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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 16, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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-- that all forces acting against isis in iraq be under the control of the central iraqi government. that is the principle that we certainly adhere to and that's the principle that the prime minister has. therefore, to get to your point about shiite militias, there are shiite militias that have that characteristic and there are those that don't and the prime minister made clear that latter, that is ones that were not under his command and control, were not welcomed there, would not participate in their operations and would not be supportive and they certainly won't be supported by us. we support forces that are under command and control of the iraqi government, irrespective of their sectarian makeup which is the whole point . the way things got the way they did in iraq is the collapse of
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a multisectarian approach and what the prime minister is trying to do in his own government is to create a fight against isil that consists of shiia forces, sunni forces and kurdish forces in sectarian makeup but all under the control of the government in iraq. it is those forces and only those forces that we will provide support to. >> mr. secretary, do you think it's time for saudi arabia to consider winding down its air strikes, could further air strikes risk destabilizing or prompting a wire role? and general dempsey, the russian -- your russian counterpart today talked about targeting nato missile defense
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systems, the russian defense minister talked about u.s. exercises on tactical nuclear weapons. how worried about stepup rhetoric from russia and what about the air intercept last week? general dempsey: to get to your first point, we're -- mr. mccarthy: to get to your first point -- mr. carter: to get to your first point, we're conducting operations that are designed to lead ultimately to a political settlement to yemen. and that is our runsing and our objective and that -- that's why we're working so closely with the saudis, as the chairman indicated, general austin's been in riyadh earlier today. we're working closely with them both on the military
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objectives and the political objective. general dempsey: on the russian rhetoric about the missile defense system, this goes back a very long time and we have channels that remain active in getting together with the russians and laying out the intentions the capabilities of the -- of the air defense system as a way of trying to assure them that is not being built against them. and we've done this for several years. most of the time we agree to disagree but the rhetoric is unsurprising i suppose. and those channels remain open as they do for dealing with things like unprofessional or reckless intercepts and this intercept was in fact both unprofessional and reckless and foolish, actually, in the sense that it's -- it was conducted for no apparent reason and so
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what we're doing is contacting the russians through appropriate channels to ask them to investigate the incident and determine whether it was purposeful or if it was an isolated incident by a hot-blooded pilot. it's serious. >> for chairman dempsey, you mentioned a moment ago with the coalition concentration into the military offensive in the north, it almost sounds as if there may be insufficient forces or resources to keep ramadi from falling. how critical would it be if it fell into the hands of isis to the overall war effort? and it appears anyway that isis controls the city of beji and much of the surrounding territory surrounding that critical infrastructure of that refinery and they made advances on that. are the iraqi and u.s. forces coalition forces be able to
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hang on to the refinery? for what would that mean if isis were able to secure that refinery? general dempsey: so i'll answer the question about ramadi first. first of all, it's already a humanitarian problem because of the iraqi citizens who are now refugees many of them flowed into baghdad so we're working with the iraqi government to make sure we deal with that. the city itself is -- it's not symbolic in any way. it's not been declared, you know part of the caliphate on one hand or central to the future of iraq. what we want -- the issue here is -- is not brick and mortar. it's about defeating isil. so as i said i would much rather that ramadi not fall but it won't be the end of a campaign should it fall, we got to get it back and that's tragic for the people as have -- as we've seen along the way. beji is a little different of course. it's part of the iraqi oil
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infrastructure. one the iraqis have full control of and deny isil the ability to have oil. baiji is a more strategic target and that's why the -- >> and what about the threat to the refinery? general dempsey: it's -- it's an extraordinarily large expansive -- expansive facility. and we're focusing in air support there. >> one question after that. >> follow-up question on iraq. the proximity of military personnel to the fighting and if that changed at all. was there any u.s. military controllers or people calling in strikes in tikrit and has
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the u.s. offered to do that in ramadi? >> first of all, with respect to tikrit and this is through the more general answer to your question, our troops that are there are in a -- the locations that we previously identified. mr. carter: they're there to train, advise and assist. they are not jtaks embedded with iraqi security forces and they were not in tikrit. we were able to be effective in providing air support to iraqi forces because we do have americans in their command centers and practiced the methods by which we would ensure that the targets that were given to us were valid targets, did everything that we usually do to ensure that there
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are -- collateral damage. collateral damage is minimized. so we're going through all the steps we normally do to ensure that air strikes can both be effective and precise. but we're not using our own forward controllers to do that in tikrit or anywhere else in iraq. >> my question is for you, general dempsey. [inaudible] tikrit was a model. is that assessment given there are reports looting and executions happening in dicrete and i was wondering if you could speak both a little bit more broadly, what is the strategic threat that is posing yemen -- that fight in yemen?
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>> i'll start with the question whether tikrit is a model. it's a model of how to integrate efforts of the counterterrorism system conventional brigade and that part of the popular mobilization forces that are under direct control of the iraqi government. it's the first time they worked under the central control of the ministry defense and they were able to support that and provide the necessary fire -- to let that campaign reach a successful conclusion. we've watched and are continuing to watch the reports of whether there were looting or burning or atrocities conducted afterwards. although we've seen some images and the investigation is ongoing collaboratively with the iraqi government there is no evidence of widespread
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activity. there was likely to be some isolated instances. we actually have a long history of being able to deal with this. the leahy amendment tells us that we can support those forces that behave in a way consistent with our values and when a particular unit does not we isolate it and no longer support it so if the investigation reveals that a particular part of either the iraqi security forces or the popular mobilization force did not behave appropriately we won't support it going forward. >> [inaudible] general dempsey: the prime minister said he was taking responsibility for that investigation. >> and when you say isolated, can you give us a sense of how many, how many involved? general dempsey: i can't from memory. there is a certain village south of -- south of tikrit where there was evidence of buildings that had been scorched on the outside, the
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masonry. in some cases that was probably the result of the fighting and others it probably was in fact the result of misbehavior but they're trying to sort that out. not so much in tikrit, by the way. >> sorry saudi arabia. saudi arabia and why can you explain -- i'm curious if you could elaborate on the strategic interest on providing intelligence to saudi arabia. mr. carter: i can do that. two things there. first of all, saudi arabia is a long standing friend and ally of ours and we have undertaken to help them protect themselves and their own border and so forth and that's a long standing -- in accordance with a long standing obligation and friendship that we have with them. with respect to events in yemen, we are supporting their operations in yemen in the way
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i described earlier. the objective there is to restore a political process there in which a legitimate government can be established in yemen and things can settle down there. that's good for the people of yemen, first and foremost. it's good for saudi arabia. it doesn't need this on its southern border. as earlier questions indicated it's good for us among other reasons because of aqap's presence in yemen. but for that to occur will require more than military action. it will require a political settlement and that in turn is going to require the houthis that want to pursue a political settlement as well. >> does the u.s. agree with the decision by saudi arabia to conduct air strikes in the first place? mr. carter: we supported that. we're not only supporting that
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verbally, we're supporting that with -- with assistance. and, again, en route to a political settlement, that's where things need to come. by the way, i had an opportunity to speak to ban ki-moon, the secretary general of the united nations, about precisely that. we would like to see this thing headed for everybody's sake. >> that's it for the press conference. we look forward to the other one. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> if you missed of today's pentagon briefing, it will be available on our website. go to c-span.org. we return to some of today's house debate on repealing the estate tax. that did pass the chamber today.
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would result in a massive tax cut for the wealthiest of the wealthy. it hits 5,500 households in
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this whole country. the whole country where the estate is worth more than $5 million. that's the law. i'm not making this stuff up as i go along. this bill already exacerbates our upside down tax code. our tax code is stacked up against hardworking labor income and this bill would make it even worse. i sit on the house budget committee as well as ways and means and after sitting -- another minute at least? mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i yield an additional minute to the gentleman from new jersey. mr. pascrell: thank you. after sitting through 13 hours of our budget markup, i could tell you that this $294.8 billion go a long way in making up for the devastating cuts that the other side of the aisle has inflicted on the other class. it's also important to note that budget -- the budget does
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not assume, mr. ranking member, the repeal of the estate tax, where the heck are they going to get the $294.8 billion? it assumes a revenue neutral -- i like it when they say it -- a revenue neutral reform. it assumes that revenues will be exactly what c.b.o. projects under current law for the next 10 years. we really have only two conclusions. either this bill is directly contrary to the budget or it's not paid for today. congress will at some point have to sit down -- go down the road pass a tax hike to pay for this massive deficit. you can't have it both ways. i'd like to hear from my good friend, the chairman, what his path will be to make up for this $298.5 billion. that's a lot of money mr.
