tv Sen. Susan Collins R-ME at Christian Science Monitor Breakfast CSPAN November 30, 2017 6:38pm-7:41pm EST
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on c-span 2. maine senator susan collins talked about the provisions that need changing in the bill before she can commit. she spoke about infrastructure spending, immigration. held by the "christian science monitor." this is an hour. >> making her second appearance and native of caribou, maine and comes from a family of public
servants. her mom chaired the board of the university of maine system and her dad was a state senator. after graduating from college, our guest followed in her parents' footsteps and landed a job. she stayed on the hill and filling in staff jobs for the next 17 years. in 199 , just two years after losing governor, she was legitimated to four terms and ended the biographical portion of the program. let me note we have a special home from "the monitor's" service. and on the ground rules. we are on the record here. please no live blogging or tweeting or no filing of any time and listen to what our
guest says. there is no embargo when the session ends promptly at 9:30. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge we will give you photos. and if you would like to ask a question, send me a subtle nonthreatening signal and call on you. we will offer our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments and questions from around the table. and senator collins, thank you. the floor is yours. . collins: let me -- >> and to say how special it is to be here on his last breakfast after all of this years. and i really appreciate that.
i hope the occasion of my speaking is not what prompted your retirement -- [laughter] >> but it does make it extra special. i know i'm giving my age by saying but when i remember these were the sperling breakfasts and my husband worked for chuck and i believe he was the first speaker at the sperling breakfast. so somehow we have come full circle and what a small world it is. i know what the topic of the day is and i will get many, many questions on the tax bill that is before us on the senate floor. so, i thought i would use the four minutes that are allocated to me to talk about something different. and that is the fact that
despite all of the attention on the affordable care act, whether it was last summer and fall or whether it is the repeal of the individual mandate has been included unwisely, in my view, in the tax bill, no one is really concentrating on the underlying costs of health care. and after all, if we're concerned about access and the high cost of insurance premiums, we ought to be focusing more on the underlying costs of health insurance. and the senate health committee, which is very ably headed by senator alexander and senator patty murray, is beginning to look at the costs of prescription drugs.
we spend $325 billion last year on prescription drugs. that's about 10% of all health care costs. as chair of the aging committee, i did an in-department investigation with senator priceill into the cost of of drugs for which there were no generic competitors and you might recall that martin was one of the infamous characters for which -- in which he played absolutely no role in the r&d and the development of these costs. and literally overnight, hiked up the cost by 4,000%. and that caused me to do an investigation and to look at the
fact that we have a hard time getting generic drugs to the market and that we have these marketplace failures where generics do not appear and we could have ma nip lation. there is one new development that i want to bring to your attention before we switch to your questions that i find truly outrageous and it was brought to my attention by a group of pharmacists and there was a network investigation -- the network isn't here today and i won't mention the name -- into this this. and there are many cases where the consumer is better buying the drug out of pocket rather than using his or her insurance
plan. find this to be absolutely extraordinary. and in the case, for example of a common anti-by on theic, the price was double. so i met with some pharmacists from the state of maine who told me they are under clauses that prevent them from telling their consumers, their patients that they would be better off paying for a drug out of pocket than doing the co-pay under their insurance plan. i have brought this up at a hearing as recently as yesterday when the nominee for h.h.s. was before our committee. and i'm determined to do something to end these gag
clauses that prevent pharmacists from telling their patients that they would be better off just paying out of pocket. but raises the larger question of why that's the case. and that is something we're going to be exploring further in the senate aging committee and has to do with the role of benefits management agency and often take a cut and a pharmacist can answer the question, if you pose the question, but they cannot volunteer that it would be cheaper for the consumer to pay out of pocket. so that is an example of the kinds of owe pakeness and man laces that are going on in the pricing of prescription drugs. there are many others and i know
this is a question and answer session. but this is a passion for me to get to the bottom of this and we are going to continue the work that we did in the aging committee. let me just end by saying the aging committee put out a truly terrific report. unfortunately we put it out at the end of the last congress between christmas and united nations day and somehow, somehow , it did not get the pickup from the press that it deserved due to our poor timing. f anyone is interested, i have many leftover copies. thank you so much.
