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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 17, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 68, the nays are 23. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. julie e. carnes of georgia to be united states circuit judge for the 11th circuit. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the clerk will report calendar number 709. the clerk: department of defense, david b. shear of new
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york to be an assistant secretary. the presiding officer: if ness no further debate, the question is on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the n.o.m. nominatio nomination. under the previous order, the clerk will report calendar number 834. the clerk: executive office of the president, david arthur mader of virginia to be controller, office of federal financial management, office of mapght and budget. -- management and budget. the presiding officer: if there is to further debate, the the question is on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions is reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the president will be
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immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. mrs. shaheen: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: madam president, i come to the floor today to re-iterate my opposition to legislation that would impose new tax burdens on businesses in new hampshire and, i believe, would have a serious impact on our economy. earlier this week, majority leader reid started a fast-track process to bring a bill to the floor that includes the so-called marketplace fairness act. this is legislation that would, for the first time, allow states to collect sales taxes from businesses in new hampshire. as a result, this bill would impose significant new tax compliance burdens on entrepreneurs in new hampshire, the same entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses and create jobs through the internet.
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in new hampshire, we don't have a sales tax, so our businesses aren't used to collecting one. that's why new hampshire businesses are so concerned that if this bill passes, they will be forced to collect sales taxes from not just one state but 46 other states and 9,600 taxing jurisdictions across the country. the red tape would be 00 nightmare for small companies with only a few employees. i heard from one small business owner in hudson, new hampshire. his business is about to reach $1 million in revenue, but his company has only six employees. under the legislation, the so-called marketplace fairness act, his company might be considered a large business. the company has plans to grow, but it would be forced to reconsider that, if it approaches this arbitrary threshold and then is covered
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under the so-called marketplace fairness act. e-commerce has been a real boon to small businesses in new hampshire and across the country. it's helped companies find new markets for their products and new revenues. but for companies looking to grow through online sales, this legislation represents an artificial ceiling for creating jobs and expanding through e-commerce. let me just raise a few concerns about what this legislation would mean for small business. first, each state has different sales and use taxes, so businesses would need new software to figure out how to collect and remit those taxes. small businesses would also need to collect personal information from each buyer to make sure they're complying with all state and local sales taxes. these small businesses might then have to deal with audit and enforcement actions from other states, and the same businesses might have to answer to taxing
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authorities in maces where they have no representation whatsoever. and as states and localities consider new taxes, these small businesses would have no voice -- no voice in that process because they have no representation in those jurisdictions. these are just a few examples of the many unintended consequences that this legislation would create. these burdens on small businesses will stifle e-commerce. that's why it was so disappointing to learn that the sponsors of the so-called marketplace fairness act have attached it to another measure that's meant to encourage e e-commerce: the internet tax freedom act. that legislation bans taxes on internet access. the internet tax freedom act has broad bipartisan support. i'm proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation. since 1998, the internet tax
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freedom act has kept the internet free of new taxation. that's helped the internet nourish and become the driver of -- flourish and become the driver of economic activity that it is today. unfortunately, the law that bans new internet access taxes expires this november and congress must take action to keep the internet tax-free. i strongly support that, keeping the internet tax-free, and the vast majority of congress supports it. in fact, just this week the house voted to make this ban on internet taxation permanent. the internet tax freedom act could pass the senate and the house today with strong bipartisan support, yet based on the action earlier this week, the senate may be asked to consider a bill that includes new tax burdens on small
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businesses. that's right. it doesn't make sense. but on a bill that's meant to keep the internet free from taxation, there's now an effort to impose new tax collection burdens on internet retailers. that not only doesn't make sense. i think it's just wrong. just yesterday, i sent a letter with a bipartisan group of our colleagues urging leadership to bring a clean internet tax freedom act bill to the floor. i was joined by senators cruz, ayotte, tester, merkley, and paul. we believe that the internet should be tax-free, and that we should pass this noncontroversial legislation as soon as possible. we also think it's wrong to use a critical must-pass extension of this law to keep the internet tax-free as a vehicle to pass a fundamental shift in how
