tv U.S. Senate 10172017 CSPAN October 17, 2017 10:00am-12:48pm EDT
senate leaders during that time. no business set for the afternoon but majority leader john cornyn, told reporters that the senate will likely consider the 2018 budget resolution and house pass the hurricane relief bill this week. now the live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. >> the senate will come to order. >> the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the fountain of all wisdom and power, we're grateful that you still rule in heaven. may our lawmakers continue to
remember that your purposes will prevail and that your justice cannot be thwarted. answer the prayers of our senators as they daily seek your wisdom, guidance, and protection. lord, sustain them with your unfailing love, rescuing them from the destructive forces that go contrary to your will. instruct our legislators even in the night seasons, so that your will may be done on earth even as it is done in heaven. we pray in your great name. do for them exceedingly,
abundantly above all that they can ask or imagine according to your power working in and through them. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate, as i said yesterday, has a full schedule of work before it this fall. it's what the president, the vice president and i discussed at our working lunch down at the white house
yesterday. this week the senate's advancing one of the most important items on our agenda with consideration of the comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2018. it's a good budget that reflects the hard work of chairman enzi and the budget committee. it will help rein in federal spending. it will help our country achieve
balance. it will also help our economy grow. one of the ways this budget will do so is by providing legislative tools to advance tax reform. after a lost decade of missed economic opportunities, america's middle class deserves an economy that reaches for its full potential again, and tax reform is the single-most important thing we can do today to get there. now it's not hard to see why our current tax code is archaic, arduous and often just plain bizarre. it holds our economy back. it can hold workers' wages down. it actually incentivizes companies to shift jobs and profits overseas and it makes the easier for the wealthier and well connected to game the system. yet, it is almost impossible for anyone else to understand it. the constituents from harrisburg, kentucky, wrote to my office exasperated about the
unfair tax code. this is what he said. i'm writing today to express my complete and total disgust for the complex, completely unfair and completely messed up tax system in this country. this constituent who has worked for nearly three decades as a cpa and has helped countless kentuckians navigate the system describes some of the hardships faced by clients, and then continued by saying that the honest, hardworking folks can't get ahead. the cheaters don't get caught. and the rich just keep on getting richer. that was my constituent from harrisburg, kentucky, summing up today's tax code. the story underlines the systemic problems of our tax code and it is often or nation's workers including those in kentucky who continue to bear the burden. recently the kentucky state treasurer wrote an op-ed calling on congress to provide much-needed relief from our tax code. we need tax reform, she wrote,
to increase kentucky's economic growth and for greater middle-class prosperity throughout the commonwealth. i agree. so does president trump, his team, and our colleagues here in congress. we're all in agreement that delivering relief to working families should be at the heart of our plan, and that's what we continue to work toward in developing tax reform. for families and individuals in kentucky and across the nation, we think taxes should be lower, simpler and fairer. our plan calls for doubling the standard deduction and significantly increasing the child tax credit. we'll eliminate loopholes that are primarily used by the wealthy while protecting incentives that benefit the middle class. our plan also reforms the tax code to provide relief to our nation's small businesses and make it easier to keep jobs here in america. in an increasingly competitive global economy, we're working to put american workers on a level playing field. above all, our goal is this, we want to take more money out
of washington's pockets and put more money into the pockets of the middle class in kentucky and across our country. this sounds like a place where we should all be able to agree. republicans and democrats alike. in fact, our friends on the other side of the aisle have often supported the idea of tax reform and bringing jobs back to america. i hope they will again in the course of this important effort. i hope they won't fail, won't just fall into blind partisanship and reject any collaboration simply because they don't like the president. instead, they can work with us in a serious way on an overhaul of the tax code that can truly help the people of kentucky, help the people of the states, and help americans all across the land. i look forward to continuing to work with colleagues here in congress and the administration to pass a responsible budget and to deliver tax reform for the american workers and families who deserve an economy that reaches its true potential once
