. and the chief executive officer of the company said, well, you know, we have had 500,000 applications for 4,000 jobs.
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the america american people want to work. it is not that they do not want to work, as some of our friends on the other side infer. no, no, they are looking every day. they are not finding the jobs that existed in past generations, and we know that those jobs have been displaced by imports from places like china and company after company that used to be located in our neighborhoods aren't there anymore, so it's harder to find jobs. we have to create new jobs but the new ones aren't coming onstream fast enough. . . the desire to work in our country is higher, millions more people want to work than there are jobs available right now. for many families, unemployment insurance is all that's left for them. and again, this congress is
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just waiting to the bitter moment, rather than acting responsibly to help families who literally have built this country and who have a very good work ethic and want to work. so i wanted to thank her, thank the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee, for bringing this subject up and putting a human face on what this unemployment really looks like out in the country and if anyone has any doubt, come to ohio. come meet these families. who want to work and are looking every day and of course now you know the way it works, you can't go into a company, they tell you, we might have 100 job bus apply us to -- to us over the internet you go into a faceless system where you can't find a human being. they're trying out there in the country and all the economic figures show us, and the last thing i'll say here for this segment, zandi, mark zandi, for
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moody's, has classified every expenditure one can make that gives the economy more than $1 for every dollar expended and would you believe if one looks at things like unemployment insurance and payments to the unemployed, that produces the biggest bang to the economy. well over $1 ppt 35 for every $1 invested, as opposed to, let's say, tax credits or something like that, these arcane tax provisions, where less than 30 cents is actually reinvested in the economy system of unemployment insurance extensions also makes sense for economic growth at this very tender time because the people who receive those benefits spend them on essentials. they drive the economy. i yield to the gentlelady. ms. jackson lee: i want to put two more numbers on the record as you did. if we don't, you made a very
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valid point that here we are at the last minute, you would think that we would be sensitive enough to know that families are gathering, families want to have a holiday for the children, they're trying to be the santa that they know the children believe in, they're trying to make preparations, families are trying to find ways to be with loved ones, maybe gasoline that they may need to drive a car. if we don't do this unemployment insurance, we are poised, unlike if we did it and we get bang for our buck, to lose 200,000 jobs. compound that with not extending the payroll tax cut and we lose 400,000 jobs. that is almost 600,000 jobs and i finish my saying, the tragedy of your point about china, and i want to make it very clear that we love all people, we
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wish the best for the people of china, it is the policies, the currencies, but not only do we have this to, in the backdrop, we have to fix our own house so that we're not billing a bridge in california that has drawn steel and workers and designers and accountants from way across the ocean in china. we've got to get our house in order. so 600,000 payroll tax extension doesn't go forward, we're losing 400,000 jobs and the unemployment insurance doesn't go forward, we're losing 200,000 jobs. is this the way to welcome the most sacred for many faiths an many families, season of the year of giving, where we teach our children to give? is this what we should be doing to the american people?
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is this what we should be doing to our soldiers who will be coming home by the end of december? i think not. i thank the gentlelady for allowing me to share these thoughts and i'm only looking forward to getting our house in order and getting our holiday house in order and reflecting on the needs of the american people and not special interests. ms. kaptur: i want to thank the gentlelady for those very profound comments tine and just place on the record that just in our church, last weekend, the priest informed us that compared to last year, he was asking for people to dig deeper because the number of baskets and the number of asks was well over 125, i think just for our church it's over 360 now for this year. for a small congregation, that's a bit of a struggle. and that's just one place, one corn for the america, repeated in 50 states, in every hamlet,
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and i appreciate what the gentlelady said about the spirit of this particular season. of light and giving. and that the people who are out of work have earned these benefits. they're not asking for any handouts. they're asking for the insurance they earned as a condition of work in order to help have a merry christmas and happy hancu -- hanukkah, they're not asking for anything they haven't earned. our leader, congressman john garamendi of california, is with us tonight, we thank him so much for reserving this special order and for the incredible leadership he has exhibited each and every week that we have been in session and just a powerful and sustaining voice on making it in america an creating jobs here. mr. fware men dee: ms. capture,
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you have gone too far. thank you so much for picking up. tonight is a special tight for california. we lit the holiday tree in front of the state capitol, a tree that came from a community very close to where i was raised in california, i was out there with the choir from summerville high school in an area that i represented for 20 years and then other, around the area. beautiful, beautiful tree from the stanislaus national forest in california. there really is much to celebrate and much to be concerned about in america. we are a -- we are still a very great country. we're the strongest, most wealthy place on this earth. and we have incredible opportunity and potential. i saw it in those kids that were singing in front of this nation's capitol this evening. yet there's so much pain as was pointed out by our colleague from houston and you earlier. americans care about each
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other. they deeply are concerned about what's going on in our communities and they want solutions to the problem. that's a hard task, there's 435 of us here and in the senate another 100 and of course the president. it's our task to find the solutions. the president has put forth a very powerful program called the american jobs act. one piece of it has, fortunately, passed and it was passed a few days after veterans day when i guess we were out at the parades and we made promises to take care of the veterans. and fortunately, a piece of legislation did pass, only one part of the american jobs act, though. there's much more to do an my colleagues, ms. kaptur and the gentlelady from houston, we're talking about a piece of it. but the veterans' piece provides employers a very powerful incentive to hire a veteran.