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speaker. where the heck is it coming from? i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, yielding myself 10 seconds. i'd point out, studies show we would generate more money by repealing this tax than keeping it because people wouldn't put their money into tax shelters and other things and instead would put it back in their business and to job creation. i'm proud to yield two minutes to a gentleman whose father started their business by the sweat of his brow, the gentleman from pennsylvania, leading member of the ways and means committee mr. kelly. mr. kelly: i thank the chairman, mr. speaker. it's interesting to sit and listen to the rhetoric and i think sometimes if you drink the purple cool aid long enough you start to believe it. that chart is a great chart that's up there because what we're doing again is we're starting to separate america. we're saying that because it only applies to this very little sliver that we have to go after these people. i want you to think about something.
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the entire produce of a woman or man's life after they paid their local taxes, their state taxes, their federal taxes, all the sales taxes over their life and the way they've contributed to build their communities, at the time of their death -- i know we don't want to call it a death tax but it's triggered at the time of their death, god forbid these hardworking american taxpayers are allowed to pass on to the next generation that which they were able to accumulate. now, the chairman made a reference to my parents and it's not just about my parents. my dad was a parts picker in a chef warehouse. he married a girl that ran the switch board. that was my mother. he went off to world war ii, came back home and started a car dealership. one car showman built into something he was proud of and was able to pass on to my brothers and i. now, we want to go after these folks, not because they were successful but because they died. because the government cannot
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live within its means so when we go to the viewing, we go to the funeral home and we go to pay our respects we also tell them, thanks for all your hard work. did you a great job you contributed so much and now the government wants to take some of that produce of your entire life because they can't live within your -- their means. you live within your means. you tightened your belts when you had to. you made more with less, but no that's not good enough because we can't rein in spending so we can't stop taxing. that is egregious. in the united states of america to sit back and look at all those who have done so much and paid so many taxes in their lifetime and yet to say upon their death they are not allowed to pass this on to the next generation. i love the chart because you really specify exactly what's been going on here for too long. you're separating the country. you're dividing the country rich versus poor. that's egregious. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: members of the chamber are
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reminded to directs their remarks to the chair. -- to direct their remarks to the chair. the gentleman from texas reserves and the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i hope you would remind the gentleman that the country is already divided into rich and poor. there's no question about that. in pennsylvania 144 households will get the benefit and 1.57 million people in pennsylvania live in poverty so there's already a bit of a division here. it might be more acceptable if this bill recouped all the money we spent in farm subsidies over time. maybe when people die they ought to give their farm subsidy back to the government like my grandfather did when he did. the state of illinois came back to get the public assistance money that had been given to him during his life, his last years. now i yield two minutes to the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. kind. mr. kind: i thank the speaker
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for yielding me this time. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this legislation and perhaps for no better reason it's a $270 billion cost that congressional budget office showed with no pay-fors, no offsets in the federal budget. my republican colleagues want to move forward on this policy proposal. at least they should show the courage to the american people to tell them how they're going to pay for this $270 billion bill or to admit that it's just going to be added to the annual structural budget deficits. a completely irresponsible fiscal approach to trying to reform our tax code. and lord knows we need to get the work -- to work on that. but a larger point, and to speak to the last speaker's point that he just made on the floor. what is somewhat problematic and troublesome to me, it seems some of our republican colleagues seem very comfortable with the income inequality in this nation which is only growing worse. but here's the main point that this income inequality in our
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society absence -- absent opportunity, absent hope is just a cast system. it's just a cast system where both birth equals outcome. that's why one of the richest people in the world, warren buffett, who opposes repealing the estate tax, says that our fate in life should not depend on whether we win the birth lottery or not. it's no longer good enough for the other side to continue to deliver tax relief to the wealthiest 1%. now it's got to be the wealthiest .2%. because that's what this legislation affects. .2% of the wealthiest households in america. but they say don't worey we'll address this later, we have a spending problem in washington. what we've seen from their budgets where they go for offsets in spending, it's in pell grants, it's in work study, it's in broadband expansion that we need in this nation, it's the basic research
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funding that has to take place it's the infrastructure modernization that we need. it's those things we need to be investing in to keep america competitive, and those are the type of programs that help with mobility, that help with opportunity that help with hope. can i have an additional 30 seconds? mr. mcdermott: i yield the gentleman from wisconsin an additional 30 seconds. . mr. kind: i thank my friend. that's what's so onerous behind this legislation. they have become very clever piling up debt convincing the american people we have a spending problem. what they try to target are those that help the least the most. those that provide upward mobility of all americans. i'm a product of that. i'm a kid who went to school with pell grants, work study program. there is no way i want to be a member of congress that's going to pull up the ladder behind me and say tough luck to the lower
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income classes of this contry. that's what this leads . to i encourage colleagues to oppose it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: yield myself 15 seconds. let's have the courage to stop hiding behind warren buffett, the superrich. they don't pay this tax. they have lawyers and tax accountants they have charitable trusts they'll never -- this is a family-owned farm and businesses. i'm proud to yield one minute to the gentleman from texas, second generation small business owner the gentleman from -- the gentleman, mr. williams. mr. williams: thank you, mr. speaker. in 1939 a man started a car dealership to realize the american dream. when he died it was passed to his son and so was a death tax liability. the i.r.s. was three days later after the father's death wanting the money. 55% of the value of the business. his son nearly declared bankruptcy. fortunately, he was able to pool resources together to keep his
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family's profitable dealership afloat and save jobs. he still runs the dealership to this day and has more than 100 employees. that son is me. mr. speaker, today the house will vote to repeal the death tax, the most unfair devil taxation -- double taxation on job creators we have ever seen. the death tax is a tax on savings that have already been taxed before, but the tax provides less than 1% of federal revenue. according to the tax foundation repeal of the death tax would boost g.d.p. create 139,000 jobs, and increase federal ref nue. that's right, ironically by killing the death tax, the u.s. government would earn more money and more opportunities. mr. speaker, my second generation and many other second generation business owners do not have the means to hire teams of accountants and lawyers to navigate the costly obstacles to save the family farm and save the family business. as a small business owner -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. brady: an additional 15 seconds. mr. williams: as a small
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business owner of 44 years i have seen business colleagues lose gains from a lifetime of work because of washington's greed of failed policies like the death tax. we must repeal this unfair policy that does no good to the federal government and life changing harm to american job creators and families. we must make sure this bill -- this law goes through. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i yield the gentleman from texas, mr. doggett, two minutes. mr. doggett: thank you. i rise in strong opposition to this brady borrow to benefit billionaires act. i don't believe it is in the interest of our country to borrow another $269 billion from the chinese, the saudis, or whoever we can get it from in order to benefit about 5000 or
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so of the wealthiest families in this country. that is precisely what this legislation does. if ever our people become so sordid as to feel that all that counts is money, prosperity, ignoble well-being, effortless ease and comfort, then this nation shall perish. no advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money. by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax. those are bold words, bold words of a different kind of republican than we have today. they are the bold words in 1907 of president teddy roosevelt when he originally proposed the tax that has been mislabeled today as the death tax. president roosevelt thought that it would be the death of our
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country if we had a permanent, leisure class elite of the type that dominated so many european countries. and he thought that a reasonable tax on inheritance of the wealthiest, most prosperous members of our country would be in the national interest. indeed, essential to the future of the country. i think his approach was right at the beginning of the 19th century and it remains true in this crentry. because this is really a billionaire protection act. when he introduced this legislation, mr. brady said what kind of government swoops in upon your death and takes nearly half of the nest egg that you spent your life building? well, the answer is not the american government. because our government does not do that and does not touch the estates of any but the smallest smallest fraction of the wealthiest 5000-plus households in the country. and i'm concerned -- does the gentleman have another 30 seconds?
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i'll take 30 minutes. mr. mcdermott: the gentleman from texas has 30 seconds. mr. doggett: the anti-competitive effects of this bifment while this money could be used to address the size of our national debt, and that might be appropriate place for it think about the size of $269 billion and what it could do. we know that our infrastructure is crumbling. that would be more than enough. to cover over the next 10 years the shortfall that has been estimated in dealing with our transportation infrastructure. think what dollars that size would do for strengthening as a competitiveness of our work force from pre-k to post grad. it's a bad investment to help those who have already gotten what they have gotten. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: i am proud to yield one minute to a fifth generation, proud resident of the great state of montana, mr.