>> does that include a trigger? >> well, i want to see what the trigger is looking like is going to look like. it's gone through several iterations and still under negotiation. a bob corker is working on trigger. here's a couple of concerns of what we have to be careful with the trigger in case we are wrong with the economic growth projections and that is you don't want to raise taxes if the economy is going into a recession. that would be the worst thing you can do. you don't want to cut buttlement programs -- well if you are going into a
recession, programs like medicaid and unemployment compensation have greater demands. i do want to look at what they come up with, but i'm not sure i heard so many different ersions. i'm not unmindful of the impact of the debt and if we're wrong if the authors of the bill are wrong about the economic growth and if the c.b.o. is wrong about the percentages, it would cause interest rates to go up and that would make the debt an even greater problem. >> let me preface my remarks by thanking dave and "the monitor."
they have been a great god-send. and we greatly appreciate it. knowing as you said that you think it is unwise to include the mandate and remove the mandate will we eliminate the mandate for 13 million people and include many of your state which is a relatively poor state, not only does the bill have a bad impact possible apply on increasing the debt, but the bulk of the benefits go to rich people and tom corporations. and there's also a provision i gather that could force a $25 billion cut in medicare and in some republicans think that one of the purposes of this bill is to starve government so programs that aid the poor can be cut
back, which many of your fellow republicans have been trying to do for years. given all that, i want to know hy you want to vote for this bill. > you did a compound question. i'm going to start with your last one first and that is the possibility that under the so-called statutory pay-go law that there could be a triggering of cuts in medicare of $25 billion. i strongly oppose that. and i have written a letter to mitch mcconnell asking what is the plan to avert that. i met with senator mcconnell just yesterday and he has
assured me that that will not be allowed to happen. and i would be glad to share my letter with anyone who would like to have it. let me say that we have 16 times raised the pay-go requirements to prevent this from happening and i expect it will be done on either the continuing resolution, stop gap funding measure or on the omnibus spending bill but will be done before the end of the year. so the $25 billion cut in medicare will not go into effect. i'm confident that neither side of the aisle wants that to occur. there is a.m. will precedent 16 times for raising that requirement and i have a
personal requirement that that will not occur and that has been discussed with paul ryan also on the house side. i if it were going to occur, would not even consider voting for this bill. that's one of your points i wanted to deal with. so you also talked about the distribution and the obamacare, the repeal of the individual mandate. mistake tot is a big include repeal of the individual mandate into this bill. that does not mean that i'm a fan of the individual mandate. let me make that very clear. but it complicates matters. and when you take out that one
provision from the a.c.a., it causes premiums to go up as healthier younger people release the marketplace. but there is a huge difference your honor g away from people who have it and want it, which is the bill last fall and summer would have done moving a fine on people who choose not to purchase insurance because they find it to be unaffordable. and it is very telling to me hat the 80% of those fines are aid by people who make $50,000 or less. 80%.