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a very, very powerful incentive. you can reduce your taxes by $ 2,600 to hire a veteran that's been unemployed. a long-term unemployed veteran, $5,600 reduction in taxes and in addition to that, the president proposed that if it is a veteran who is disabled as a result of their service, $,600 reduction in taxes. -- $9,600 reduction in taxes, that's right off the tax line. we've got to get thes ming an out there, hire, put people back to work. you were so powerfully putting forward a moment ago the issue of the payroll tax deduction. it's going to endful there will be a tax increase. for every american who is earning less than -- earning up to $106,000. a tax increase, average $
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1rks500 across this nation. we want to keep that tax reduction in place. we democrats do not want a tax increase on the working middle class. no. but again, as was pointed out a moment ago, our republican friends are saying, well, that's a good idea but where are you going to get the money? you can't get the money from those whose income, annual income is more than $1 million. $1 million a year annual income. you can't tax them. that's not fair to tax those people. they're the job creators. baloney. they're not the job creators any more than any other small business in the community who doesn't even come close to having an annual income of $1 million. let's be fair about this. they've had an enormous tax break over the last decade. it's time for them to come forward and share in the burden of america and put americans back to work. the american jobs act work. ms. kaptur, you're returning
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the -- you're running this operation. ms. kaptur: i was going to yield the time to you. but i want to say, this is a coast-to-coast ooperation. we have you from california, congressman tonko from new york, congresswoman jackson lee from texas, and me from the heartland. that's a broad base. mr. garamendi: all right, i yield to my friend and colleague from new york. mr. tonko: if ms. kaptur could take us back to that second chart she shared with us and the depic of real, average after-tax income. you talk about the unfairness out there or the inability to go forward and tax fairly. you look at that demographic, you look at that graphic, i
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should say, and to see the injustice that is displayed just in simple line graph format, that flat lining of america's middle class, from 1979 forward, that flat lining contrasted with that steep climb upward for those in the upper income brackets, tells the whole story. and you know, people have said, across the country, when i go home to the district, people say to me, they're concerned. they're upset. you know. they've been taught, rightfully so, they've learned a loy -- along the way if you play fair, you roll up your sleeves and you abide by the rules, that you should be able to have within your grasp that american dream. the american dream. one that allows for working families to climb the ladder. they don't feel that that's within their grasp today. and it's not only the injustice
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here that is measured on a chart. and be mindful, they don't reject the notion of working hard and scoring big. making money. they're not concerned about that. they honor that. what they're concerned about is the undue influence that's -- that the powerful have, the power they have with the process and the policy outcomes and the fact that we would avoid fairness in revenues and not invest in the american dream, not invest in opportunity, not invest for the prosperity of this nation, is what bothers them. they don't want to be ignored that way. they want to know that a process out there is government working to create policy, initiate the comeback that enables people to have within their grasp the american dream. that's what they want to know
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is alive and well here in washington and now it's a fight, it's a fight for the democrats in this house to score a victory for the middle class. we want that victory. we want people to be able to know that there's a fairness out there. look at it, $1,00, $1,500 whatever your strata would produce as a fafe rabble outcome is something for -- as a favorable outcome is something for them. month-to-month they'll score some victory where the essentials, as representative kaptur labeled them, are available with these savings, contrasted with opportunities we see here that find this group that's rising to the top exponentially just won't share the prosperity in that way. and i think it's the avoidance of sound progressive policy that's really the struggle right now and people are expressing their anger and frustration and rightfully system of mr. gare men tee: if
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i might interrupt you, mr. tonko. . mr. garamendi: we have all been back home over thanksgiving and i talked to a couple of those people on that blue line and they're willing to pay a little more for fairness and i have heard from some who said we can't do anything until you control medicare and what do they recommend in medicare? they recommend extending the age from 65 to 67 and i say what sense does that make when you consider medicare started in 1964, 51% of those men and women over 65 had no health insurance. today, virtually everyone over 65 has health insurance. it's medicare. one of the sole ilt bedrock programs that keeps seniors from falling into poverty. back in 1964, 30% of the seniors were in poverty.
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without medicare, they would be in poverty again. and yet, republican colleagues want to eliminate medicare and turn it over to the private insurance companies who will not provide a reasonably priced policy or benefit to somebody who's 65 because those are the people that get sick. similarly, they have said repeatedly since 1930's, they want to terminate social security. we hear that. we hear the background buzz around this building and want to terminate social security. these are the programs that give american seniors the dignity and the opportunity not only to live a good life, but to even live to stay alive. mr. tonko: let me talk about a point of clarification to add to that discussion. on this whole tax fairness, people have approached me and said, explain to me -- because
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they hear different scenarios, they were imagining there would be a surcharge on $1.2 million. if you are over that threshold and you have an annual income of $1.2 million, the people are reminded that it's on that $200,000 over the first $1 million, on which that surcharge is levied. that's an important fact that is sometimes lost in the discussion. people say wait a minute, the first $1 million isn't touched? mr. garamendi: doesn't change at all. mr. tonko: they are saying we have been flatlined for so long and this rise for the highest on the income ladder. mr. garamendi: surcharge is on the amount over $1 million. mr. tonko: there is more determination by america's middle-class families to have it fixed and done correctly. and the other thing is, i'm
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reminded every time i go home by middle-class americans, modest household incomes that we are job creators, my children needed my attention at home, i opened a child care center in my home. i charge and i have a small business. many small business people tell me, an idea came to mind and wanted to turn it into a product. they are small business owners. they are connected to the community. they are connected to the small community. mr. garamendi: the american jobs act, which we are trying to push through this congress to get men and women back to work, provides a tax reduction for the employer on wages less than $50 million. so for your child care provider, for the small business person, the carpenter out there in the small business, they also get a 50% reduction in their payroll tax. instead of 6.2, it goes to 3.1.