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zincle. -- mr. zinkey: while some americans look forward to a refund many families in my state and across the nation are reminded a looming debt, their children and grandchildren will face. the death tax jeopardizes the future of 28,000 montana farms and thousands more of small family-run businesses. this is not a leisure class. these are hardworking americans that spent their whole life, generations, building their future only to see it threatened. this tax punishes americans that worked hard, played by the rules, and want to pass that legacy on to their children. the death tax is a tax on the american dream.
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i'm a proud co-sponsor of h.r. 1105, the death tax repeal act of 2015, and i urge my colleagues to support this measure in order to preserve american dream for farmers and small ranchers. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i would remind -- i hope you'll remind the gentleman from montana, he's talking about 19 families in montana when you got 145,000 people who live below the poverty line. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california mr. becerra. mr. becerra: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker it could be very confusing trying to understand what's going on, and i see in today's gallery a lot of young
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americans, our future leaders, and they are probably wondering is this something that might affect me in the future? and because i think everyone in america has this dream this hope, that our country makes available of making it in america, we all aspire to do well. i know my parents, my father didn't get more than a sixth grade education, aspired to see his kids do more. i know they are very proud of what their children have been able to accomplish. we all want to make sure that we make it in america. we all want to make sure that we have what we need to buy that first home, to send our kids to college, to save up enough for retirement. most americans would say, i have made it. that's the american dream. if i could guarantee those things and know my kids are going to have an opportunity to do better than me, that's great. can i do more? i'd love to do more. but i don't think most americans say that we have to give a tax break to the wealthy not to the
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megawealthy, not to the ultramegawealthy, but to the uber megaultrasuperwealthy, a tax break that would cost us all taxpayers $270 billion because this bill is not paid for when at the same time that $270 billion would pay for the same amount of coverage for an entire national institute of health to do all the research that we expect it to do to help us cure alzheimer's, parkinson's, diabetes, lung cancer, heart cancer. all that research that the national institute of health is doing with all those great scientists and all those universities today in america cost for 10 years the same amount that this bill would cost to give not 1% of the wealthiest .1% of the wealthiest americans a tax break that costs $270 billion. so every time a proponent of this legislation gets up and says we want to protect family farms -- would the gentleman
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yield another 30 seconds? thank you. every time a proponent gets up and says we want to protect the family farmer, they have to say well we need the .1% of the wealthiest americans may be a family farmer. i guarantee you that guy is not going to have calluses on his hand if he's a family farmer. let's be real, we have priorities. we want to make it in america. we want to buy that house. we want to send our kids to college. and we want to be able to retire securely. you don't have to be the .1% richest american at the cost of $270 billion to all the other americans, especially every one of those folks sitting in this gallery today, to say we have to give a tax break to the uner wealthy. let's not -- uber wealthy. let's not vote for this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the chair would re-mind members to avoid references to occupants of the gallonry. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: yielding myself 15 seconds for those listening today, young people included,
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ask yourself a question. you want a government that guarantees you food stamps and welfare checks? or an opportunity to build your american dream? at the end of your life, all the years of hard work, all the sweat, all the sacrifice, do you want to pass that down to your kids and grandchildren, or should uncle sam swoop in and take nearly half of everything you worked a lifetime? i'm proud to yield -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. braddy: i'm proud to yield two minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, a keep member of the ways and means committee, mr. paulsen. mr. paulsen: i thank the gentleman. we love hearing about american success stories. might be that start-up that begins with an idea. a couple of dollars, and a lot of hard work that grows into a business that can support a family that serves a community and provides for the future. many family business owners, ranchers, and farmers they do hope to keep that success going by passing it on to the next generation. however, for too many, the dream of taking over the family
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business can quickly turn into a nightmare. while having to cope with the loss of a loved one, relatives are often forced to make tough decisions in order just to meet the estate tax obligations under law. it can mean taking on large amounts of debt. it can be mean selling off critical assets. it can mean closing down the business and being forced to sell the entire family farm or business just to pay the taxes alone. the truth is, that average americans can be negatively affected by this tax. not only are businesses not being passed down to the next generation, but they are also being forced to lay off other employees that are currently employed. when a small business shuts its doors and lets those employees go, it can have a very profound effect on the community. farmers can be affected by impact -- impacted by the federal estate tax simply based on the value of the farmland alone. that doesn't take into account, mr. speaker, the buildings, the equipment, the livestock, and other nonliquid assets present. i spoke to a minnesota family business who was forced to be spending 20%, 20% of their net
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income on an expensive life insurance just to fund their future death tax obligations. that's money that's not being used to expand and grow the current business. we have to ask ourselves, mr. speaker for a country that prides itself on the american dream, that we all agree on, and the idea our children will be better off than we were, doesn't make sense to penalize success. i ask for support of this legislation and i commend the gentleman, mr. brady, for his leadership on this legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, may i know the time that's remaining on both sides. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington has 9 3/4 minutes. the gentleman from texas has 15 1/4 minutes remaining. mr. mcdermott: thank you. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker.
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mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this bill that would add hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit to deliver a windfall to the heirs of the wealthiest estates in the country. although the republican budget holds that we must make draconian cuts to domestic programs, in the name of physical can prudence, proms that help the middle class, infirmed, the republican leadership lauds a bill that would provide inequality in our nation and give an average tax break of $3 million to the most secure. . in my congressional district the median income is $48,481. the unemployment rate for african-americans is 24.5%. the poverty level for children is 38.3%, and the poverty rate for the elderly is 21.4%. and over 63,000 households receive food stamps. in the state of illinois over
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13000 children are homeless. at the end of last year, chicago had the highest -- fifth highest foreclosure rate in the nation. this bill is fiscally irresponsible and reflects misplaced priorities for our nation. we can make improvements to the bill to address the concerns of small businesses and family farms if current law is inadequate but wholesale repeal reflects poor leadership. the fiscal recklessness of the republican approach that balloons our deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars via tax -- dozens of tax cuts reminds me of the adage that says death by a thousand cuts but this is debt by a thousand tax cuts. it's bad for our economy. it is bad for our citizens and it is bad for our nation. i will vote no.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm very proud to introduce a key member of the ways and means committee, the gentlelady from south dakota, i yield two minutes to her. mrs. noem: on march 10 1994 my dad was killed in an accident on our family farm. i was taking college classes at the time. i was 21 years old and i ended upcoming home with my family trying to figure out how we would get by without him after this tragedy hit our family. all i could hear during that point in time was the words my dad said to me for many years and it wasn't long after he was killed that we got a bill in the mail from the i.r.s. that said we owed them money because we had a tragedy happen to our family. and one of the things my dad had always said to me kristi, don't sell land because god is not making more land. we could sell the land or take out a loan so i chose to take
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out a loan but it took us 10 years to pay off that loan to pay the federal government those death taxes. it's one of the main reasons why i got involved in government in politics because i didn't understand how bureaucrats and politicians in washington, d.c., could make a law that says when a tragedy hits a family they somehow are owed something from that family business and it doesn't work for a normal everyday people. and that is why this death tax is so unfair, because at one of the most vulnerable times of people's lives the federal government says we need to take what you have and what your family has worked for. you know a lot of the conversation today has been about the rich needs to pay more. the rich will avoid this tax. they have the resources to do that but it hits families like mine harder than ever. certainly are not going to pay the burden of this tax. i will also say some of the discussion has been about the deficit. the government does not earn money. the government takes other people's money is what it does.