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e-commerce operates. combining these two very different issues into one bill does nothing to protect new hampshire small businesses from the flawed so-called marketplace fairness act. we should keep this internet sales tax legislation from moving forward. the so-called marketplace fairness act. we should do that because it's bad for new hampshire and the other states that have no sales taxes who are in the same position that new hampshire's in. it's bad for small businesses, and it's bad for our economy. thank you very much, madam president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: i ask that the quorum call be lifted.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: i wanted to recognize my colleague from new hampshire, senator ayotte, who i think has come to the floor to also express her concerns about this coupling of the internet tax freedom act with the so-called marketplace fairness act. to talk about from her perspective the concerns that it places on new hampshire small businesses. so i'm very pleased to see my colleague from new hampshire here, also expressing her concern about what's happening. ms. ayotte: thank you, madam president,. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: madam president, i certainly want to thank my colleague, senator shaheen from new hampshire. as she has stated, new hampshire doesn't have a sales tax, and the so-called marketplace fairness act, there's absolutely nothing fair about it, especially for a state like new hampshire. it should be more appropriately named the internet sales tax
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collection act, that's what it is, the sales tax collection act, and i appreciate the work that i've done with my colleague, that both of us fighting the marketplace fairness act because there's nothing fair about it for new hampshire, and, frankly, nothing fair it for online businesses across this country. this act would ask our online businesses that have been thriving and growing, people -- many people have started these businesses from their homes and we've seen those businesses really flourish in our home state of new hampshire. they would ask these businesses to become tax collectors for states that are greedy for revenue and would really trample on the decision of a state like new hampshire not to have a sales tax, and what it would mean is as an online business, you now have to become the tax collector not just for the
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states, the 50 states, but you actually have to become a tax collector for over 9,000 tax jurisdictions in this country. talk about a bureaucratic nightmare for an online business. talk about an act that is going to put onerous burdens on an area of commerce that we've seen such great growth in. talk about something that an -- an act that is totally misnamed because there's nothing fair about it. it really is an internet sales tax collection act. and something that to my home state of new hampshire i've had so many businesses, online businesses write me about how this act, this m. f.a.a. act, is going to hurt their business, is going to place onerous requirements on our
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businesses, and not only do they be forced to collect taxes for these other jurisdictions, over 9,000, but can you imagine once one of those jurisdictions, municipality that is allowed to tax changes their tax amount, then suddenly they've got to update their collection method. and guess what, if they get it wrong, they're subject to being sued in some other state, some other jurisdiction. this is going to hurt the development of more online businesses because it just creates a big bureaucracies. and it's total -- bureaucracy. and it's totally inappropriate. why are we asking these thriving online businesses to become the tax collectors for states and often the reason we have over 9,000 jurisdictions they'd have to collect for is not just states, it goes down to in some
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states even the municipal level has its own sales tax that can be collected. what a mess. and here as we see what's happening in washington, the majority leader rule 14-ed a bill and what he did is he attached the marketplace fairness act, which i prefer to call the internet sales tax collection act, to what was just passed in the house -- the the house of representatives, the internet freedom act. talk about ironic. the internet tax freedom act is something i strongly, strongly support. what it is going to prevent is taxes over the internet, taxing the internet that could hit all of us in some way so that we can protect the freedom of the internet and the growth that we've seen on the internet, and it's so widely supported on both
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sides of the aisle as my colleague from new hampshire just said. and so the irony of it is, here we have an act that's so widely supported, internet tax freedom act so we don't tax the internet, and the majority leader decides to attach to it this so-called marketplace fairness act, which is really the internet sales tax collection act, which creates new onerous burdens on online businesses to become the tax collectors for over 9,000 tax jurisdictions. and you can see the irony of it. here we have bipartisan support for freedom from taxes on the internet that should be extended, to allow the internet to thrive and grow and continue to grow. and the majority leader without a hearing -- because when he rule 14s there's no committee hearing, it doesn't go through the committee process where we can have hearings on the burdens
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this will place on online commerce and on online businesses not only in my home state of new hampshire but other businesses across the country. so no hearing for this. it's just something that both sides of the aisle agree with, let's keep the internet tax-free, the majority leader attaches onto it with no hearing under rule 14 this onerous requirement, which i'd like to call the internet sales tax collection act, of course, in washington they always name these acts to make you think it sounds good so they call at this time marketplace fairness act. and that's the irony of only in washington swiew have -- withdrew have rammed through this process without a committee hearing something that protects internet freedom, that has strong bipartisan support, attached with it new onerous burdens for those who are internet businesses to become the sales tax collectors for the nation.