those fines are falling disproportionately on middle and low-income consumers. but nevertheless, i'm concerned about the impact on premiums even though i don't support the individual mandate and think that an auto-enrolled system with the opportunity to opt would be a better means to get people in the system. i have proposeded two approaches to opt up the increase in premiums. one is passage of the alexander-murray bill that would reinstate the cost savings deduction which help people with incomes below the level to pay their deduct i believe so and co-pays. it is a bill that i introduced
with the democrat of florida, which would give states funding to set up high risk pools which would people with pre-existing conditions and have the effect of lowering premiums. the combination of those two bills would more than offset the premium increase that would be caused by those -- that would be caused with those who have to buy on the individual insurance and that would be triggered by repeal. they are not going to be in the bill because -- they fall under the procedural. but before -- don't nod your head like that. but let me tell you how we're getting it. and again, i have met three times with the president of the united states about this and gotten his endorsement and met
with the republican leadership and the members of the finance committee, they are most likely to be on the continuing resolution. so here's my scenario, assuming the tax bill passes the senate, we then turn to the c.r. and those two bills would be put on the c.r. and while the tax bill in conference, the c.r. presumably would become law and then the tax bill would come back from conference. so so i'm going to know whether or not those provisions made it. that matters hugely to me. >> jerry from "buffalo news." >> senator collins, you've pressed concerns about the
adoption in the bill, is your concern about that enough to get you to stop voting for the bill and is there anything going on in terms of changes the bill to accommodate those who are concerned about losing the salt deduction? senator collins: yes, and yes. it would be problematic for me if the salt deduction is not in the senate bill. i have filed an amendment to parallel with the house bill. it would allow up to $10,000 of property taxes to be deducted nd the cost of that is about $145. billion. over the period of the bill. and i would pay for it by not lowering the corporate rate to 20%. instead, i would lower it to 21%
and i would keep the top individual rate at 39.6% for individuals filing jointly with incomes over $1 million. that more than pays for that. nd again, i have had extensive discussions, extensive discussions with administration officials and with the senate leaders and they understand that that is something that i have to have in the bill. and i filed the amendment already. >> so your last statement seemed you had warmed up to this bill by a lot. are you now a yes a leaning yes, and it seems like you've gotten some assurances on health care concern bus if your salt amendment does not pass if your -- is your vote contingent on that? >> the --
senator collins: the salt amendment is extremely important to me. the health care agreement is extremely important to me. it would be very difficult for me to support the bill if i do not prevail on those two issues. the reason that i'm more optimistic reflects the extensive discussions i've had with both administration officials and our senate leaders and the finance committee members. i am not -- i am not committed to vote for this bill because as you well know, who knows what's going to happen on the senate floor. we'll he vote-a-rama have where there will be a series of votes. i filed six amendments myself to the bill. there are other provisions i want to see fixed. and so i need to wait to see what happens. but i am encouraged by the
receptivity to the proposals that i've been putting forth. > next to mara from npr. >> thanks for being here. congratulations on almost a half century of service, we'll miss you. thank you for this wonderful institution. i wonder which message you believe, the message to the deficit hawks that say the deficit won't explode because they'll sunset the individual tax cuts or the middle class -- the message to the middle class hat says, i know it says the tax cuts expire but they won't. senator collins: i expect there'll be a vote to either make the individual tax cuts permanent or make the corporate tax cuts expire at the same time as the individual. in other words, from my perspective, we ought to be treating both the same.
>> is that a bottom line? senator collins: it's one of my list of items that i went in to the leadership with. it's -- i want an opportunity to vote on that issue. an believe i will have opportunity to vote on that issue. >> senator collins, thank you, and dave, obviously, thank you again, for all your service. senator rubio and lee have an amendment child tax credits and child tax credit refundability. i know you've been interested in that issue as well. their offset as it currently stands is i think a 2% increase in the corporate rate. you're proposing an increase in the corporate rate. at what point in time does there become a concern that there are so many asks that use a little
bit of an increase in the corporate rate as an offset that we end up with a 28% or 30% corporate rate because all those amendments start getting adopted? senator collins: i don't think we'll end up with a 28% or 30% corporate tax rate but i don't think we need to go to 20% on the corporate tax side. i have talked with many c.e.o.'s of large corporations that have plants in maine. none of them are headquartered in maine but many of them have plants in maine. and i pressed them on this issue repeatedly. and i said look, if the corporate tax rate goes from 35% to 22%, do you really mean to tell me that that's going to influence your investment decisions? and with one exception, they have all said, no, it would not.