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and it's certainly not going to earn more money by this policy. this previous administration and the members of the other part here on the house floor today talk about the people who have struggled. we have more people living in poverty today under your policies than we had before you were in charge of this country. one in five children are in food stamps because of the policies of this administration. 50% of our college students can't find work or underemployed because of the policies of this administration. we talk about income inequality and we are seeing it because of those previous policies. this tax is a very unfair tax. it's double taxation. and please don't put any more families in the situation where they lose their family operation or are threatened by it because of a tragedy that happens to our family. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: madam speaker, i'm
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proud to follow-up and yield two minutes to another new member of the ways and means committee who understands just how fragile these family-owned farms and businesses are, mr. smith. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri is recognized for two minutes. mr. smith: thank you. growing up and working on my great grandfather's farm, i learned many values. one that i taught is a comparison in basically when you're out there working with the hogs you learn that there's little value in hogwash. and i would compare a lot of the facts that we've been hearing today that's opposing this legislation as equivalent to hogwash. and i say that under the stipulation that i've heard numerous facts stated of farms the size of 15,000 acres. well, the average family farm in this country is less than 500 acres. if you look at the boot hill of missouri where i represent, every farm in that area, if you
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consider a 500-acre farm and the price of a 500-acre farm times that by how many acres they have -- say 500 acres times 10,000. that's $5 million. $5 million. and then you have to put the price of a combine and a tractor to harvest the rice and the cotton. guess what, they're part of that top 2% that the other side says is the wealthiest of the wealthy. well, guess what, there's less than 2% of americans are farmers. less than 2% of americans are farmers. this legislation, this tax is directly after farmers. our tax code, what is wrong with it, it is disadvantage -- disadvantaging rural america. and the death tax is part of that disadvantage. you're seeing people leave rural america because of the tax code and this is a way to fix the tax code. when you look at family farmers 85% of their
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investment is in the land and in their equipment. it's not in liquid assets and when they get a tax bill like my former congresswoman that spoke from south dakota mentioned, they have to either sell their land or they have to take out a loan so they can keep their family business. this is a tax on the american dream and this is awful. the folks on the other side of the aisle have never found a tax that they disliked. folks we have to stop this. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: madam speaker i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: madam speaker, i yield -- proud to yield 1 1/2 minutes to the leader of the select revenue subcommittee of the ways and means, mr. reichert. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. reichert: i thank you, madam chairwoman and thank the
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distinguished gentleman from texas for bringing this bill to the floor and his hard work on this bill and appreciate the opportunity to speak today in support of this bill. proud to be a co-sponsor. the story is the same across this country in all of our districts, whether you heard that today from every member or not. business owners and farmers work hard for their entire lives with the goal of passing on the first fruits of their labor, but face sometimes insurmountable hurdle of the death tax. in addition to the actual tax liability, the death tax imposes merely planning for it, regardless of whether these business people and farmers end up owing it is yet another challenge. last month when i chaired the hearing in the select revenue committee on this bill, we heard from three witnesses. a rancher, a farmer and a
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product distributor. their stories were the same. this is an onerous tax creating hours and hours and months of work by attorneys and by their own employees trying to figure out how they're going to keep their business in their family. and one business owner said for the first 26 years working in his family business, 26 years he spent trying to figure out how to meet the death tax. when one relative was about to pass away, they had another death tax issue they had to address. another relative is about to pass away and did pass away and again they had to address the death tax. this is a tax not on the -- this is an issue that the other side wants to make between the rich and the poor. this is about average american men and women business owners across this country trying to keep their family-owned business, protect their hard work. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: madam speaker i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: madam speaker, i yield three minutes to the lead sponsor of repeal the death tax act an eagle scout army veteran, the gentleman from georgia, mr. bishop. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for three minutes. mr. bishop: i thank the gentleman for yielding. madam speaker, i'm pleased to join representative brady on this important bipartisan legislation to repeal the death tax once and for all. i've always believed that the death tax is misguided, morally unjustified and downright un-american. it's really a tax on success. the assets that -- what the people want to pass on to their progeny have already been taxed. if it's a business or if it's a farm, the individuals who earned it, who started the
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business, they paid income taxes. if it was a corporation the corporation paid taxes also. why should it be taxed a third time just to be passed on and just to keep the business together? it undermines the life work, life savings of farmers, small and medium-sized businesses in georgia and all across the nation. we all heard the statistics. the united states has the fourth highest estate tax in the industrialized world at 40%. only japan, south korea and -- have higher taxes. it has a disproportionate impact on african-americans. a study by the boston college professors john and paul several years ago estimated between 2001 and 2055 the death tax will erase between 11% and 13% of all african-american wealth. this one tax alone will cost african-american households between $192 billion and $257
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billion. some people have argued that the estate tax is no longer a serious problem since we permanently raised exemption to $5 million for individuals and -- $10 million for couples. index to inflation. but nothing can be further from the truth. according to the georgia farm bureau the exemption is barely keeping pace with increasing farmland values. in fact, the number of farms in georgia with building and land value over $5 million rose from 664 to 677 between 2007 and 2012. i just can't stand by and allow this estate tax to continue to punish family-owned businesses in georgia and throughout the country. it's not just farmers. you heard a lot about farms. look at funeral homes funeral directors that have multiple locations with rolling stock, caskets limousines, hearses and that amounts to a pretty
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good amount of money. i got constituents who own radio stations finally worked hard to have a family-owned business that would be able to have communications. they started out with one radio station. now they have five stations in three different states. it's a family business. the husband, the wife and now the three kids went to college, to law school and they're running the business. it's a shame they would have to sell that business and ultimately have to lay off employees to pay the 40% of the estate tax. it is clear that the estate tax really hurts the economy. mr. brady: i yield an additional 30 seconds. mr. bishop: i study by the tax foundation found that repealing the death tax will increase u.s. capital stock by 2.2%. it would boost g.d.p. and it would create 139,000 jobs which eventually increases federal
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revenue. this is a tax on success. it's not a big contributor to the revenue of this country. it's a very, very drop in the ocean, really, and so it's time to repeal it. so i urge my cligse to -- colleagues to really think realistically, not ideologically and just do the right thing. i urge you to join my colleagues and repeal the death tax once and for all. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: madam speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. rangel: i thank you for this opportunity. having served on the ways and means committee for decades is a little embarrassing to see us debating a bill that goes nowhere. this is a political action that's taken by the majority to select provisions that are in the tax code to have those of
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us that advocate tax reform to just select those parts that appear to be very popular with some parts of our constituencies. there's nobody in this house that truly believes that this legislation, if passed, ever would become law, but it is something to be using in political campaigns as to what you voted for and why you voted against it. . to list yep to the other side talk, we have some very, very rich fathers. and just because they are in the family doesn't mean that they are not wealthy. first of all, let's go to the video. let's go to the facts and find out how many pool are going to be affected -- people are going to be affected. the statistics show that 99.2% .8% of the population of those people who died don't pay taxes.
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who are we talking about? we are talking about a few rich people that are.02% of those people that will be eligible for a tax, and those only after we estimate that the value of their estate of $5 million for one person and $10 million for two. i'm not saying that for these people. it's not going to be inconvenient. but when you think about the number of people that pay taxes, that are working hard every day, are trying to save money for their -- their kids' education, then there's real -- this really means that hundreds of billions of dollars are being setaside for those people that already have. if we really want equity, if we really want fair play, why don't we take a look at the entire tax code. why are we just looking about the estate tax, local and estate tax because equity is how much money are you raising and how much money do you need?
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thank you, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: madam speaker, to clarify, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 1105rk the death tax repeal act. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brady: proud to yield one minute to fourth generation farmer from indiana, mr. stutzman. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from indiana is recognized for one minute. mr. stutzman: i rise in support of h.r. 1105 the death tax repeal act. i want to thank chairman brady and chairman ryan for their leadership in addressing this issue that's so important for my district in indiana, and folks across the hoosier state. in indiana, under the leadership of mike pence, we officially repealed our state's death tax in 2013. with this bill we can do the same thing on the federal level. as a fourth gep racial farmer, i see how family-owned businesses already struggle each year with
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a destructive mess that is our federal tax code. the death tax, which is a double tax on americans' hard work, only adds to the problem. it stifles prosperity. and it prevents individuals and families from making the personal decisions they want to make with their savings and their property for generations to follow them. madam speaker, it's time to repeal the death tax. only accounting for a fraction of a percent worth of annual revenue for the federal government, let's call it what it really s it's a distorted attempt to redistribute the earnings of america's hard work. with that i strongly urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, bipartisan legislation. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: madam speaker would you tell us the time left on each side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington has 5 3/4 minutes. the gentleman from texas has 5 1/4 minutes.
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mr. mcdermott: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized for two minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, madam speaker. i appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in permitting me to speak on this. it's ironic, this week we have had hundreds and hundreds of businesspeople, folks from organized labor, contractors coming to town, pleading with congress to get its act together and enact a six-year, comprehensive transportation bill. we have been frozen in place for years. 23 short-term extensions because congress can't figure out how to provide the resources necessary to deal with a critical situation.
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america's falling apart and falling behind. and yet we are caught here in inability to provide resources to help to rebuild and revitalize america. that's part of the issue. today my republican friends have discovered that there's $270 billion of revenue that somehow the federal government no longer needs. they have decided to give an additional tax cut to people who need the help the least. and ironically for all the talk about this being a death tax and double taxation, the vast majority of the wealth that will be untaxed has never been taxed in the first place. you don't get to be a billionaire on w-2 income.