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so i would join with my colleague from new hampshire just said. i think it's wrong that this bill is being pushed forward with the internet tax freedom act that has such strong support that should be brought to this body as a stand-alone, not with these new burdensome requirements that are set forth in the so-called marketplace fairness act otherwise known as the internet sales tax collection act, and the people of this country deserve to have a free, tax-free internet, and the online businesses of this country that are thriving and growing shouldn't become the tax collectors for states and municipalities who are greedy for more revenue, it's their job to collect their taxes, it
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shouldn't be an online business' job to collect taxes for over 9,000 jurisdictions because you can only imagine how many changes will happen and what kind of paperwork nightmare that will create for those businesses. i've heard it from our businesses firsthand. so i would hope that this body would oppose any effort to vote for a bill that collects internet tax freedom with internet sales tax collection act because the two are antithetical. one works against the other, one ensures the freedom of the internet to be tax-free, the other one creates new burdensome requirements on online businesses and actually it cuts against, in my view, the thriving commerce that we see over the internet and has resulted in more choice for all of us as consumers in this
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country. so with that, madam president, i would like to shift to a different topic. i would like, first of all, we all learned today very shockingly that there was an airlines that was shot down, malaysia airlines flight shot down over eastern ukraine, and that reportedly 295 people lost their lives in that incident. and it's been reported that there were americans, some americans reportedly 23 americans who were listed on the manifest, and i just want to offer my thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of that plane that went down over eastern ukraine. and know that you're in our thoughts and in our prayers. and i want to raise the issue as following -- there's an
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investigation going on. we don't know yet who's responsible or if anyone's responsible. the facts will come forward as to why this plane went down. but it has been widely reported that the plane was, in fact, shot down. some of the reports have said that it was done by a medium training surface-to-air missile system. we know that most recently there has been tremendous violence in eastern ukraine, and if the investigation of this plane going down reveals that either russia or russian agents are responsible or indirector responsible for shooting down this civilian airliner, there should be serious, serious consequences.
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because what we know is that vladimir putin and the russians have been responsible in fomenting the situation that has occurred the eastern ukraine where there has been violence, there has been recruiting, training, and funding of russians and russian agents, sending them to eastern ukraine to fight the ukranian government, interfering with the sovereignty of ukraine, and this was following the illegal invasion and annexation of crimea, the territory of ukraine, by the russian government, and the russians have taken over that portion of ukraine. so we will wait to see what the investigation is for the downing of this plane. our prayers will be with the families who have lost those whom they love.
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but i believe there should be serious consequences if we find out that it was either russian agents, russian equipment, or russia directly that was responsible for this airliner. and yesterday the administration announced that it would impose and was imposing greater sanctions on russia for their activities, fomenting violence in eastern ukraine, and i want to thank the administration for finally coming forward and putting forth more serious sanctions against vladimir putin, against the russian government for what they have done to interfere with the sovereignty of ukraine. it's an important step forward, and i hope that vladimir putin understands that there are even greater sanctions that can be imposed, if the sanctions that
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were announced yesterday by the administration that involves some sectoral sanctions against major industries in russia and individuals, if they do not heed the warning that is coming from those sanctions, i hope that vladimir putin and the russian government understands there are much tougher sanctions that can also be imposed, if they don't heed the sanctions that were put in place yesterday and stop fueling the violence in eastern ukraine. madam president, what we've seen happen in eastern ukraine is that we need to understand the context of it. the separatists, the so-called separatists in eastern ukraine are funded, equipped, and supported by the kremlin. vladimir putin could end the
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violence in eastern ukraine tomorrow, if he chooses to. he essentially has operational control of what these violent separatists are doing to interfere with the sovereignty in ukraine. he's responsible for the violence, and i would call on him to end that violence-to- vip funding these separatists, to stop providing them with equipment that is being used against ukrainian people and the ukrainukrainian military and tow the people of ukraine to determine their future. that is what they want. i had the privilege of going to ukraine for their presidential election, and i was inspired by the people who went to the polls, and i'll never forget being there at the first polling station that day in the presidential elections, and an older gentleman came to the polls, and he cast his ballot.