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this isn't just for the wage earner but for the business person. why don't they support this? mr. tonko: this is a statement of underpinning of support for middle class, for working families, for small business. it's the engine that's making it happen. small business, the investment we can make, not only the tax cut we can provide here, but the investments that are required for the ideas to move along. we are in a challenging time. we are there competing in a global economy. we invest in the intellectual capacity of this nation and how foolish of us not to take that investment, that product of that investment and put it into working order. that's what we are asking for here. give small business the tools. give working class families the opportunity and we will have a comeback story that is glorious and we should be filled with optimism if we do the things
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that are so logical and that polls across america, individual polls from all sectors, all angles, all different groups, are saying this is what america wants and how come they can't get it delivered by their government? they are speaking to us loud and clear through their opinion surveys. we want this progressive schedule, we want this agenda. make it happen. we are trying as the democratic caucus in the house of representatives, representative kaptur, to make it happen if we put our minds to go in a very bipartisan, bicameral way, and making a progressive agenda happen. ms. kaptur: i would like to add that i agree with you completely. every small business that i walk into tells me, marcy, bring me customers. customers have expendable income. there are no more important
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decisions that we face as a country right now than to make sure that middle-class families have spendable income, middle-class families who have been holding the line without additional spending power over the last decade and to make sure that we extend unemployment benefits to those who have earned those benefits because that has the maximum bang inside the economy when people spend those dollars to -- on basics, on essentials. those are two practical decisions from an economic standpoint, no rational human being would disagree with. and they contribute to economic growth. they contribute to keeping us on an upward path as we move forward here in our country after coming out of this deep, deep, deep recession. mr. garamendi: if i might, ms. kaptur, fascinating piece of information came across my desk
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today and has to do with the affordable health care act which our republicans call obamacare. it's working. it's working. you talked about spendable income. 2.65 million seniors, because of the affordable health care act, had an average of $569 additional in their pocket as a result of the discount drug benefit program. wow. it was incredible. 50% discount on brand-name drugs saved $1.5 billion for two million seniors, saved $1.5 billion, average of $569. it's working. it's working. and very interesting, these kinds of statistics come across and normally we ignore them, but
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the annual wellness program, 1,931,927 seniors were able to take advantage of the annual wellness program that is in the affordable health care act. 24 million seniors took advantage of the pre-service program in the owe forwardable health care act. when folks are out there and putting down obamacare, be careful. it's not a negative. it's a very, very strong positive. and you will like this one, ms. kaptur. ohio, 1,864,234 seniors took advantage of the affordable care, 50,178 seniors in ohio took advantage of the discount, the drug discount. it's working. that's exciting. this is legislation that we passed and actually helping the
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seniors and the economy by putting money back in their pockets rather than in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. ms. kaptur: with those seniors, i know the first place they are going to spend the extra dollars after they pay for food, will be on their grandchildren. and all i hope is they don't buy chinese toys this christmas and find a way to buy little outfits that are made at your local craft fair or find candy that is made by a local firm or find ways to spend those dollars wisely because if we do that, spend every dollar wisely, we really lift the economy of this country and put the dollars back in the economy. mr. garamendi: mr. tonko gave me that look, what about new york? what about new york?
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1,410,533 new york seniors were able to get free medical services and 1727,691 were able to take advantage of 50% drug discount. good for you. you voted for that act. i voted for that act and i haven't talked about california. should i? mr. tonko: share it for your home state. mr. garamendi: 1,962,809 seniors in california were able to get free medical services and 139,396 were able to take advantage of the 50% drug discount. $569 average savings for seniors. it's working. affordable health care program is working for seniors and putting money back into our economy to grow this economy. ms. kaptur: that sounds to me very life-giving, mr. garamendi and does president sound like there are death panels or
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anything like some of the opponents were saying when that bill was first passed. in fact, seniors have a greater chance to live now because they can get the medicine they need and check-ups they need and that is very life-affirming. mr. garamendi: i think it is 20-some million young men and women, aged 21 to 26, are now back on to health insurance, their parents' health insurance as a result of this law. we'll pick up that statistic as soon as i get my hands on it. mr. tonko: so many of these programs, including the long-standing medical program are looked at in dollars and cents and argued about how they are improved or not improved but sometimes lost in the whole discussion is the value added. the whole underpinning of support that is offered the senior community. prior to the inception of medicare in 1965, families that retired were probably going to see their economic well-being
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dip precipitously and what they had here with the medicare foundation is their economic stability, their dignity factor was addressed in tremendously sthrong and powerful ways, so that they were able to move forward in those retirement years with that sense of dignity, with the quality of life, with economic stability. these are facts that need to be maintained in the front of any discussion that's undue medicare, would be a tragedy for american families, for our seniors. and certainly, let's go forward as we have said with optimism and invest in medicare and invest in social security and let's invest in an economic recovery where we cut where we can but invest where we must and compete effectively and to my colleagues, representative kaptur and representative
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garamendi, i join with you in promoting optimism and wanting to have progressive change. mr. garamendi: i thank you so very much. and marcy kaptur in grabbing the microphone early on i was down with the christmas tree lighting. we know we can put men and women back to work. we have the tools and the question is whether this house has the will to do so and not increase our deficit. we can do this and not increase the deficit, take people who aren't paying taxes and put them back to work. the affordable health care act is working and we know we can continue the unemployment benefits and there is a way for paying for it. the superwealthy, time for them to patriotic up their fair share and thanks for telling us the story of a prosperous america. this is america and a great country.
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we have it in our power to get back on our feet and charge forward and we appreciate what you are doing to make that happening in the great midwest, in new york and houston. thank you so very much. ms. kaptur: i have enjoyed sharing this hour with congressman tonko and representative garamendi, speaking for the 99% that are often forgotten, the 1% that don't forget that know that your patriotism will come to shine in this holiday season and urge our colleagues to do what's right, make the decisions on extending the payroll tax holiday for the middle class, making sure we extend unemployment benefits, which are earned benefits and stand up for all of america because we are all in this together and i thank my colleagues very much and the listening audience and those who are out there helping us to move the ship of state in a direction so we create jobs in this country and keep this economy on
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an upward role. mr. garamendi: and it's for the 99%. 100% of americans moving forward. thank you. ms. kaptur: we yield back our remaining time. . the speaker pro tempore: mr. tonko: i move the speaker pro tempore: the chair would be pleased to entertain a motion. mr. tonko: i move that the house adjourn.