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: well, first, mr. president, a brief word on health care. senators alexander and murray
continue to negotiate a bipartisan package of legislation to stabilize our health care markets and lower premiums, a process that began over the summer. from what i have heard, they are down to a few final issues and are hopefully close to an
agreement that can be taken back to both of our caucuses. congress ought to show through the work started by senators alexander and murray way back in july, that congress can work in a bipartisan way on health care, that we have no intention of going along with president trump's reckless sabotage of the nation's health care law. last week, president trump showed that he's willing to take a wrecking ball to our nation's health care for the sake of politics without any regard for the people it would hurt -- veterans, senior citizens, kids, folks struggling to afford insurance. president trump was so angry that they couldn't repeal and replace that he instead said i'm going to wreck the system. the problem is it hurts millions of innocent people, all for pique and politics. he's shown that he's willing to put at risk the health care of
millions of americans. president trump's decision to end the cost-sharing program was an act of impulsive malice with no benefit and no end. now, this seems to be his m.o., mr. president. he throws red meat to his right-wing base, whether it's on health care, immigration, iran, disaster aid, and then he says to congress you fix it up. that's not the way to lead. that's following. that's an act that exhibits no strength, no strength. we want our president to be a strong leader, every american does, regardless of ideology, but when the president plays so many political games that are not just harmless, that hurt people and then says to congress
you clean it up and then blames congress for the mess he created, it doesn't work, it's not fair, it's not right, and it's the reason that except for his base, president trump's numbers keep sliding. they are flat now and they're down, below 40%. no president has had such low numbers. and by the way, it's not helping the republican party. numbers today showed a record difference between whether people prefer democrats or republicans. so i would urge we stop this -- these shenanigans. harmful, almost malicious shenanigans, and all work together for the good of our country. on health care, we in congress should continue to shore up the health care markets, lower premiums in a bipartisan way. we ought to reject the path of president trump's sabotage and destruction and instead a path of consensus and compromise.
no side wins everything they want. that is not how the founding fathers set up this country. otherwise, we would be a dictatorship or a country without checks and balances. we ought to work together, together to improve our health care system, to lower costs for people and ensure that more people will have access to health coverage. now, we democrats have been pushing that for several months now. i want to salute senators alexander and murray for understanding that. they have been in careful negotiations, and that represents the best first step forward on health care. so i hope we hear more about them on the status of negotiations. i hope they can come to an agreement, an agreement that includes curtailing the sabotage that i spoke of, that the president is doing. i hope leader mcconnell and i can support this bill together, and then maybe even the house might pass it. the president has said, i think -- you don't know, it
changes from day to day, but i think the most recent pronouncement is he might sign it. now, on taxes, the g.o.p. plan. so, as soon as today, we'll vote on the motion to proceed to the g.o.p. budget resolution which includes instructions to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion, slash medicare and medicaid by $1.5 trillion, and sets up unfortunately, very unfortunately for everybody the same destructive partisan process on taxes that the g.o.p. used for health care. it's called reconciliation. it says we don't need you. we're just going to rush it through just with our votes. it didn't work on health care. it's not going to work on this either. tax reform, if it's real reform, or even just tax cuts, are very complicateed, and if you don't have a -- you don't have the center coming together, everyone
can pick it apart. and they're setting themselves up to do just that. so while the -- and the republican tax plan is little more than principles at the moment. we've talked a lot about these principles. the budget is the first real legislative aspect of the republican plan, and it is so far away from what the american people think, and that's because of the process they decided to use. x you student / x -- when you don't want democrats and just republicans, the majority party can push the debate so far over and say water not voting for -- and say we're not voting for this unless you do it our way. we have a bill that is so out of touch and harmful to all but the wealthiest americans that it is hard to believe that republicans are putting it forward with a straight face. it's going to be the first time,