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and what he said for democracy, the people of ukraine want to determine their own future, just like we determine our future in this country. and vladimir putin and russia should allow the people of ukraine to decide their future. they should stop interfering with the son ofty of ukraine. this is not a ukrainian uprising of dis-enfranchised russians spearussians-speaking ukrainian. what's happening in eastern ukraine is a kremlin- instigated, armed, funded, and trained and fueled aggression against the people of ukraine and their duly elected government. this is cynical and blatant aggression by putin against ukraine, and putin continues to undermine ukrainian sovereignty and security by arming these separatist rebels, massing
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russian troops at the border of eastern ukraine in a very threatening way, and also threatening to increase further coercive measures against ukraine. the people of ukraine need our help. the ukrainian people are willing to risk their lives and have been risking their lives to defend the son ofty of their country -- the sovereignty of their country against president putin's aggression, but the ukrainian government desperately needs our assistance. in particular, the prior administration of ukraine that left -- president yanukovych was very aligned with russia, gutted their military, and much of the equipment that they need to be able to defend themselves. and let me just say, they have gone there and bravely defended themselves, even without having some of the equipment that they need -- was really lost by their
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military because of the prior administration and neglect of the ukrainian military. ukrainians need assistance and not only the sanctions that the administration has issued, which could get tougher, but they need military assistance from our country. we have to keep in mind, the ukrainians gave up their nuclear weapons under the budapest memorandum. in run, our country, the russians were signatories to the budapest memorandum, and in return for security assurances, the least we can do for them is to give them the means to defend themselves. so i know that the ukrainian government has asked us for antitank, antiaircraft, small arms, sharing of intelligence so that they can defend their own
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border. it is the least that we can do for them, given that they gave up their nuclear weapons. what country is going to give up their nuclear weapons again, if we won't even give them some basic military assistance tow -- so that they can defend themselves? they're not asking us to send our troops in. they're not asking for things like that. they're willing to defend themselves, and they need our help to do so. finally, president obama said in his june 4 speech in poland that our free nations were stand united show that further russian provocations will only mean isolation and costs for russia. i call on the president to continue to take action and to stand by those words. those words meant a lot to the ukrainian people, and it is important that we follow through on those words. because it is in the united states' national security interest to stand with the people of ukraine and their
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legitimately elected government, as they see to protect their sovereignty, if we aren't willing to stand in these circumstances by giving them some basic military support that they've asked for, after having given up their nuclear weapons, then what lessons will other actors in the region and around the world take from that? i think lesson number one, why would you ever give up your nuclear weapons? in a world that we are hoping to reduce the amount of proliferation, this is not a good message for us to send. number two, what were our allies in the region -- what will our allies in the region think if we will not stand wit against russn aggression under these circumstances? you've already seen concerns, of course, by the countries in the region that can be impacted by russian aggression, whether it's georgia, moldova, concerns that
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we've seen for further support from poe land, important allies in the region. and to put it in pe perspectivee don't know what happened but we'll find out with the downing of this commercial passenger planing anpass planeand the trae individuals. but over the past month we have seen on june 14 pro--russia separatists shot down a ukrainian military transport killing all people onboard. june 16, ga gazprom, they are cutting off gas supplies to ukraine. just in monday a ukrainian cargo plane was shot down and ukrainian officials believe it was shot down by missiles fired from russia. last night a ukrainian fighter jet shot down.
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ukrainians also believe that the russians were involved in shooting down that fighter jet. so you can so that this passenger plane, we will find out what happened to t but it -- what happened to it. but it was in airspace where there has been instances of russian agents directly involved in shooting down ukrainian planes. so it is important that we give the ukrainian people the capacity to defend themselves under those circumstances. it's the least that we can do given that they are willing to stond for their own sovereignty, that their strong friends of the united states -- that they're strong friends of the united states of america. and if their allies think the we won't stand with them, it will create a situation where their allies feel they cannot rely on the united states of america.