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goip obviously in concept format i'm a believer we need to ex-ten these benefits that empow they are middle class. we saw that getting dollars into the local economy when we worked on some issues earlier in my first term enabled the economy to be strengthened.
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i support the payroll tax cut and benefits to be extended. but i think the pay-for needs to correct the errors of the past and i think that if we can go forward. -- go forward and improve the tax policies and encourage investments in america's economy, those investments that are essential, i represent one of the districts that's one of the highest growing hubs in the country for innovation and high tech jobs that came with investment, it didn't just happen. so i think through a package here where we can strengthen a middle class outcome, provide more purchasing power, enhance demand, consumer demand, which grows manufacturing in this country, if we can make it in america, develop a sound manufacturing policy, all by empowering the purchasing opportunities of the middle class, then we can go forward
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and have a good package. but this avoidance, this rigidness to grover norquist and the pledge to not increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires they don't seem to mind tax growth for the middle class but if it's going to include some heavy duty continuation of millionaire, billionaire favoritism, i might have a problem supporting something like that. host: you would probably vote no if there's not a surtax on millionaires included? guest: i think you need to bring that back into a balance. everyone will talk about the job creators, while we gave millionaires and billionaires a tax break, while the spending was authorized by previous sessions of congress, before i got to town, they don't acknowledge that they borrowed all of that from china, saudi arabia, they borrowed totally what was needed to spend on millionaires and billionaires in the form of a tax cut. we realized that was 8.2
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million job loss during that stretch. you know, this did not produce job growth. it was favoritism. and now we need to produce a benefit here. think of it. when you talk about the surcharge, think of it, people making $200,000 or $300,000 a year would not be affect but anyone making $1. million would have a surcharge on their $200,000 additional, beyond the $1 million. so i think the surtax is not -- sometimes it's misunderstood and certainly it shows a fairness where a great numb of people, all within the ranks of middle class, can be strengthened by a more favorable balancing of the scales if you will of tax liability, tax burden, and there needs to be a give here from all elements in order to make it work. can't just cut investments to the middle class and raise some
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elements of the middle class as they did last december. host: we showed this to our viewers earlier, but i want to go back and have you respond to senator john kiln -- kyle. -- jon kyl. >> the top 1% under 20% of all the income. buff they pay 38% of all the income taxes. the top 2%. earns just about 2% of the total income, they pay over 48%, almost 50%, almost half of all the income taxes are paid by the top 2%. now some people say, what about the payroll tax? ah, but that's exactly what we're cutting here. that's what they're getting a tax holiday from paying. so you've got the top 2% of the people paying 50% of the taxes. what are they bottom half paying? oh, turns out, joint committee on taxation estimates that 51%
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of all households had zero or negative income tax liability for the tax year 2009. so you've got 2% of the people paying 50% and the bottom 50% paying none. in fact, the top 5% pay a whole lot more than the bottom 95% combined. host: congressman? guest: there's no denying that in my district and i'm certain it's true across the country, that the tax burden has come upon the middle class. when we talk about the tax burden, we need to look at the total picture. school taxes, property taxes, user fees, hidden fees utilized in order to balance budgets while doing this tax cut frenzy for those perched on the top. i think it's easy to document, you can take statistics an make them say anything. but talk to people out there who are having a tough time making ends meet on a middle income salary and it's why we saw such an improvement come
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when you offered middle class americans on average $1,000 benefit with the reduction of the payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%. it's very apparent that that helped tra trely and helps small business in that equation. there's no denying we reduced e the burden on the perch. host: one person said he can't find anybody that knows they're getting it and why double down on a policy that did not work. saying this payroll tax holiday has not stimulated the economy. guest: i think we saw the unemployment rate come down to the lowest since the recession.
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we didn't get in this problem overnight, we need time to work our way through but as you offer a payroll tax holiday to not only employees but to employers, you will see, you know, the engine, i think, of our economy is small business. small business has created about 65% of the jobs in the private sector and certainly in the last couple of years have been the total response to private sector job growth. that's the engine that i see working when i talked about the hub of comeback in my district, where we are perched way on the top in many of the measurements out there in terms of job creation and clustering and high tech and clean energy and innovation that came about through small business. putting together innovation. formats, concepts that are producing an ideas economy. those ideas require investment. and the investment in r&d,
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reserge equals jobs. host: let's get to phone calls. ed is a republican in louisville, kentucky, you're on the air with the congressman. caller: i believe we need to suck it up, pay the taxes, we're not earning tax -- we're diverting tax revenues from 401k programs that should be paid in now, in my belief, and there are any number of other ways we have been trying to prop up corporate america, the tax pay's -- the taxpayer's going to have to pay it. guest: i couldn't agree more. there are loopholes, there are benefits that are hidden that ought to be cleaned up. i think a tax reform here through all strata of income and incorporating the business community where we can induce favorable outcomes, where we can have fairness rule, this is what i hear at home. my middle class taxpayers are
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saying, we want fairness. we want fairness and we don't like this struggle from paycheck to paycheck. and we know, too, if we balance that rev mue equation with fairness, we can move forward with the investments that are essential so we cut where we can so we informs where we must. i saw the em-- so we invest where we must. i saw the deprothe that came with that. host: rich in pennsylvania. caller: just two comments i want to make really quick. i hear extension of the tax and the unemployment but what about somebody you know, i've been out of work for quite a long time now. i put applications in after applications, then i go to temporary agency you know like these, all these temporary agencies out there paying $8, i saw one $7.50 an hour, $8 an hour, $9 an hour.