my friends, that republicans in congress will vote to increase our nation's deficit by $1.5 trillion, which is spelled out clear as day in the budget. i hope, given this increase in the deficit, dramatic, all the republican deficit hawks are out of their nests for this one. for the sake of ideological consistency, the same folks who cried debt and deficit under president obama ought to denounce them under president trump. but we haven't heard much of a peep from a whole lot of republicans on this side, with a few notable, brave, and leader-like exceptions. here's what representative walker, a conservative member of the house said lamenting what was going on. the deficit is a great talking point when you have an administration that's democrat
led. it's a little different now that republicans have both houses in the administration. there's been less talk about it this year with a republican-led administration than there has in the last seven or eight years. he's exactly accurate, representative walker. and the republican leader, may 16, bloomberg tv said, quote, tax reform will have to be deficit-neutral. his words. that's a principle he advanced for years, but we're not hearing much from republicans about deficits now, and yet, i repeat, this budget instructs the committees to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion. it will be difficult for many of my republican friends to say they care about deficits and still vote nor budget. the g.o.p. budget resolution will also be the first time that my republican colleagues vote to slash medicare. the budget spells out over
$400 billion in medicare cuts as well as $1 trillion in medicaid cuts, even more than the health care bill and probably -- probably the number one reason for its demise was the huge slash to medicaid. so it's going to be difficult for my republican friends, and this republican party, to say they want to protect medicare and medicaid and still vote for this budget. and, unfortunately, mr. president, this will not be the first time republicans vote to advance a major piece of legislation changes to our tax code through a hyper partisan process known as reconciliation. reconciliation as was just documented in i believe "politico" was never intended for thiep of purpose. -- type of purpose. with this vote, though, republicans are saying from the very outset they don't really want democratic input on this
bill because they are setting up a process in which they don't really need democratic votes. it's honestly a shame. and just as the partisan reconciliation process portended failure for the republican health care bill, it's likely to portend -- portend failure here as well. it's difficult to pass major legislation in the senate, as it should be, that's what the founding fathers intended. that's the are true conservatism of our government, checks and balances, no rush. it's even more difficult if you only work with the votes of one party. as i said, that allows a small few, usually on the hard right, to dictate what's on the bill. my guess is that the vast majority here didn't want to vote for medicare and medicaid cuts, but because they couldn't get enough votes in the house without putting that in because 30 or 40 members insisted on it,
it's in there. it will not serve you well. if anybody thinks that it will not have an effect, look at the paygo rules. paygo will insist on slashes in medicare. that's a law, not a rule. so i would hope that this -- that our colleagues would vote down this bill and then i promise you, just as we're doing on health care, we can come together in a partisan way. that doesn't mean you get everything you like. it probably means more of the tax cuts go to the middle class and fewer to the wealthy, but there are those who want to see people get a tax cut and see money come over here and be use pd for jobs an who -- used for jobs and who want to see a middle-class tax break. we want to see a bill that will
make this body shine, but the republican congress, at least at the moment on the path that it's on, has abandoned the tradition of bipartisanship, working together, that has made this chamber great through the decades and centuries. now, we can't -- when republicans need democratic votes, they come to us, and, you know, the president and the leader have said, come vote with us, make it bipartisan. that's not what bipartisanship is. you don't craft a bill just within your party and then say, you voting with us is bipartisan. bipartisanship means you sit down together and you come out with a proposal that a majority of both parties can support. they are not doing that. so republicans will spend the entire first year of this congress trying to pass their major agendas through reconciliation or similar vehicles, first with c.r.a.'s,
then health care, now taxes. the majority leader said himself in a speech in restoring the senate, quote, when the senate's allowed to work the way it's designed to, it arrives at a result acceptable tole people all along -- to people all along the political spectrum. if it is an assembly line for one agenda, it creates instability and strife rather than good, stable law. the american people want to see us work together. woo may not always succeed -- we may not always succeed. it may not be easy, but we can try. i say this to my colleagues, there are areas we can agree on taxes, lower middle-class tax, don't raise them. give relief to small business, try to bring the money overseas -- from overseas and put it into infrastructure and job creation.