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it also creates a situation where allies, potential adversaries take the wrong message from it. for example, thinking about what's happening right now with the negotiationses with iran. if we are a country not willing to follow through to assist our friends under circumstances where, for example, ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons with some basic military support, what kind of message will that send to the negotiations going on with iran right now as to why they should give up their nuclear program? so this is a very important moment for the united states of america. i again want to say that what the -- the steps that the administration took to impose additional sanctions this week are very important steps. i support those. i hope that vladimir putin and russia heed what those sanctions
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mean. those sanctions will have an impact on the russian economy, but we can impose even stronger sanctions against russia, if they do not stop funding and causing the violence in eastern ukraine and interfering with the sovereignty of the ukrainian people. madam president, the people of ukraine, they have our respect. they have stood up for themselves. they had a free and fair election that i was able to observe. they elected their president, and now they want to determine their own future, and they want russia to respect the sovereignty of their country, what any country in this world should be able to expect; that another country will respect their sovereignty. unfortunately, vladimir putin
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has been a bully in all of this and has not respected the sovereignty of ukraine. he should understand that the sanctions that were issued this week are a message to him to stop what he's doing in eastern ukraine, and we can issue even tougher sanctions and should issue tougher sanctions, if he continues to act like a bully who thinks he can go into other countries, take their territory, and push people around in those countries, as we have seen in ukraine. this matters to the world because we cannot have people like putin thinking that they can go and i vade another country without consequences. finally, madam president, i would hope that we would provide more support to the ukrainian military given that they have been willing to stand up for their own defense, to security their own border, to stand up for their own sovereignty. but it is very difficult for them to do so when they are
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facing russian-supported separatists, russian tanks, russian antiaircraft equipment and more sophisticated technology than they have at the moment. we can help them by ensuring that they have the equipment to protect themselves, to protect their border, and to let russia know that there will be consequences if they continue to interfere with the so sovereigny of ukraine or any other country. thank you, madam president. madam president, i would noalt
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the absence of -- i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, three of our greatest masters of the universe -- i like to refer to -- have joined in an op-ed in "the new york times" just last week to share their wisdom from on high and to tell us in congress how to do our business and to conduct immigration reform that they think should be pleasing to them. i'm sure other super billionaires would be glad to join with these three super billionaires and could agree on legislation that would be acceptable to them. sheldon adelson, a las vegas casino magnet, republican supporter; warren buffett, the master investor; and bill gates, the master founder of microsoft computer systems -- all super
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billionaires -- aren't happy, apparently. they don't have much respect for congress, and by indirection, the people who elect people to congress, it appears from the tone of their article. you know, the american people, that great unwashed group, nativist, narrow-minded patriots, possessors of middle-class values, they just don't understand like we know, we, great executives and entrepreneurs. and so they declare we need to import more foreign workers in computer science and technology and engineering because the country is -- quote -- "badly in need of their services." they say we are badly in need of importing large numbers of stem graduates, and that's something we've all heard and most of us
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have assumed is an accurate thing, perhaps. these three individuals, all generous men and have contributed to a lot of things -- and i'm teasing them a little bit. they didn't mind sticking it to congress. so i just would tease them and push back a little bit. they particularly praised the senate for its elimination of any limit on the number of work visas that could be awarded to immigrants who have a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics and have a job offer. and so this was the op-ed in "the new york times" last thursday. the title of it: "sheldon adelson, warren buffett and bill gates on immigration reform." well, what did we see in the newspaper today, news from microsoft? was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good-quality engineers to do the work?