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that's why i think the companies are taking advantage of the american worker because jobs are so scarce, they're paying only $ or tchrs 9 an hour, which you know, you're not making any money, can howe can you survive on that? while the company, the temporary agency is making $5 over what they're actually paying the employees. you know, corporate america is hiring through these temporary agencies and taking advantage of the american workers and you know something, the unemployment insurance benefits, people get it wrong. it's an insurance. it's a benefit, insurance benefit. what about people that have a job today? you want to extend it, extend it to people, something has to be done to people who have been searches for -- searching for 99 weeks. guest: there's no doubt that jobs are the highest priority out there. we need to continue to work in
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a way that partners with private sector, co-invests in job creation, job retention, you know, i think that there are those investments that can be made, again, through research, through an ideas economy, through training and retraining programs. there are massive cuts made to training and retraining efforts that have been there to help. community colleges are under attack. by the majority in the house. where i serve. the majority would love to reduce benefits to community colleges which are the campus of choice for providing training and retraining. when we looked at the clip earlier of the senator on the floor of the united states senate talking about, you know, the tax burden versus the income. you know, there's no denying, again, that the top of the income strata saw its wealth
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grow by 275%. all while the middle income curve was flattened. maybe a 15% increase. that's unsustainable. you need someone to purchase your product. you need someone to be educated and trained well enough to build your product. manufacture your product. so there are balancing acts here that are essential and i think if we can go forward and invest as other nations have done, with their private sector, to enable us to compete effectively in a global market, where there is a race now on innovation an clean energy formats, we can make many things happen. i'm part of the -- a group within the caucus, the democratic caucus in the house, that supports strong efforts for manufacturing in america. it was a sector totally ignored in the decade and a half before i arrived in washington. they focused on the service sector and narrowly on the financial services and we saw
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the performance there. it was dismal. it was turning your back on situations where you needed a watchdog in the equation, we relieved the regulatory aspect, saw what happened to america's economy. we know what we can do. we need to focus on manufacturing, on agriculture, on all service sectors and make certain there are those investments that co-partnering with, if you will, partnering, co-investing with the private sector. host: let the geet this tweet from john in north carolina, fairness is code for making the guys paying almost all the taxes to pay even more. i'll let you respond to that and also a caller from pens coe lasm caller: i do have some critiques for your basic tenets. here's a couple of statements you made recently. we're supposed to do what people want. no, you're not supposed to do what people want. you have sworn oaths to the
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united states constitution, you're not supposed to treat people like some teenage girl complaining. you said, we let rich people keep your money. it's not yours, you don't let it. the problem with the tax system is congress is the one who is a problem. you stand there acting like it's some sort of organic action, to quote eric holder, it doesn't happen organiccally. you guys caused it. s the problem. it's so -- you have such alien, unlittle-r republican beliefs it's amazing. host: i'm going to leave it there and let the congressman respond. guest: it's about policy that can inspire a goodout -- outcome and effect chate growth. in this global network that goes more with time, it is
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important for us to see what happens with other nations. i think what you have there are staufrpbl investments in innovation, in the ideas economy, we're not making those investments and we're going to fall further behind. when it comes to the tax situation, i'm not looking to tax anyone unfairly. what i'm asking for is to have a sharing of the burden in reasonable measure. and there's no denying that the middle class in this country has been suffocating because of poor policy that has really put all the burden upon them as we further cut programs here. these are essential programs on education, higher education, research, that equals jobs. health care opportunities. these are the situation, the dynamics that need to be addressed. i'm asking that we have a balance there that will bring back, that will restore the vitality of our economy simply by putting middle class workers into the employed ranks and not
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settling for an unemployment situation that was very much impacting our economy and our economic future. the deficit is driven, i believe, even deeper by unemployment and jobs, now are the huge priority that ought torain supreme and how d you get the jobs circulating in the regional economy, in our nation's economy? through investment, i think, of a certain order and not an overburdening of government but a reasonable effective -- reasonable, effective use of government in a way that takes the risk out of situations in a difficult economy and absorbs some of that risk this in order to inspire progress. host: donna816 on twitter --
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guest: i agree totally. we increase purchasing power and if we invest in a make it in america agenda, revitalize our manufacturing, we have every reason to believe that we can grow our economy. let me share just anecdotely with you a visit i made recently in my district and greta, when we go through the district, i routinely work within this concept -- context of a business panel that we've established. and our small business panel, which does round tables, also tours in the district and recently, toured with someone who said that as a factory owner, kents plastics, indicated there are thousands of jobs that could be available across this country in manufacturing but there's a need for trained, highly trained people as they move to an automated manufacturing concept. that automation is coming out of, i saw it retrofitted to his own personal industry.
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his personal business. it was retrokitted -- fitted because of ideas coming out of a higher rate campus in my region. they have to train workers at a community college to fit that need. that's the kind of investing an that's the partnering that i think really inspires a foundation that is as strong as can be and as a sophisticated society we were there in an industrial revolution to move manufacturing along, we invested in it, we got in fact a number of countries out there mimics what we do. the challenge to an american society, a sophisticated society like ours, is to continue to build by research and ideas the new product line required by society today. it is demanding of us and we need to step up to the plate by investing in those appropriate avenues that will get us to that next threshold. host: back to the payroll tax cut debate, here's an email.
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guest: i think the process there is a request from the viewer to have fairness and look at the big picture. the big picture includes costs at home, property taxes, i have more people telling me they can't sustain the situation, that they may be threatened to continue their hold on to the american dream, simply because they can't afford to live in their homes. and so, by investing, by having the sort of involvement here where we can provide relief to the middle class and at the same time, utilize this package
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where you have the surcharge that enables us to invest in the economy, allows us to invest in programs that ill not have to be done locally via a property tax increase system of i think we have to balance all of this and weigh the merits of all these steps along the way so as to enable people to continue to reach out and realize that american dream that american dream is beyond the grasp of a growing number of people and i think that's what the frustration expressed in that comment is about. host: bruce bartlett writes, back in august, the case against the tax cut highway, he made four points, the first being what that person just emailed, the second is that it helps many with no need for it and will only pocket the tax savings. we heard that from a vu few viewers this morning, they said they hardly noticed and ended up saving the money. guest: when you look at $1,000 or $1,500 per household on
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average, that is a meaningful measure. host: over a year. guest: i think it's a meaningful measure for many. weighted against no relief and additional relief for the top 1%, for millionaires and billionaires? weighting that, i would have to argue that, you know, the investments made by small business included in that payroll tax reduction enabled them to go forward and produce jobs. i see the deathering of small business in my district making them very sound business residents, business citizens and it enables them to grow the small businesses in a way that provides a sustainable outcome. host: back to the phone calls. doyle in florida. caller: good morning. so much to say, so little time. a couple of other callers mentioned and a couple of commenters mentioned the word fairness, an i'm glad they did.