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it's appreciated capital. but we are going to in their judgment, give a windfall -- we have had this tax for over a century from a republican administration but we are going to turn our back on it because we no longer need $270 billion. while we continue to shortchange america. we are having construction projects stopped this summer because the short-term fix for the transportation bill is going to expire. this is lunacy. it's not fair. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: madam speaker i'm proud to yield one minute to the gentleman from east texas, mr. gohmert. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas mr. gohmert, virginia tech for one minute. mr. gohmert: thank you madam speaker.
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several years ago there was an author who wrote a book about millionaires in america, and it was amazing most of the millionaires built a business built a farm, and the number one most commonly driven vehicle by millionaires in america was a ford f-150 truck. they were workers. and there was a time in america when we looked around and we saw somebody work 16 hours a day like my aunt and uncle did and build together a farm and we were proud of them. well, my aunt lili died and the fdic dumped land out by her place before the land could be sold. and so the i.r.s. came in and eventually sold every acre of her land. the family was called in, let's try to at least buy some of her assets from her home, her little modest home. i bought this music box from aunt lili. it plays amazing grace, but she
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didn't get amazing grace. her heirs didn't get amazing grace. they ran into the amazing greed of the united states congress. let's take the green eyed monster and put it where it belongs and begin to feel good for people that work for what they own. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: may i inquire from the gentleman from texas, are you ready to close? mr. brady: we have one more speaker before we close. mr. mcdermott: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: i'm proud to yield one minute to my colleague from texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. herd, is recognized for one minute. mr. herd: madam chair, thank you. i want to share this story of bobby mcknight seventh generation cattleman from my district in fort davis, texas. bobby says that many farm and ranch families like his may be asset rich, but they are cash
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poor. most of the value of their estate is distributed to the value of the land they use to raise cattle and grow food for consumers around the world. a lot of that food my colleagues are going to enjoy today. bobby shares that when times have been lean, he has had to make sacrifices to keep his family business above water. but as many small business owners can tell you sometimes you run out of places to cut. that is what happened to his family during hard times brought on by the death tax. he had to let go of season employees that had families of their own, losing the skilled labor he needed to run their operation. now his land value continues to increase, many farm and ranch families concern this may trigger the estate tax. as bobby and others can attest to the death tax is devastating to the family farms ranches, and small businesses in my district and throughout the nation. come on you-all, let's stop punishing families for achieving the american dream. i support this bill to repeal the death tax and encourage my colleagues to support as well. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
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the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: the gentleman from texas is ready to close now? thank you madam speaker. i will use the remainder of my time. for the past hour -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 3 3/4 minutes. mr. mcdermott: they tried to play this as a bogeyman that kills family farms. they call the estate tax all names like immoral. they try to claim it's a calculated attack on the american dream. they claim that the estate tax affects more small businesses and start-ups. these wild and inaccurate claims could not be further from the truth. the facts are, republicans have forgotten to mention the estate tax will only affect 5,400 estates out of an estimated 2.6 million this year. that means repealing the estate
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tax would amount to a tax break for the top .2%. the hiltons, the koches, those folks. according to the tax policy certainty, only 20 i emphasize 20 small businesses and small farm estates nationwide owned estate tax in 2013. 20. furthermore those 20 estates owed just 4% of their value. now, the real question here is this. america's a wonderful country. we all have a chance to make it. some make it better than others. that's because luck and whatever, hard work, it isn't that everybody who doesn't have money isn't working hard, we are all working hard. but some have a little more luck than others. and the fact is that if you've
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had a little luck, don't you owe a little something back to the country? here you've got people who've got $10 billion, we have given it as a state exemption, then they owe 4% on the value on money that has never been taxed beforement it's all -- before. it's all on capital appreciation. now, my republican friends conveniently forget to mention how much this will it cost. $280 billion. that's as though every american today was giving a $1 billion tax cut to the wealthy in this country. that's about 300 some odd million of us, and if we all gave you know, there we would be.
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and we are doing this to a group that has no problems whatsoever. their problem is how to keep their money. that's their only problem. so i want people to understand, this is a quarter of a billion dollars and as mr. -- the gentleman from oregon pointed out we have a tremendous problem in infrastructure in this country. but there's no money for that. we have a tremendous problem in investment in the national institutes of health. it used to be the national institutes of health funded 20% of the grant applications that were given to them. today they are only down to 6% of the grants applications that are given to them. we are not investing either in the physical infrastructure or the human infrastructure of this country. what has made us strong, all those immigrants who came here, about 99.99% are immigrants,
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came here with nothing. and this country gave us an opportunity to be rich or to be successful. and the only way it will work is if we pay something back into the process. not sitting there using money that you never have been taxed on. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this and think about the 99.8% of the americans who will get no benefit whatsoever. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized for 3 1/4 minutes. mr. brady: thank you, madam speaker. feel free to dismiss the woman in my district a widower, who now has been forced back to the bank for the third time to take out a loan just to be able to keep the family farm they worked generations, worked generations to keep and hand down.
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dismiss her as a paris hiltons of the world, superrich. dismiss the 114 organizations who back the repeal, most are main street businesses, who support repeal this death tax, they are store owners they are loggers, loggers in the field. they are plumbers. there's a glamorous life. that's the superrich. that's who after people work weekends and nights to build up their business, these are the ones who when they pass away uncle sam swoops in and confiscates, takes nearly half what they built a lifetime earning. dismiss them if you will, but this is the american dream. the american dream is not a government that promises you welfare checks and food stamps. the american dream is a thought you can build yourself up, pull yourself up through hard work and skills and dedication.
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you can build a better life for your family and then to give it to your children and grandchildren so maybe, just maybe they have a better chance of the american dream. they have opportunities maybe you didn't have that they can pass on to their children. you hear today, oh, this affects a few. those are the people that pay the tax. one out of three businesses. more than that of farmers. they're already paying money into tax planning. they're putting money aside. they're spending hours. they'd rather put that into their farm and their business. they'd rather hire young people and new people looking for jobs but instead they're trying to avoid this horrible tax. all for what? for a measly two days of federal spending. actually less than that. this government wastes so much money. it just pours it out of here. so instead of tightening our belt, we attack the american dream of hardworking families and businesses many of them, by the way, women and
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minority-owned businesses, building wealth for the first time, believing the american dream is right for them. they're not paris hilton. they're not the barrons. they are not the ones dismissed on the floor today. at the end of the day this is a simple question -- whose money is it? whose hard work and years is it? is it government? is it the washington politicians who will take your money in time, force you to sell your business or family-owned farm and waste it on who knows what? or is it your money and your hard work and your american dream? are you allowed to keep that dream and help your family going forward or is it the government's dream, whatever that could be? at the end of the day, what i love the most about america, we don't resent success. we strive for it. whatever success is for each of us we strive for it. we're absolutely convinced that we can achieve it for us and that we can maybe give our kids
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a chance going forward. so this is a simple question. if you stand with those who believe it's the government's rk money and hard work, vote no. if you stand with the family-owned farms and businesses and young people and recognized for five minutes in support of his motion. mr. nolan: madam speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill which would not kill the bill or send it back to committee. if adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended. madam speaker, you know, years ago when i first went into public life, my father, as fathers could be expected, gave me a little fatherly advice. he said, son i'll always be proud of you if you just do a couple of things. what is it, dad? number one, be honest. i don't want my kids getting in trouble. tell the truth. secondly he said, if you're going to go in public life, commit yourself to working for the common good. don't worry too much about the
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rich. they got a way of taking care of themselves. well, my father never had any money to speak of but, boy he sure understood that. if you look at this chart here, this is what this bill is really all about. this bill is about giving $270 billion in tax benefits to the richest of the rich. that's right. this is america. and here's that -- less than 1% of the 1%. $270 billion tax break. 5,500 individuals over the next 10 years. that means the rest of the country is going to have to pay for it. have these people benefited from the greatness of america where people are work hard and prosper and become successful? yes of course they have. they're the richest of the rich. and here we want to give them another tax break. talk about greed.