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are they expanding, are they ierg? hiring? no, that's not what the news was unfortunately. not that at all. this is the headline at microsoft today -- "microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs next yea year." "microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan's effort to streamline its business under new c.e.o." that is a significant thing. indeed, microsoft employs about 125,000 people. they're laying off 18,000. and the company laid off 5,000 in 2009. yet their founder and former leader, mr. gates, says we've got to have more and more people into our country to take those
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kind of jobs. it's pretty interesting really and we need to be thinking about what it all means and asking ourselves, what is the situation today for american graduates of stem degrees and technology degrees. do we have enough and do we need to have people come to our country to take those jobs? or, indeed, do we not have a shortage of workers and do we have difficulty of people finding jobs. these are some of the facts i think we should look at. president obama, the senate democrats, and house democrats have endorsed a proposal -- the bill that passed the senate -- that would double the h1-b foreign workers that come into america for one reason -- not to be a citizen, not to stay indefinitely but to take a jo
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job -- double the number to come to take a job for up to three years normally. that's the normal time. most of these are not farm workers. 80% are not farm workers. they take jobs throughout the economy. so what should -- how should we think about that? the census bureau, the u.s. census bureau, reports that three-fourths of americans with stem degrees -- science, technology, engineering, mathematics -- don't have jobs in stem fields. three-fourths. according to a recent newspaper from the -- paper from the economic policy institute -- quote -- "guest workers may be filling as many as half of all information technology jobs each year." it goes on, "i.t. workers earn the same today as they did
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generally 14 years ago." wages aren't going up and in many cases they're going down and that is an absolute refuse utation i think, if you -- refutation i think if you believe in the free market of any indication that we have a shortage of engineering, science and stem graduates. the article further says, the paper further says, "currently, only one of every two stem college graduates is hired in a stem job each year." only half of them find a job in the profession they trained for. another finding of the paper, "policies that expand the supply of guest workers will discourage u.s. students from going into stem fields and into i.t. in particular." get that. is that not common sense? if anybody would dispute that, i'd like to hear it. but the policies that expand the
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supply of eligible workers in any field will tend to discourage people, particularly in science and engineering, if they feel like they're going to have a difficult time finding a job. that's common sense and that's what the paper found. now, mr. hal saltzman, i'm familiar with his work, he's a professor at rutgers university. he's a labor specialist. he's done a good bit of work in this area, and what does his findings show? he determined -- quote -- "for the 180,000 or so stem openings annually, u.s. colleges and universities supply 500,000 graduates." more than twice as many people graduate in stem fields as find jobs or jobs are available in america for them to take. bob scherette at the
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international electrical engineering group, in a comprehensive study, writes this. he finds -- quote -- "wages for u.s. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000." that's 14 years ago. stagnated. "even as the great recession slowly recedes, stem workers at every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid- and late-career ph.d.'s, still struggle to find employment in many companies." overall, scherette reports that there are more than 11 million americans with stem degrees who don't have stem jobs. harvard professor michael titlebaum recently -- he's written a book recently. he explained -- quote -- "far from offering expanded, attractive career opportunities,
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it seems that many, but not all, science and engineering careers are headed in the opposite direction -- unstable careers, slow growing wages and high risk of jobs moving offshore or being filled by temporary workers from abroad." michael annif with jobs hopkins magazine observed -- quote -- "you're a biologist, chemist, electrical engineer, manufacturing worker, mechanical engineer or physicist, you've most likely seen your paycheck remain flat, at best. if you're a recent grad in those fields looking for a job, good luck. a national academies report suggests a glut of life scientists, lab workers and physical scientists owing in part to overrecruitment of science ph.d. candidates by universities and post-docs, many
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of whom are waiting longer for academic spots are opting out of science careers at a higher rate, according to the national science foundation." that's a pretty serious thing. and i think we should consider it. and i'm sort of teasing mr. mr. gates and company but this is serious. there's a policy question. and we -- he questions whether the members of congress who don't pass laws like he wants on immigration are honoring their duty to the 300 million americans that we collectively represent. and i feel a deep duty to the millions of alabamans i represent and the whole country, and i do my best every day to ask what's in their interest. and as far as i'm concerned, so far as i can see, those three billionaires have three votes.