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it really is, you know, i'm a guy who, my parents never owned a home, i'm a 48-year-old guy, third generation american, my grandparents came from italy. i quit high school my parents quit high school and when you talk about education, we're talking about a failed system. we can go through so many of these thins but fairness is exactly that. how many dollars can you extract from billionaires or millionaires above this threshold and you're talking about just that $200,000 figure. this is not going to solve any problem. this is not going to -- if this makes people feel good at the bottom of -- bottom of the ladder as opposed to empowering those folks and saying, how many people have come from nothing, many of your colleagues in congress, maybe yourself, has come from a place where there was nothing, you started with nothing an took an opportunity in a country like no other an you're now sitting in congress i don't know your background but my guess is many of your colleagues who sit with you every day and work have
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come from a place of nowhere, if you will and succeeded because of this american opportunity. this is not about a payroll tax cut, that's a political -- that's kind of the wedge, how can i get more votes, that's what -- it's broken our system. we've got this side and that side instead of the american side. host: joel, since the congressman did address this issue, let me get timm in, an independent caller, and then you can respond to both callers. tim? caller: i don't feel they should extend those payroll tax cuts because i think it's just another gimmick, just more spin and as your previous caller said, it was engineers for political reasons, it pits democrats against republicans, democrats can say, they won't give relief to the middle
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class. i think what we need to do is the congressmen need to start looking at the facts. they're saying, you know, social security fund needs money. so what do they do? they cut the money. they say, we'll do some fuzzy math and put it back from the general fund. how much money do they already owe? they owe social security so much money now they can never pay it back and that's why they want to eliminate it. host: let's take that point. congressman paul tonko. guest: again, when we look back in recent history with the american recovery and reinvestment act, the dollars that worked the quickest an restored faith in the regional economy were those that went to the middle class and that was slight compared to the payroll tax benefit and it was proof positive that it ended, it enabled us to see the bottoming out of the economy and it began to rise precipitously around
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march of 2009. and so that recent history ought to inspire us to know that this isn't the cure all. it's to continually invest in the economy to build that economy in a way that allows us to grow through a very difficult time in our nation's economy, our nation's history an also to make those investments that are important in job creation. so host: this debate is for a one-year extension. after that would you be willing to bring it back up to 6.25%? guest: we have to see where we are at that toim. we want to revitalize the economy and make investments. people talk about the burden we're placing on people, let me remine us again, it's 275% growth of the very top of the
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pyramid that is documented. it's the struggle, it's the flatlining of the middle class. those facts are probably the most powerful. we can't twist those out of some sort of -- from what they really are. they're there. they're straightforward. there's a flatlining of the middle class and exponential rise of the growth, of the power, of the top echelon of income strata. that's unsustainable. you need to sell product you need to have demand and i think we'll go forward with the investment to grow private sector jobs and we saw some .2 million private sector job growth but that was only an 8 ppt 2 million tanking -- follow an 8.2 million tanking of private sector jobs.
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host: joe, in schenectady, new york. caller: good morning. i want to talk about the payroll taxes. not many people address the fact of how regressive in nation a payroll tax is. if a guy makes $50,000 or a married couple who makes $40,000 and $30,000, they pay 6.2%, or currently 4 ppt 2%, on 100% of their wages. but an individual who makes $200,000, the effective rate is half of that, 3.1% or 2.1%. why doesn't anybody say, let's extend the base it's computed on? guest: there's talk, there are those of us who believe that would be helpful. but thank you for that call, it highlights the egregious nature of this whole tax. when we're offering the benefits to someone below that threshold of $106,000 or you should a cap that's been
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artificially placed on the system, we're empowering those below that cap to great measure than those beyond that cap and so i think it adds yet another voice for a progressive outcome that wasn't discussed here this morning. host: austin, texas, on the republican line. caller: i'm ashamed of the republicans, i'm tired of them saying they're reagan republicans, they're not. reagan raised taxes 11 times and gave amnesty to illegal imfrance. -- immigrants. right now the republican party is screaming because they want to give a payroll tax to people that's working, why weren't they screaming, and they're saying this is going to cost mup and they can't afford to do this. but when it come to the rh, they said we can give them a free ride, we can cut their taxes, and they never mention
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anything about where that money was coming from. that's why we're in the debt that we're in right now is because they gave all that money to the rich and they didn't pay for it. guest: you know, the caller cites an important bit of contrast, i think, in the early 2000's, when we saw president bush and congress move toward with millionaire tax cuts, billionaire tax cut the cost of two wars, medicare part d, pharmaceutical situation, all that was promoted as spending with never having a pay-for. in this package, there's a pay-for. we hay argue about the pay-for but the president, professionally, honorably, said here's a pearl tax cut extension i'm offering for employers and employees, we just heard how the benefits are much more prevalent for those in the true middle income
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strata, and here's my pay-for. the balancing act he provided, he said, here, congress, deal with this. it's paid for, it's a benefit. unlike recent past history where we spent like crazy on millionaires, billionaires, war and a pharmaceutical plan without any pay-for. totally borrowed so the cost of borrowing should have at least provided a reasonable assumption that there would be some sort of lucrative dividend and great ta, that didn't happen. -- and greta, that didn't happen. lost those dividends. so what was that spending about? what was that borrowing about? host: the bush tax cuts included tax cuts for lower americans, are you in favor of making those permanent? guest: i think we have to review where the investments we require lie and from there