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talk about carrying the water for the richest of the rich. what are we talking about here? and you know what, it gets even more egregious and that's what my amendment is about here today. under my amendment this little percent, this little 1% of the 1%, if they have engaged and been found guilty of tax fraud as it relates to inheritance and gift taxes, they're going to benefit from this. they amass fortunes to illegal activities as it relates just to this very specific tax. and we want to give them a tax break on the for turns that they amassed illegally? the least we can do, and that's what my amendment does, my amendment says if you've been found guilty of tax fraud try
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and get more than you already have illegally and criminally, then you're not going to get the benefit of this tax exemption. i am confident that if my good friends and good colleagues here on the floor of the house on both the republican and the democratic side look at this thing honestly, they will say i've got to support that amendment. i can't go back home and tell my folks how people who were found criminally guilty of trying to cheat the taxpayers of this country out of taxes that were due should be entitled to benefit from that. we can't do that. and i want to remind everybody, you know, here we're looking at this country at a time when the disparity and inequal of income in this country is the worst of any developed nation in the world. people like pope francis are concerned about it.
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leading economists like al greenspan are talking about it. my god, when hillary clinton and ted cruz announced their candidacy for the presidency because they're concerned about the growing disparity and inequality in income, we got a problem in this country. and mind you, this gift tax, we're here talking about farmers and business men and -- i'm a small business guy. i spent 32 years of my life in business ok. and let's tell the truth. let's tell the truth. 99% of the people in this country are not required to pay any estate or gift tax because they -- the value of their farm, their business their accumulation in life does not exceed the limits that are allowable under the law which by the way are like $5.5 million per individual. you know $10 million $11 million for a family. that's a pretty nice gift at the end of the day for something that quite frankly you were not the hardworking,
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creative, innovative person that created that money. you were just the beneficiary by wealth the old-fashioned way, you inherited it. do we all aspire to wealth and success? yeah. that's something we want to applaud, something we want to celebrate. this is about celebrating, you know, the gift of inheritance and there's plenty of it here in this legislation. you know, at the end of the day this bill is really about the 99% because they're the ones that will have to make up the $270 billion a gift we already gave to the richest of the rich. that's not how you fix this problem of growing disparity that is threatening our economy threatening our well-being. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. nolan: i urge the adoption of my amendment. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: madam speaker, first, i withdraw the reservation of point of order. the speaker pro tempore: the reservation for point of order is withdrawn. mr. brady: and i seek recognition.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman seeks recognition -- i mean the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. brady: thank you, madam speaker. all this is a red herring. the desperation you hear is for a government in washington that desperately wants to keep spending your money on $800 toilets and on research products that make no sense and feel free to waste your money because they're not the ones who worked a lifetime to earn it. today we heard congresswoman kristi noem talk about the tragedy of her dad and three days after his death they were notified by uncle sam that they owed or they would have to sell that ranch. we heard from a gentleman from texas whose dad built up from one car and four stalls a family-owned car dealership, 400 workers, profitable company nearly went bankrupt because they had to pay uncle sam or
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sell the business. they worked 20 years to pay off that loan. my constituents -- a woman who is a widower, who was forced back to the bank for the third time paying death tax for grandfather, father and now she and her husband just to keep the family farm they worked generations on. these are the people who are punished by this tax. it is not the government's money and work. it is yours. this is all about that issue and at the end of the day unless we want to keep attacking the american dream and insisting that uncle sam swoop in and take your nest egg, it is time to restore the american dream, to end the death tax once and for all. i urge our colleagues to defeat this motion to recommit. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit. the question is on the motion. those in favor say aye.
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those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair -- mr. nolan: madam speaker, i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to the order of the house of today, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> the house passed the bill repealing the estate tax on largely a party-line vote and approved another bill that would allow taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes. the president has threatened to veto both measures. the house is finished for the week and will meet tomorrow in a pro forma session.
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>> aaron lornso is the capitol reporter and here to talk about the house's effort to repeal the death tax. what are the main political arguments for and against by republicans and democrats to repealing this tax? >> those who want to get rid of the tax, they talk about principles. they talk about certainty and fairness in particular. the white house and others who like the tax would like to expand it and see it be in more households and those against it say that that requires a lot of planning and unnecessary uncertainty and also complain it's unfair. a lot of these assets have been taxed throughout someone's lifetime and shouldn't be taxed yet again. >> who are the people most likely affected by this tax and what is that person's welcome? >> it is the very wealthy in
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america under the current limits. estimates by the nonpartisan joint committee on taxation show only 5,400 estates in america would have to pay it this year. that's a small sliver of total deaths in the country this year and there is not a lot of people that would be affected by it. >> so the white house has issued a veto threat against congressman brady's bill. why is the administration opposed to it? >> the administration and others who do like the estate tax feel there is an income inequality problem in this country and getting rid it would only exacerbate it. the current growing inequality would keep growing. >> the house debated another bill by congressman brady today to permanently extend the tax deduction for state and local taxes, who would benefit from
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that and why is the white house rejecting that? >> states without income taxes benefit from that deduction. the main opposition is mostly because the republicans who proposed making it permanent hasn't proposed a way to pay for that. it estimated to cost $42 billion over a decade and don't have a way to fill that hole. >> should we expect more tax reform bills out of the house and might we see something out of the senate? >> you will see more from the house. and chipping away at these bills. the senate is a bit trickier and the senate is taking a more comprehensive approach toward it rather than step by step and if we see something from the senate, it will be much later in the year. >> aaron lornso. follow his tweets. check out his work at bna.com.
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thanks for your time. >> during this month c-span is pleased to present the winning entries. student cam is c-span's annual competition that encourages students to talk about issues. students were asked to create the documentary based on the theme, three branches and you. madeline browne from cherry high school east in cherry hill east is a second prize winner. she focused on student loans. >> the education is the surest foundation versus private families. good education provides
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america's youth with the grounds for success and education. federally subsidized student loans authorized by congress have made clg more affordable. federal student loans allow students to go to college. student loan debt is approximately $1.2 trillion. and credit card and auto debt. in 2013, the higher education act expired and congress has yet to act on this topic that affects so many of the nation's young people. tuition is increasing. college is an investment, to what extent does it become a problem? >> if someone wants to go to college they should be able to go to college without having staggering debt. >> they will finance their
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education. >> my family and i have exploring options. there are many considerations to take into. i'm here at the university of pennsylvania one of my first choices. but even if i do get accepted, there is the question of tuition. it is increasing three times faster than the rate of inflation. the college premium has risen over the past decade increasing the demand for higher education. should what extent should students burden themselves with this debt. >> ignore the money and go after their passion, but in the long run, depends on where your money is coming from. in the long run, you have to think about the money. >> i have to make money to pay it off before i can make money to work. >> i can tell already it impacts everyone in here.
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>> as of 2013, 55% of full-time four-year college students have a federal loan. on average this is about $30,000. federal student loan debt has increased to $100 billion since 2007. the housing crisis, higher education is valued higher rn it is actually worth. >> student loan debt quadrupled to $1.1 trillion. . >> even at the financial risk continues to rise, so too does the demand. >> my dream is to graduate college. >> my dream is to get into medical school. >> the demand for higher education has increased significantly. because higher education is
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inelastic, increase in demand is the high increase in price. >> congress implemented the higher education act in 1965. first to establish loan programs. in 1972, federal student loans became eligible for students. in 1988, the federal guarantee loan stubde loan ram was renamed. and the federal government offers grants and financial aid under the title 4 program. >> today more than nine million students are pell grant recipients. >> the federal loans and grants have caused colleges and universities. this idea is known as the bennett and subsidies leads to easier consumption and increase demand and subsequently higher costs. >> many economists, there isn't enough evidence to support this.
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>> curious to think. i opened it up to a classroom debate. >> we will start with that. take back colleges have made our society that we have to go to college. >> and increases the ability to go to college. and artificially drive up demand. >> lack of success, i think it is pointless. >> there has been a lot of research as to what the effects it is having or college. a lot of them aren't conclusive. >> i don't think there is a lot of merit.
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we can point to other reasons why we see college tuition rising. >> government subsidies have impacted upon rising tuition costs and if we want to go to the free market, what we would have done, is we would not have done that and increased pell grants and nine million fewer students. >> 2013, the higher education act -- college tuition continues to rise is congress being accountable? >> keep continuing on while more and more students and families are priced out of being able to own a home or buy a business. >> interest rates have increased. a bill that would allow students to refinance their stupid loans
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was blocked. reducing this and encouraging colleges to increase tuition. two years of community college but many speculate it will be a talking point in congress. there is no signs that the student crisis will slow down. >> we have to provide the best information in the best format. a lot of people don't know the full extent of their options before they sign up. >> it is important to remember what benjamin franklin said, the investment in education pays the best interest. it is true so long as the investment is wise and carefully planned. >> to learn about our competition go to cspan dorgan click on to student cam. tell us what you think this
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student talked about. >> next weekend in los angeles is the "los angeles times" called books and book tv will be live april 18 and 19 from the university of southern california. deputy publisher of thela times. to come together to celebrate the los angeles is one of the creative capitals of the world.