we would be delighted with a 22% rate. what they're concerned about and i'm concerned about is the united states has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. and that does make us uncompetitive and it does encourage companies to invest and create jobs overseas. so i do believe that we need to lower it. but i don't think we need to go to 20%. and -- 21% 22%, fine with me. by the way, i support the rubio-lee amendment but i have an even better one. and that is, i would make refundable the tax credit for dependent care refundable. and i would pay for it by closing the loophole on carried
nterest. so that's one of my amendments. yes. and you know, as america's growing older, there are more and more families who are caring for older parents and grandparents and it's extremely expensive. and quality child care is extremely expensive. so we can help low income families with those costs, we remove a disincentive to work and we also help them out. >> are you surprised that after all the things president trump said about interest in the campaign that that was not address in the bill? senator collins: it is addressed in the bill but in a modest way. i talked to the president about
that and he said that he had no problem with closing the carried interest loophole. i can't remember whether i told him what i wanted to use the money for. in our discussion. but we definitely discussed that. >> next to john from "the economist." >> i want to know what's next? what does your caucus want to do? senator collins: i believe that infrastructure will be next and as the chairman of the transportation appropriations subcommittee i'm really excited about that. i think we need a massive investment in infrastructure in this country and i'm talking infrastructure broadly, not just roads and bridges and airports but also our seaports, our broadband for rural areas, and
if i offend the president, which i think there's very little danger of ever happening, i would have done in-- if i had been the president which i think there's very little danger of ever happening, i would have done tax reform, followed by infrastructure followed by health care reform, not repeal and replace but health care reform. how did working on tax reform compare to the a.c.a.? -- how would health care reform compare to the a.c.a.? senator collins: the health care bills were drafted in a very closed way. and there was never a committee markup. in the senate.
and there really wasn't much outreach to members. on their ideas. the tax bill has not been drafted in a perfect way by any means but it's been very different. it went through a full markup in the finance committee and there has been extensive outreach to members like me. with sitting down for hours upon hours with finance committee members. so there's been much more input than there was with the health care bill. i would also note that over the past, i believe it's seven years, there have been some 70 hearings in the finance committee on the general topic of tax reform. now, i think there should have been hearings on this bill as
well. but at least there was a full markup where both democrats and republicans were able to offer amendments and there have been outreach to members. i would have liked to have seen outreach, more outreach to the democratic side of the aisle. i believe that it would have been possible to have a bipartisan bill. >> so we've got about 25 minutes left. and i'm going to end my career disappointing people because we have alice, mary, jonathan, alex bolton, christina peterson, leslie and jim. e'll get to as many as we can. it's always helpful when you tell us you're making news. as i dot her off into -- as i dodder off into retirement, i often don't know. alice "talking points memo."
>> i want to ask the president and conservatives in the house and senate have for months railed against the c.s.r. payment to bail out and welfare and we've talked about why you think that's not accurate at all but what gives you confidence they'll turn around and support the position? senator collins: part of it is the matter of needing vote. i feel very, very strongly about restoring the c.s.r.'s which the president cut off in october. and it is not true that they are a bailout of insurers. they go to help individuals with incomes of less than 250% of the poverty rate to afford their co-pays and deductibles. one reason that people chafe so about having to buy policies from the individual market is
that the deductibles are so high. that it ends up being like you're uninsured if you make more than 250% of the poverty rate. so even with the subsidy for the premiums, if you don't give help to people who make less than 250% of the poverty rate, the insurance becomes almost meaningless to you. because you can't afford the deductibles and the co-pays. that's what the c.s.r.'s are for. the alexander-murray bill would continue them two more years. >> david, "l.a. times"." >> i want to take you back to the top exof health care. provisions wo manage to get through the legislative maze obviously combination of reinsurance and alexander-murray would mitigate there's ms of --