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bring balance boo the picture. it's apparent that some of these tax cuts for the strata of americans were unaffordable. we borrowed for them and it got us into the trouble we have today. people are saying, let's be real about a budget. that that's -- that's what i hear at home, let's be real about our budget and get relief for those most troubled by our economy. host: so we can't afford them permanently but there should be some sort of short-term extension. guest: right of. i get worried when we enter this global race unfit for competition an when other nations are investing, we saw the investment in private sector dollars, for renewables, for instance. we were number one, the america we know and love, america, number one, we're pushed down to number two by china. we are ranking third, pushed down further by germany. the evidence is there, if we pay attention to the data that are telling us what's happening
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tout there in a global economy, then i think we would be more resolved in our efforts to respond favorably to some things we need to do. host: we have a little bit less than 10 minutes with you. lee, an independent in jacksonville, florida. go ahead. caller: i think i may have a solution for some of our problems. i'm 62 years old. my whole life i've had generations of the same families eating off my plate. when they get their monthly check every month, why don't we deduct 10% as their share of contributing to the united states and what they're paying for. before obama was elected he said everybody would have skin in the game. i know this would cut into your voting base but let's have everybody involved. host: congressman? guest: i think some of these programs are brought about to assist the unemployed, those unable to land work and to charge someone by taking a
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benefit away from what was calculated to be the absolute need to live from week to week, month to month, just wouldn't make economic sense. however, what i hear in the caller's question is getting people into work. that's the goal now. training, retraining, education dollars, job growth, incentives provided, we want to make certain that everybody is benefited by it. by the way, when a tax cut was done in december a year ago, the lowest income strata were asked to pay more. let's talk fairness here and frankness. host: we have this on twitter. host: lee, you're next. caller: your biggest problem is structural, we're borrowing 40 cents on every dollar right now
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for the federal government and the bulk of that, now, the growth is in social security an medicare. when the actuaries put the programs together back in the 1930's and 1940's, people were not living much past 68 or 69. i'm 50 years old, i've already passed my -- had my social security retirement age moved once, from 65 to 67. it's probably -- it probably needs to be closer to 70. if everybody was pushed off very slowly, ok if you're 64, you retire at 65 and a month. if you're 63, retire at 65 and two months. we could make the structural changes slowly over time so it didn't disrupt anyone's life, major, it's the -- the biggest problem with the payroll tax cut is it's funding social security, which is when you take that funding away, it has to come from the general fund. guest:, to repeat myself, the president offered congress a
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pay-for with the payroll tax extension. that pay-for is there so that there isn't the impact on social security. i think also there are ways to to be progressive about medicare and social security. we atepped that and were successful with some measures, then there are those who want to revisit the reforms that could provide soundness for these very important programs to seniors in our society today and to come and i think we can do that without reducing efforts or benefits for those who qualify. i think there are ways to strengthen it as we go forward and we've been working on that package and the outcome is a sustainable notion of medicare and social security has been strengthened over the last couple of years. we just need to grow additional
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securities into those efforts. host: joe, a republican in georgia. caller: can you hear me in host: we can. caller: i agree with the caller from virginia, i'd also like to say you guys are wasting money like -- i had a mortgage. i had it almost paid off. then the government the wang called and said, we can lower your interest rate and won't even inspect your house and i said, ok, great, they came over, i signed the papers, nobody inspected my house, i got my mortgage rates lowered and what happened? fannie maye took over the loan. fannie mae paid for it. so my -- all the tax money they using tax money to buy mortgages. the government shouldn't be -- why does the government want my
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mortgage? guest: there are those who would argue that the mix of public and private dollars that go to housing is an important one. i think the scrutiny of which you spoke that was lacking in your situation obviously needs to be responded to. there are needs for us to have sound, government insertion, if it's overviewing what's going on, obviously you want accountability and transparency. some of those improvements needs to be made. but there are those who would argue, who are very knowledgeable about the housing mark, that you need a good mick of public and private especially in these economic times. but the american dream of owning a home ought not to be taken away from us and a way to strengthen that is to have, i think, a good mix and to deprow the economy. host: kurt in texas. you're last for the congressman. caller: one thing that's a pet peeve of mine is, you represent the united states, not america,
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america is the entire north and south america, so please stop saying made in america. say made in the u.s.a. ok? because we don't need stuff from mexico. next, we need to eat -- first start by asking you how much percent of your income do you pay social security on? and i bet it's a tiny part. the cap needs to be removed and everybody pay their fair share. guest: i think if you looked at the percentage of my income it would probably be unone of the highest in the house. but i hear you. institutionally, you are probably accurate and call for a reform that i think is a progressive reform. it hasn't been revisited and it should be. and so i think there are things we can do in order to make a fair and balanced approach here. host: quickly before you go. financial times this morning --
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host: do you think the cuts will go forward? guest: clfs -- there was a plan, i voted against the plan. they created a set of guidelines that need to be adhered to. the failure of the super committee requires sequestering into the future with 50% on nondefense, 50% on defense situations and hopefully fine tuning within that scenario might be possible but all in all, the general concept was that this was the third step in the congress. host: congressman paul tonko, democrat of new york. thank you for being here. guest: my pleasure, greta. >> the annual u.s. capitol christmas tree lighting ceremony.