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>> and what can we expect next weekend in los angeles? >> we are going to over have 500 authors, celebrities musicians and book sellers publishers and cultural organizations across nine stages. there's something for everyone. bring your kids, your grand parents. a huge amount of stuff going on. we have bergen, a chef, your favorite billy idol. jason seagull. tavis smile lee, it is something for everyone, spanish language programming, one of the 100 conversations from california to digital privacy rights to the future of the american identity.
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>> what kind of reaction do you get from the community to a book fest? >> it has been an immediate success. it became acornstone event in los angeles and people market it out all year long. it has been a signature way and way "los angeles times" invites folks around the community come celebrate this great city and one of the largest. nothing like it anywhere in the united states. it started very simply as bringing people together who create books but it has grown into a broader celebration. among other things, we have a big book award we give out every year and this year, we are having an ideas exchange where we will be in conversation to
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talk br books. if you look -- listen to n.p.r. >> well, as regular viewers, book tv will also be there. the cspan bus will be there and we have partnered with the "l.a. times" to create a book bag and will be handing them out from the c-span bus and if you are familiar with the area, we are half a block. and is there a cost to attending the festival? >> the bulk of the events are free. some of them are ticketted due to limited space. but this is really a chance to invite the country in and invite los angeles in and in partnership with u.s.c. and look at california, california to both latin america and to the pacific rim, to look at some of the challenges the country faces and its future.
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drought and climate change to immigration and the multi cultural diversity of this nation. across the board, all kinds of exciting opportunities. >> the -- you can follow the book fest at lafob.com. thanks for being here. >> look forward to seeing folks. book tv will be live on c-span 2 all weekend next week from "the los angeles times" festival of books april 18 and 19. go to booktv.org. a lot of call-in opportunities. a lot of panels a lot of nonfiction ought thors that you will be hearing.
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call wait times averaging 30 minutes. this is the first time since the implementation of the law that the i.r.s. is enforcing the tax credit and penaltyy portion of the law. senator johnson: this meeting will come to order. commissioner --commissioner
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koskinen, we appreciate your testimony. we chose this day because you're not particularly busy but i know millions of americans are in trying to comply with our tax code. my wife was talking to me last night, she is a former irs agent. now that i have got my job, she is doing our family taxes and she did ask me when you retire from this gig, well i take it back over? i am pretty satisfied with the current arrangement. it is tax day which is different from tax freedom day. i did ask my tab -- staff to ask when that was. the day when americans have paid taxes from all the money they have earned up to that point in time on average goes to the federal government. that is april 24 which my recollection, this is moving back closer to the actual tax day but still it is a long period of time.
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as is my custom, i have got an opening statement which i will ask unanimous consent to enter into the record. i always get it because senator carper is a nice man. senator carper: i will not object. senator johnson: what i would like to do is read something else and this is a letter we received from a constituent. i think it is pretty appropriate to read today. it is a little bit longer but if you bear with me, this would set the discussion we need to have today. it is a serious letter, there are some serious concerns. senator johnson, we are writing to because we are not sure where else to turn and also to make you aware of yet another issue with our affordable health care.
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where both retired. we have a monitor -- moderate payment. we have been receiving a distribution from a retirement plan that was discontinued in may of 214. let me mention this is written to me by scott and julie thompson. they did allow me to use their name. which we're finding is getting more and more difficult to have taxpayers allow us to use their name, because they are concerned if the irs knows who they are and they are complaining about something about the irs, they are afraid of being targeted. that is pretty sad. scott and julie thompson were willing to let us use their names so let me continue. in the spring of 2014, we moved back to care for scott's elderly, dying father. we moved out of the network of our colorado health insurance. we were buying a high deductible health insurance plan through an insurance agency in colorado. at that time, our income was too high for us to qualify for subsidized ibms.
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in april 2014, we contacted the health insurance marketplace as that was the context for health insurance coverage for wisconsin. we were unsure of we would be able to change insurance in the middle of the calendar year. we spoke with the marketplace agent who informed us we had two qualifying events. the move from colorado and the substantial reduction in our income as of may 2014. we were told we were eligible for coverage through the marketplace and arranged for coverage with a plan that has providers in our areas. effective june 1, 2014. we were eligible for premium credit and arranged the full credit will be applied to the monthly premium, living as with a monthly cost we could afford just over $400 a month. we were told we needed to submit proof of our income by july 20 which we did. in waste -- response we received a letter from the marketplace stating we have verified your information, your eligibility as described in your determination notice will continue unchanged.
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fast forward to february 2015. in the process of completing a 2014 federal tax -- income taxes we find that our total income is being used as the basis for our eligibility for the health insurance coverage. with that, we are not eligible for subsidized premiums and are now told we must pay a penalty returning the entire subsidy amount of $11,550.
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there is nothing in the reporting process which allows for taxpayers to report when there was a qualifying event. we knew the income in the first half of 2014 was too high for us to be eligible for coverage. that is where we had to buy our own insurance in colorado. we were very straightforward in our -- about our situation in coming back to wisconsin we spoke with the marketplace in april. we were told that a qualifying event would make his eligible for the premium subsidy, even in midyear. this is a couple moving to wisconsin to take care of a dying father. they followed all the rules. they talked to people who thought they were knowledgeable. they were told they would be eligible for a subsidy and now they are finding they will have to pay back $11,550 in subsidy. our entire gross annual income for 2014 including the distribution received for four months earlier in the year and scott's social security is over $62,000. the penalty being imposed is 11,500 $50. this is 18 -- 18.5% of our annual gross income. it is going to be paid out of our after-tax dollars, raising that percentage of our income even higher. and for a real ironic turn of events, we will possibly have to withdraw this money from a retirement account which will create $11,550 of income which will probably create a penalty for our 2015 coverage. we do not know what the threshold is for eligibility is but the penalty on an annual income of $60,000 for two people seems excessive.
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we do not have any options except to pay the penalty to file our federal and state income taxes by april 15. we do intend to file an appeal to marketplace. we did not do anything criminal. we did exactly as we were told i the agents for the marketplace. we paid for coverage even when it was very expensive so that we would be compliant with the new law. willing to wisconsin was a difficult emotional time for us. we were thrilled that our new circumstances would allow us to have some good insurance coverage. we never expected that what we were told would not be true. it seems to us that there must be many other people who have things happen to them during the year that affected their health insurance and their ability to pay for it. can you help us at all? scott and julie thompson.
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now, the sad fact of the matter is, and this is what this hearing is about is how the irs is trying to comply with the patient protection affordable care act. that law is in place now did not particularly protect scott and julie thompson. there are thousands, if not millions of americans we know lost their health care coverage and are paying higher amounts and having to comply with an even more complex tax system and of course, that is the purpose of the hearing. how is the irs -- i have a great eel of sympathy for your agency in terms of the task it has trying to deal with and help taxpayers trying to comply with the even added complexity of the affordable care act.
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that is the purpose of the hearing. i'm looking forward to your testimony. i will turn it over to our esteemed ranking minute -- member senator carper. senator carper: you have a tough job. i want to say thank you for your willingness to do this, to continue to serve the people of our country and our thanks to those on the team that you lead for the difficult work you do. we do not make your job any easier. we do not fully fund the work that needs to be done whether it is providing service or doing audits to make sure people are paying what they ought to be paying. we wait until the tax code changes so it is well beyond any reasonable deadline. we expect you to come along and clean it up after us. there is an old cartoon
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character, pogo, who said i have seen the enemy and it is us. my hope is that you will be able to help this constituent. people call my office every day for help in a variety of areas and one of the areas that people call my office, probably thousands of times in the last 14 years is because they did not have any health-care coverage. a lot of them, it is a merck -- a visit to the emergency room or doing without. that is not a good option either. what are we going to do about it? people talked about doing something about it for years. and we did not. when hillary clinton was first lady, she tried to do something about it and it did not work out. and barack obama becomes president and says let's give it another shot. i serve on the finance committee along with senator portman. we did this work on the finance committee, but we tried it bipartisan efforts -- a bipartisan effort for months to
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figure out how to extend health care coverage to people who did not have it and rain in the growth of health -- health care coverage. that was meant -- led by max baucus in check rashly. they could not do it. just could not do it. we took two republican ideas, the exchange marketplace and created purchasing pools so people did not have to be part of a big organization to get health care coverage and better coverage and we took that idea and incorporated it into law and we took another republican idea, thank you, governor romney. the insurance company said if you do not require people to get coverage, you will end up in a halt and a blind and it is not economically feasible approach. we took those ideas incorporated them into law.