disagreement about how much -- but we have had for the entire year an effort by the administration to, some would call it sabotage, others would say neglect, but certainly not robustly administering the law. the law itself has flaws in the first place. and there are still talk about senator graham is talking about trying to come back with another version of skinny repeal next year. what do you see going forward with health care? is there any realistic prospect of fixing some of the acknowledged flaws of the law or are we going to go through a whole other round of trying to repeal and replace? senator collins: after the repeal and replace bill failed, the senate health committee held four meaty, substantive hearings
that were excellent. we heard from governors, actuaries, insurers, providers, consumers, all giving us their advice and by the way, all of whom endure -- endorsed the concept that i put forth for a high-risk pool. that came the alexander-murray bill. but i saw that as the first step of fixing flaws in the a.c.a. and of which there are a great many, such as the cliff and the high premiums. and my hope was that there one a series of bills going forward that would improve the a.c.a. and fix the law. i thought that was going to happen. i'm no longer quite as sure as i
once was. it was truly exciting when we did these great hearings and produced a bipartisan bill and i thought, this can be the first of many. now it looks like we're going to go back sometime in the spring to the graham-cassidy block grant bill and the problem i per with that is it puts a capita cap on medicaid spending and i'm not saying that we don't need to come up with a way to reduce medicaid spending, but the problem with the per capita cap is that an estate like -- that in a state like mine which has aties proportionately income, less healthy, older population, it really gets hurt. and it's going to lead to a curtailment of services and i
don't want to see that happen. so i think there are things that can be done. i'm really interested in the innovation that some states, including indiana, have done with their medicaid expansion population. they used managed care to help lower costs. they have required beneficiaries to have a little skin in the game by paying a very, very modest co-pay. and from what i'm told they've had better outcomes and lower costs. so there are things we can do but i do not support the approach that is in the graham-cassidy bill. >> marcy gordon from a.p. >> you spoke with, you met with the president as recently as tuesday. again, looking at comparing this legislation with what happened with health care, has the
president's leadership style changed? has he been more responsive to your concerns this time? and how has -- what are the differences in terms of how ongress has exerted leadership on this? senator collins: there's been so much more outreach. it's night and day compared to the health bill. lamar alexander, lindsey graham and i met with the president before thanksgiving. i brought him a chart that showed that the premium increases would cancel out the tax cuts for some middle income taxpayers. if we didn't do something to itigate the premium increases.
and he was obviously concerned about that. and then i just, senator alexander put forth his bill, i described my bill. and we had a meeting on tuesday, i had a lengthy meeting with the president's staff on these issues. on monday. and as i said there have been countless meetings that i've had with members of the finance committee and with mitch mcconnell. that just didn't happen on the health care bill. so it's an entirely different process. and i did find that the president listened to my oncerns. >> to john from newsmax. >> thank you, dave, thank you for everything over the years. good luck in the next step of your career which will be a lot of grandchildren.
senator, going back to the salt measure, you know there are different opinions on this and some have said, particularly in the anti-tax group, leave it in the bill because this will lean on states such as new york, california, and pennsylvania, to lower their state taxes. what do you say when you hear that argument? senator collins: first of all, salt has been in the tax code since 1913. when we first started an income tax. if we put the salt deduction back in, albeit capped, it will help middle income families and it helps the distribution of the tax cut. and that's one of my motivations. but in addition, you don't have a salt deduction, jour
essentially engaging in double taxation. so i don't want any of those outcomes. i want to help middle income families. i want to -- i want to keep a provision that's been in the tax code since the very beginning. this isn't a special interest provision that has been added lately. a matter it's just also of avoiding double taxation. >> could we get a clarification of term, there's salt, the whole state and local taxes, and then there's the $10,000 on property taxes that you keep talking about and that's one part of the bill that's remaining if your proposal and the house. in your -- in what you just said, are you talking about all of salt or your one piece of it?