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the individual who works stocking the shelves at the grocery store, the barber, the doctor, the lawyer, the cleaners operator, the person who picks up our garbage are every bit as valuable as they are. so i know who i represent. i represent citizens of the united states of america and i am trying to figure out what's best in their interest. mr. microsoft, mr. buffet is not always 100% in accord with what's good for the american people. i know that. they are free to express their opinion, but i'm just pushing back a little bit, frankly. so a paper for the economic
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policy institute explained -- well, first, how many people come into our country each year as guest workers? we have discussed that. the senate bill that senator reid maneuvered through the senate not too many weeks ago would double the number of guest workers. well, how many is that? the associated press wrote -- quote -- "although no one attracts -- tracks capital how many h 1-6r7b b jobs have coming for jobs, how many of these are in the u.s. experts estimated there are at least 600,000 at any one time." so that's a lot. these are individuals not on a citizenship path, they're are part of the one million that come to america each year lawfully to become citizens of
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america, they simply come in at the behest of some business to take a job. for a limited period of time. and -- so that's important. there are other visas they can get, too, to get jobs but h-1b is one of the largest. paper for the economic policy institute explained the annual inflow of guest workers for the computer industry in particular is massive. quote -- "we estimate that during 2011, 372,516 high-skilled guest workers were issued visas to enter the united states labor market and of these workers between 134,000 and 228,000 were available for i.t. employment. that's information technology. the supply of i.t. guest workers appears to be growing dramatically despite stagnant,
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even declining wages" -- close quote. but microsoft and its allies want more. here is an excerpt from a report issued by the partnership for a new economy -- a new american economy. so this is the front group for the pro-immigration crowd. it's coheaded by steve balmer, the recent microsoft c.e.o. he left in february, but he was the head and may still be the head of this group and the group is lobbying for more h-1b guest workers to come to take jobs. they say this -- in many stem occupations, unemployment is virtually nonexistent. this is not so. they just declare it to be so. they say -- quote -- "there is no evidence that foreign-born stem workers adversely affect
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the wages of american workers by providing a less expensive alternative to labor" -- close quote. what planet are they on? wages are declining. median income in america today -- well, according to "the wall street journal" it was $55,000 for a family in 2007, it's now $50,000. it's dropped $5,000. somebody needs to talk about that. so is unemployment in these industries virtually nonexistent? that's what they're telling telg us. they're spending millions of dollars, even running tv ads to promote bringing in more workers than the 600,000 we have today to actually double that number. i'm not talking about the million that come lawfully every year to immigrate to america, we have one of the most generous immigration policies in the world but this is in addition to
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that number. they're not counted in that number. look at these headlines recently. today, microsoft cut work force by 18,000 this year, moving now to cut the first 13,000. how about this headline, google-owned motorola to cut 10% of work force after laying off 20% la st last year. panasonic to cut 10,000 more workers in the next five months. online media company, city grid, lays off 15% of its employees. hewlett packard, 27,000 job cuts to save up to $3 billion by 2014, they say. so i would say things aren't going as well as some would suggest. and the demand out there for workers ought to be met from our
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current supply. byron york, an excellent writer at the washington examiner as written about this late last year, and -- in "the washington examiner." his headline is this -- companies lay off thousands and then demand immigration reform for new labor. on tuesday, the chief human resources officers of more than a hundred large corporations sent a letter to house speaker john boehner and minority leader nancy pelosi urging quick passage of the comprehensive reform bill, close quote. don't he read it, just pass it because it gives us more workers and we need those workers, essentially, they've been saying. the official who wrote and signed the letter represented companies from a vast array of business interests. general electric, marriott international, hilton worldwide, hyatt hotels,
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mcdonald's, wendy's, the cheesecake factory, johnson and johnson, hewlett packard, general mills, and more. all want to see increases in immigration level for low-skill as well as high-skill workers in addition to a path to full citizenship for millions of immigrants currently in the country illegally. that's their agenda. the article goes on to say a new immigration law, the corporate officials say, would be a long-overdue step toward aligning our nation's immigration policies with its work force needs at all skill levels. so i would say at a time of high unemployment, we need to be careful. the article goes on to say at the time the corporate officers seek higher numbers of immigrants, both low-skill and high-skill, many of the