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one of the ideas behind the exchange is for people whose income is not great, we wanted to be able to purchase through this purchasing pool to maximize their leverage, but for folks whose income taxes low, they get a tax credit. the tax credit phases out at 400% of poverty. it is actually whether the idea was republican or democrat, it is a good idea and the question is how to make it work. one of the ways we make it work, when people call you with questions, you can give them a good answer. on thursday, tomorrow, the
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senate chaplain barry black hosts a bible study group. it includes democrats and republicans, those of us who need the most help. one of the things he often shares with us is matthew 25. when i was hungry, did you feed me. when i was sick, did you visit me. matthew 25 does not say anything about when i had no health care coverage, did you do anything for me? 2000 years ago i guess they were not thinking about that and it is very real to us today. we had 40 million people who had no health care coverage just a few male -- years ago. today, that number has not -- been knocked down by one third. on behalf of all the people who have coverage, including that is a very good thing. can we do better? you bet we could and we will. and my hope is that as we go forward instead of trying to kill the affordable care act, we will find ways to work with the administration to fix the problems that need to be fixed and i am encouraged we will do just that. i have a statement i would like to enter for the record.
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i am happy that you are here. look forward to a good conversation. if it is not perfect, let's make it better. thanks so much. >> are you going to ask permission for that? without objection. i would like to ask so i can enter the letter from the thompson's in the record is well. -- as well. without objection, so ordered. commissioner, if you would please stand. do you swear the testimony will give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? commissioner koskinen: i do. senator johnson: thank you. he served as the nonexecutive chair of freddie mac from 2008 to 2012 and is acting chief executive officer in 2009. commissioner.
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commissioner koskinen: thank you. senator johnson: is your mic on? mic check. commissioner koskinen: thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. in the spirit of without objection, i would like to have my entire testimony submitted to the record and give you a brief synopsis. subject of today's hearing, irs and publication of the tax related provision of the informal is an important one and it is discussed in detail in my written testimony. before addressing the affordable care act and because today is april 15 as the chairman noted i would like to provide the committee with an update on the tax return filing season. i would also like to note and today marks the 60th anniversary of the april 15 tax deadline. congress moved the deadline back from march 15 two april 15
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starting in 1955 to provide more time for processing tax returns. in some ways, this is like the start of a dickens novel as i said in other contexts. it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. im place to report that the 2015 filing season has gone smoothly in terms of tax return processing and the operation of our i.t. systems. thus far, the irs has received more than 120 million tax returns from individuals on the way to an expected 150 million individual returns. we have issued more than 83 million refunds for more than $230 billion. for the vast majority of taxpayers who did not have issues with their, and who chose direct deposit, refunds moved quickly through the system and reached at them in 21 days our -- or less. i would like to remind anyone who has not finished their taxes that while time is running out anyone who cannot make the deadline can file an automatic six-month extension.
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return processing this filing season has gone better than anticipated given the challenges we face before hand. along with our normal preparations, we also had to prepare for the tax related affordable care act changes and changes related to the foreign income tax act. and legislation passed in december. integrating all these changes into our antiquated i.t. systems and still being able to open filing season on schedule on january 20 was a great accomplishment by our experienced and dedicated employees. i deeply appreciate their commitment to the mission of the irs and their hard work. i also want to thank our partners in the tax industry, especially tax professionals and developers of tax software and other products. without them, the filing season could not move smoothly. we are indebted to the more than 90,000 volunteers who helped people prepare the returns at more than 12,000 volunteer sites
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all over the country east year. -- each year. many are current or retirees -- employees or retirees. all indications are that most taxpayers have been able to fulfill their filing obligations without a great degree of difficulty. i would like to talk later about the letter you received. we provided an array of committee k she and's for tax preparers. we also developed a special section on our website providing information about the affordable care act. also worked with software developers to ensure that the estimated 90% of taxpayers were going to file using software or tax preparers would be easily able to provide the necessary information required by the aca and file their returns without difficulty. we believe these activities taken together were a big reason why processing of returns with shared responsibility payments
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and premium tax credits generally went smoothly. i would note that for the vast majority of people, the aca provisions only took a moment or two to handle. all those taxpayers had to do was check a box when prompted by their tax software indicating they had coverage. now a word about the worst of times. return processing has gone smoothly if you are simply filing a return without questions or need to contact us. that is the situation most taxpayers found themselves in this tax season, but if you needed to contact us, it has been very difficult and much less positive story. customer service both on the phone and in-person has been far worse than anyone would want. it is a simple matter of not having enough people to answer the phones and provide services that are -- at our walk-in sites. as a result of the cuts in our budget. we are dismayed by reports of taxpayers lining up outside assistance centers hours before the open just to get service. taxpayers who called us had long
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wait times on the phones. on bad days, fewer than 40% of the calls were able to reach a live assistant and that was often after a 30 minute wait or longer. this was frustrating not just for taxpayers, but also for the irs customer service representatives who want to have the resources to be able to provide much better customer service. as we began preparations next month for next year's filing season, one complicated factor is the need for us to implement as part of the able act a certification requirement for professional employer organizations in a tight timeline and without any additional funding. couple getting matters still more is the work ahead of us to continue implementing the tax related provisions of the aca for the next filing season along with the expanded requirements for the foreign contact compliance act. we expect another round of tax extending legislation later in the year which we hope will be passed well in advance of december. i am concerned with that when i
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testify next year on the 2016 filing season, the report on the return processing fund may not he is good as it was this year. the employees of the irs will do everything they can to effectively and efficiently deliver next year's filing season but we need help. we need the congress to pass any legislation regarding tax extenders as early as possible this year, and to provide us additional resources in the 2016 budget. with that help, i am much more confident about the chances of delivering another smooth filing season for the nation's taxpayers next year. with regard to the letter the chairman recited and received, obviously, this is the first year of the program and taxpayers are in fact and tax preparers are adjusting to the requirements of the act. there is a reference to the penalty. it is not a penalty. it is a repayment of the premium advanced payment provided. we spent a significant amount of time starting a year ago trying
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to remind taxpayers that if their circumstances change to during the year, particularly if their family size changed or if their income changed either up or down, they should contact the marketplaces and advise them. it sounds as if they divided income information that was not properly applied to their situation, which is a relatively rare circumstance. it is the first time i have heard someone said -- say they have gotten the wrong information from the health care marketplaces. we encourage -- most people overestimated or underestimated their income and have an adjustment in their premium tax credit and did it because it is difficult for all of us to estimate a year in advance what our income is going to be. but the indications are that close to half of the people, 45% of the people are actually getting a bigger refund because they overestimated their income to be careful, 50 percent to 55% are getting a smaller refund. while we do not have full data for another three or four weeks,
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it does appear that there are relatively few people who are in a situation where the oh taxes as a result of having underestimated their income for the year. i would stress that we are doing everything we can in this transition year to help taxpayers whatever their difficulties are. the treasury department issued a policy saying that to the extent that taxpayers are having difficulty with their payments either in terms of understanding exactly what they owe, or to the extent that they oh additional funds, there will not be any penalty for an inability to pay. you should still file but the treasury has removed any penalties for difficulties in this transition year. we have been -- over 90% of people used software that we have not seen and we monitor the calls we get every day, a significant response from the public with regard to any difficulties they are having. as i say, if you use the software, you just answer the
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questions and you never have to deal with the instructions and you never have to deal with the forms. i am struck by the chairman's concern, which is my concern, and that is the point that people are nervous about revealing their names if they have a problem because somehow they'll be disadvantaged in dealing with the i.r.s. it is critical for compliance, it is critical for the operation of the tax system in the united states for every taxpayer to feel comfortable that they will be treated fairly no matter who they are, no matter who they voted for in the last election the matter what organization they will long to, they will be treated fairly even if -- they -- even if they have a problem. taxpayers should let us know if things are not going the way they ought to or the way they expected them to go. the only way we will be able to fix this, the only way we will be able to get better is if we know what the problems are. my encouragement to any taxpayer is, if you have a problem, we are here to help you. our revenue agents say we distinguish between those trying to become compliant and those trying to cheat.

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