senator collins: i'm trying to be a realist on what i can get through. i decided that the best way was to mirror what the house did. o -- but if i had my druthers, i would expand the salt deduction to include income tax as well as property tax but i'm trying to comp mies is the art of the possible. i'm trying -- or politics is the art of the possible and i'm trying to come up with a provision that would match the house so it wouldn't be an issue in conference and we would be ure to get that. >> thank you for being here today. i want to take you a bit, not a bit a lot, off topic. the "washington post" and "new york times" have stories over the last few days about the
president dabbling in conspiracy theories again, president's birth certificate, the "access hollywood" tape, given these stories, and i think "the new york times" has a story about the president creating his own reality, i'm wondering how concerned you are about the mental health of the president. senator collins: first of all, let me say that my conversations with the president recently have given me no reason to be concerned in that regard. but, do i think that it's helpful that he puts out -- he raises these conspiracy theories or puts out a tweet of an anti-muslim video that turns out to not even be accurate? no. i don't. and i have not hesitated to
criticize the president when he does that. >> alex from "the hill." >> it looks like roy moore could win that race down in alabama. the president effectively endorsed hill last week. i know there's going to be an ethics committee investigation should he be elected but what do you think generally about the precedent of the senate voting to expel a member over allegations that happened before he was elected, that voters were aware of. senator collins: first let me say i never endorsed roy moore, even before the sexual abuse allegations came out. i was concerned he had been removed twice from the supreme court in alabama for failing to follow legal judicial orders.
to me, that was enough to not support him. and i supported luther strange and i wish that he had won. so i just want to clarify that. up front. if he is elected, there are no grounds under the constitution to fail to seat him. the constitution says you can only look at citizenship, whether they're a resident of the state, and whether they meet the proper age. so we have to seat him. then, as you said, it is likely there would be an ethics committee investigation. and i would wait to see what the ethics committee recommends. verythink that you raise a difficult question, an that is, if the voters of a state, fully knowing all of these allegations, nevertheless choose
o elect roy moore, is it a appropriate for the senate to expel him? i think that's a really ifficult question. i don't know the answer to that yes yet -- to that yet. i would want to see the ethics committee's deliberation. >> christina peterson from "the wall street journal." >> when you're looking at the difference -- when you're looking at the difference between the health care and tax debates, not just on a process but on the substantive policy, was health care more difficult in the senate because you were fundamentally taking a program away or curbing it? and could you talk about the difference in what the plans would do and how that affected the debate. senator collins: you put your finger on a very key distinction. in the case of the affordable
care act repeal bill, first of all, there wasn't a good replacement. and we were -- we would have en taking away from people insurance that they have and that they need. we would have been telling states that had expanded medicaid that we're reneging on the commitment that we made to them to pay a disproportionate share ratcheted down over years, but a disproportionate share of the expansion cost. and by the way, that medicaid expansion has allowed for the treatment of an -- of a lot of people with substance abuse and opioid addiction. familiar -- particularly in states like ohio. so it has real life consequences for people. so i think it's entirely
different and i say that as someone who still believes that there are real problems with the law that need to be fixed. in taxes, we are revamping the tax code. for the first time since 1986. i don't know a single american who loves our tax code. i don't know anybody who thinks it's fair, that it's simple, that it's pro-growth. and it seems to me that those should be the goals that we embrace. so i think the two situations are entirely different and i believe that it was a mistake to combine health care policy and ax policy.
>> i want you to put your appropriator hat on for a moment. we're facing a government shut dunn deadline. do you think an omnibus is possible before the end of the year? would it have to be done next year? what about dealing with daca as part of ta process? senator collins: first of all, the appropriations committee has done a lot of its work and it's extremely frustrating to me as chair of a subcommittee that produced a bipartisan bill that was unanimously reported by the committee, 31-0, that i can't get that bill on the senate floor in the normaly we used to do the appropriations process and take it across the senate floor, have it fully amended and debated and then go to conference with the house. so that's the first thing i would say. and i believe we've done eight of the bills.
if memory serbs me correctly. so it's not like we haven't done our job. those bills have been done for a long time. i would like to see the bills that have been reported brought to the bills, maybe you could combine three of the bills together, and let's at least get some of government funded and not rely on continuing resolutions. the problem with continuing resolutions is they lock in last year's priorities and they don't account for programs that should be increased or programs that should be terminated. they just put government on automatic pilot. it's why i hate sequestration. because it's an across the board cut with no judgment being applied to it. nevertheless, i think we're likely to have a short-term c.r. go through once the current one
expires on december 8 and then i do believe we will have an omnibus bill before the end of the year. i believe that that will happen. that is better than a c.r. and it's better than doing what we did last year where we didn't settle the budget issues until, i think, this past year, i mean, until march. >> an the undocumented -- senator collins: i'm sorry, daca. i'm very sympathetic to coming up with a solution for the daca individuals. and i want to be part of crafting a solution on that. and i think it needs to be done before the end of the year. whether it's a separate bill or put on the omnibus, doesn't really matter to me.