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this year's tree is a 65-foot sierra white fir from stanislaus, california. the architect of the capitol iers is master of ceremony. >> this tree has had a long journey. just a few days ago, it arrived here and our gruneds crew has been decorating it. didn't they do a financial job? let's give them a hand. ted, our gruneds keeping attendant, had the duty to pick this tree of the many beautiful trees available to him in the stanislaus national forest. next it's my pleasure to
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introduce to you senator diane feinstein, serving since 1992 and i've worked with her in 2009 as she served as chair of the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies. senator feinstein? [applause] >> thank you very much, speaker boehner, members of congress, and ladies and gentlemen, it is just great to be here to see this tree. i would call it slim, tall, and narrow. however, i must tell you that when it was harvested, it was 118 years old and 108 feet tall. it is now 65 feet tall and it weighs, believe it or not, 8,300 pounds. it's come all across the united
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states, through a number of different communities, and it comes from the great stanislaus national forest. this is a 900,000-acre, in northern california, about three hours north of san francisco. it's the home of the peregrine falcon and bald eagle and today we've got some students from that area. the first one, i just want to recognize, is johnny crawford who is a 7-year-old student from sonora and mr. speaker, it's my understanding that he's going to be joining you in lighting the tree, which is very special. and we also have here the soumerville -- summerville high school choir from california who will play some holiday music for us. i just want to say that this is a bit of california here, and i hope everybody understands it.
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mr. speaker, you know, i'm an appropriator on the energy and water appropriations committee. and the other day, no, no, no. the staff director on our side told me he proposed to his wife at this tree at the tree lighting ceremony. so i think it does have special significance and thank you very much and welcome. [applause] >> ♪ choir singing "joy to the world"
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♪ joy to the world let men their songs enjoy from fields and floods rocks, hills and streams repeat the sounding joy repeat the sounding joy repeat the sounding joy he rules the world with truth and griss and makes the nation the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love ♪
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♪ it's the most wonderful time of the year with jingle belling and everybody telling to be of good cheer it's the most wonderful time of the year it's the happen-happiest season of all with the holiday greetings and gay happy meetings it's the hap-pappiest season of all there'll be parties for hosting marshmallows for toasting there'll be stories and tales of the glories of christmases
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long long ago it's the most wonderful time of the year there'll be much mistletoing and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near it's the most wonderful time of he year ♪ [applause] ♪
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♪ ♪
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[applause] >> jazz at eight from somerville high school under the direction of ms. madeleine young. another round of [applause] -- of applause. [applause] now it's my pleasure to introduce to you representative daniel run green from the third congressional district of california. mr. lungren. >> thank you very much. well, i love this place. i think if you don't get a
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chill up your spine when you come to this place it's time to leave. but every time i go home, i always say that true americana is when we're home in a small setting and see the folks back home so today is the best of all possible worlds. we're here at the u.s. capitol, yet we have home with us here, those great students doing that great job this tree from our home state of california, which i just might remind you, particularly those of you from the east, our state is owned 45% by the federal government so it's nice when we can bring part of the federal government back here with you. i'm privileged to represent one county in california that's 96% owned by the federal government with parts of three national forests and a couple of wilderness areas, but we're very proud of that part of our state of california. we're very proud of the fact that this tree took a 4,200
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mile trip here to be representing us and the nation as this, the u.s. capitol's, christmas tree. god bless all of you, god bless america, and let's have a great celebration here in our nation's capitol. [applause] >> thank you, congressman lungren. next from the 19th district of california, congressman jeff den ma'am. >> thank you and good evening. it truly is an honor to have the people's tree come from the 19th district of california, to share a part of california with nottle on the rest of the nation but the rest of the worldful this was made possible by partnerships with the indians who helped bring this tree here but celebrated with
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stops throughout california and again throughout the nation. having the choir here and being able to raise money within our community to pay for the expenses of having them come here, welcome to the nation's capitol, we appreciate you being here as well. [applause] it's been an exciting process to be part of the planning of this, not only the people's tree, getting it out here and the festivities, but i have to tell you it really hit home when the tree arrived. when the tree arrived, we had press from not just across the nation but around the world and the significance of being able to celebrate the religious holiday because of our free dolls in this great country was overwhelming. with that, i just want to thank you, mr. speaker, for once again having the people's tree and certainly having it come from california. thank you.
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>> thank you, congressman denham. now it is my great privilege to introduce the speaker of the house. john boehner has served the people of the eighth district of ohio since 1990 and has held numerous leadership positions over the years. in january he became the 53rd speaker of the house. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable john boehner. [applause] >> let me just say thank you, and i want to thank all my colleagues that are here today and all of you who have come out on this damp evening to help celebrate the lighting of the capitol's christmas tree. it makes a worthy addition, i think, to this great capitol tradition of ours. though winter is upon us, the christmas tree flourishes as a symbol of every lasting life. that light and life is christ, whose birth to mary fulfilled a
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prophecy of joy and salvation. out in the fields where the shepherds slept, the angels broke the silence by singing "glory to god in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men." we best serve this story by serving one another, by showing that it's more blessed to give than to receive and especially when so many of our fellow citizens are without jobs and in need. for christmas is not some distant historical event, it is a spirit always bringing us closer to each other and closer to the peace of which the angels sang. on behalf of debbie and i, and our family, i want to wish all of you a very merry christmas. [applause] now we're going to do what we came here to do, and that's
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light the tree. to help in the honors, turn arn here. to help in the honors here is johnny crawford a 7-year-old from california, and not just any 7-year-old. he's a cub scout system of if something goes wrong, i know he'll know how to figure this out. he's here with his parents, lisa and richard, his oler brother ricky and his little sister lizie. how about a round of applause for johnny crawford. [applause] now this is the big switch right here, johnny. and how about we do a countdown and we'll start -- don't push it yet. how about we start with five, four, three, two, one, come on. [applause] ♪
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[playing o christmas tree] [applause] >> thank you so much speaker boehner. doesn't the tree look wonderful, ladies and gentlemen? thank you once again for coming this evening to join speaker boehner, members of congress, the california delegation, the forest service, the army band and other guests this year to light the united states capitol christmas tree. good night and merry christmas to everyone. thank you. thank you. [applause]

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