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companies they work for are laying off thousands of workers. so he did a little research on all these companies in need of workers. what about hewlett packard? they signed the letter demanding more workers. i'll just quote from the article. for example, hewlett packard, whose executive vice president for human resources signed the letter, laid off 29,000 employees in 2012. in august of this year, cisco systems, whose senior vice president, kathleen westlock, signed the letter, announced plans to lay off 4,000. in addition to 8,000 cut in the last two years. united technologies, senior vice president for human resources, an organization, elizabeth b.amato signed the letter, they ajuns -- announced layoffs of 3,000
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people this year. american express, kevin cox, signed the letter, cut 5,000 jobs this year. procter & gamble whose chief human resources officer signed the letter, announced plans to cut off 5,700 jobs in 2012. so those are just a few of the layoffs at companies, the article says, whose officers signed the letter. a few more. quote -- "t. mobile announced 2,250 layoffs in 2012. archer daniels midland laid off 1,200, texas instruments nearly 2,000, signa 1300, verizon cut 1,700 jobs, marriott announced hundreds of layoffs this year, international paper has closed plants and laid off dozens, including a big plant with a thousand workers or so in north alabama, and general mills in
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what "the minneapolis star tribune" called a mass layoff, laid off 850 people this year. more still. i'm quoting from mr. byron york's article. in all, it's fair to say a large number of corporate signers of the letter demanding more labor from abroad have actually laid off workers at home in recent years. together, their actions have a significant effect on the economy. according to a recent reuters report, u.s. employers announced 50,462 layoffs in august. up 34% from the previous month. and up 57% from august of 2012. so this was last august. i'm quoting from the article. quote -- "it's difficult to understand how these companies can feel justified in demanding
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the importation of cheap labor with a straight face at a time when tens of millions of americans are unemployed, writes the center for immigration studies, which opposes the senate gang of eight bill. the companies claim the bill is an opportunity to level the plield for u.s. employers but it's more of an effort to level the wages of american workers. so mr. york goes on to say this this -- and his next article, the next week he writes another article on this subject. this week, the pharmaceutical giant merck announced it will cut 8,500 jobs in an effort to remain competitive in a rapidly changing drug industry. earlier this year they announced plans to cut 7,500 jobs bringing the total of workers let go to
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16,000. merck intends to lay off one of every five of its, employees, close quote. well, what is -- america -- what is merck doing politically about the situation? i'll quote from the article. this is what they're doing politically. quote -- "at the same time top merck officials are urging congress to loosen the nation's immigration laws to allow more foreign workers into the united states." in september -- in a september 10 letter -- this was last september, the thousands speaker john boehner and minority leader nancy pelosi, merck vice president for human resources urged that the u.s.
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admit more high- and low skills immigrants to -- quote -- "address the reality there's a global war for talent" -- close quote and to -- quote --"align our nation's immigration policies with its work force needs at all skill levels to ensure u.s. global competitiveness." we got too many people unemployed. colleagues, the number of people unemployed in our country is not accurately reflected by the simple unemployment data we get. when you look at the number of people in the work force prone years, i think it's 18 to 65, we have the lowest workplace participation, the lowest number of workers as a percentage of the population, any time since 1970's. it's been declining steadily. it's a fact, everybody knows it, it's not disputed. if anybody wants to dispute
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that, come to the floor and tell me where i'm wrong and they won't, because it's well accepted and democrats and republicans are talking openly about it because it's a serious challenge for america. we don't have enough people working. we've got too many people living off the government. and having to have aid and assistance and that kind of thing. we need to create jobs for americans first before we bring in foreign workers to take those jobs. we're going to help our people to sustain their life, we'll make sure that they have food and even housing and aid if they are unable to work and don't have enough to live on and we'll provide health care for them, education for their children and so forth. but we need them working first before we bring somebody else to the country. and i would say to my me market business friends i don't think you can win the argument we have
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a shortage of labor but other wages are down and i know you believe in free markets, that things balance out in a competitive world and if the wages are down, that indicates we have a soft labor market, not a tight labor market. wages go up when there are not enough employees, and businesses have to pay more to get good employees. and it's gone down from 2007, as i said, from 55,000 median income for american families to 50,000, adjusted for inflation. this is a very unusual de-china. i'm not sure we've ever seen this, except maybe the great depression. so this is a matter we need to talk about some more. so watching american corporations fire american workers while appealingor

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