i always prefer separate bills because i think when you get these massive bills that make -- that makes life very difficult and that the public cynicism over the way we work just glows. but i've talked to students from the university of southern maine who did not know that he was undocumented until he went to apply for his driver's license and his parents then broke the news to him and said, oops, we have a little issue here. and he is as american as anyone. he has known no other country. he grew up in portland, maine. he's going to the university of southern maine. he had a summer job painting houses. he's a good -- i realize he's not technically a citizen but
he's a good resident of this country. i think there should be a path to citizenship for him. he not only did not make the decision to come here illegally, he didn't even know he was brought here illegally. and he followed all the rules of daca. so he's now frightened because people know, the government knows where he lives. they know how to find him. because he followed the rules under daca and registered. so i am extremely sympathetic to people like him. and we do need to solve this before the end of the year. because the president delayed his order, or stayed his order, i think by only six months. so it is imperative that we act. and it's also imperative because i don't like the idea that these
young people are living in a state of fear about what is going to happen to them. so i talked to jeff flake about that very issue yesterday. he's been a real leader on this. there are many of us, and dick durbin as well, lindsey graham, there are a lot of people who are concerned. >> would you not vote for it without daca? senator collins: i don't know that it has to be on the omnibus. i don't want to shut down government so i want an omnibus to go through regardless. government shutdowns are terrible. they represent the ultimate in failing to govern. so i don't want a government shutdown. but i am pushing very hard as are many people in the senate on both sides of the aisle for a solution to the daca issue. >> my experience in monitor
radio tells me what i'm about to say is going tick take -- going to take one minute and 15 seconds. let me talk about the future of monitor breakfasts. it's been my pleasure to host over 700 of these breakfasts when i slid into the moderators chair. next month i'm leaving the monitor staff i joined 48 years ago. my wife linda and i are moving to southern california to be closer to our sons and warmer in the winter. my friend and colleague, linda feldman, sitting on the other side of the senator, will be the new moderator. he's a total pro and the breakfast tradition will be in good hands. let me close with thanks. "the monitor" is indebted to you and the news organizations you represent for supporting the breakfast with your presence in the 51 years since these gatherings began. we are grateful you share our view that, especially today
there is value in a forum for civilized, thoughtful conversation between journalists and key public officials. and with that, here's the new moderator, linda feldman. [applause] >> thank you. on behalf of my colleagues at the monitor, including our editor, mark who came down from boston to be here for the occasion, i want to congratulate dave on his 16 years in the
breakfast chair and his previous years as editor of "the monitor" and reporter and all the way back to being a y kid if i recall, though i wasn't there. >> you probably weren't even born. >> i don't know. dave, as breakfast host i have to say that dave did the job with grace and fairness and in so doing upheld the highest ideals of "the monitor" and if to -- and for that i'm especially grateful. i want to thank senator collins for being here today and i hope you'll come back and with that, the breakfast is adjourned. thank you. >> thanks so much. senator collins: you're clearly going to be missed, no doubt about that. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
senator ben cardin is currently speaking. they are debating amendments with a possible final passage vote sometime friday. if the senate passes its version of tax reform, members will need to meet with the house to work out the differences between the two bills. follow the senate live right now on c-span2. during today's white house briefing with press secretary sara sanders she answered questions on recent reporting saying that secretary of state rex tillerson will be replaced and also announced that president tump will give his third quarter salary to the health and human services department to aid in the fight against the opioid crisis. this is 20 minutes. ms. sanders: good afternoon. let john rogers finish