we can work together but not in this process and not with this awful bill which favors the wealthy dramatically, raises taxes on the middle class, hurts the deficit, increases the deficit dramatically, and is a partisan process. i hope my republican friends deep that in mind when they vote today. if you vote this down, i promise you we will come together in a bipartisan way and work something that actually could pass instead of what happened with health care. try it. try it. reconciliation, working with one party failed miserably for you on health care and now we're coming together. let's not repeat the same mistake on taxes. finally, mr. president, i just heard that the nomination of representative marino to lead the office of national drug
control policy has been withdrawn. that is the right decision and the fact that he was nominated in the first place, it is evidence that the trump administration talks the talk but refuses to walk the walk. the bottom line is this congressman support president trump but is the wrong person for the job, and i'm glad they saw it and withdrew. i want to salute two of my colleagues who were way out front on this, senator manchin whose state has been ravaged by opioids and senator mccass -- mccaskill. she has the kind of legislation that -- will be something that we can support in a bipartisan way. the opioid crisis demands that
the next drug czar is solely focused to get communities across the country the help they desperately need. we hope that the administration nominates someone who fits the bill so we can pass that nominee quickly and in a bipartisan way. i yield
the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of defense, david joel trachtenberg to be principal deputy under secretary of defense. mr. schumer: i ask that we yield back all remaining time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, the ayes are 79, the nays are 17. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the
senate's action. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair lay before the senate the house message accompanying h.r. 2810. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate a message from the house. the clerk: resolve that the house to the bill h.r. 2810 entitled an act to authorize appropriations for 2018 for military construction and for the defense activities of the department of energy to prescribe personnelling strengths and for other purposes and ask for consent from the senate for the disagreeing votes there on. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the presiding officer appoint the following conferees, senators,
mick contain, inhofe, fischer, wicker, brown, purdue, graham, s.a.s., -- sasse, mccaskill, shaheen, blume ernthal, donnelly, contain, king, heinrich, warren and peters. of i know of no further debate on the motion. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate on the motion. the question occurs on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to h. con. res. 71. the presiding officer: the motion is not debatable. the question is on the motion. the presiding officer: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their votes? if not, the yeas are 50, the nays are 47. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: calendar number 245, h. con. res. 71, concurrent resolution establishing the congressional budget for the united states government for fiscal year 2018, and so forth. mr. enzi: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i have four requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the time for the joint economic committee debate be reserved to occur between 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. today.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent for the duration of h. con. res. 71 the majority and democratic managers of the concurrent resolution, while seated or standing at the manager's desks, be permitted to deliver floor remarks, retrieve, review, and edit documents and send e-mail and other data communications from texts displayed on wireless personal digital assistance devices and tablet devices. i further ask unanimous consent that the use of calculators be permitted on the floor during consideration of the budget resolution. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the staff be permitted to make technical and conforming changes to the resolution, if necessary, consistent with the amendments adopted during the senate consideration, including calculating the associated change in the net interest function and incorporating the effect of such adopted amendments on the budgetary aggregates for federal revenues,
the amount by which the federal revenues should be changed, new budget authority, budget outlays, deficits, public debt and debt held by the public. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that lists of staff members at the desk from my staff and from senator sanders' staff be given all-access floor passes for the consideration of the budget resolution h. con. res. 71, and the second list of names be given floor privileges for the remainder of the debate on the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: earlier this month, the senate budget committee took an important first step towards tax reform by approving a fiscal
year 2018 budget resolution focused on growing america's economy through tax policies that put more money in the hands of hardworking americans. this week, we take the next step as the senate begins debating the budget blueprint to pursue long overdue tax relief for families and job creators that will jump-start economic growth. it's crucial that congress approve this fiscal framework in order to eliminate the dated and stifling tax policies that are holding back american investments and productivity. as budget committee chairman, i am proud that congress and the president are tackling these important issues. after eight years of stagnant growth, it's clear that our nation needs a simpler, fairer and more transparent tax system that will leave more dollars in the pockets of hardworking families. the last time congress was able to accomplish large-scale tax
reform was in 1986. just think how much has changed in the country and the world in those 31 years, including our tax code. america's tax laws are incredibly complicated and work to slow our economy and hurt american families. incredibly, our current tax system actually benefits foreign-based companies while harming u.s.-headquartered companies and employers. and we continually ask why jobs are leaving this country. a big reason is the hostile tax landscape. the senate budget aims to help reveers this trend by setting the stage for pro-growth tax reform that will lower taxes on american families and on job creators by a net $1.5 trillion over ten years. by keeping more money in the pacts of hardworking taxpayers,
these reforms, if done right, will boost investment, will boost wages, and will boost productivity here at home. pro-growth tax reform should reward hard work, reward savings, encourage investment. it should broaden the tax base while lowering the marginal tax rates, streamline our tax laws, and limit government distortion of market-based decisions. our tax policy should provide for a globally competitive corporate tax rate and an international tax system that does not penalize u.s. companies. it's no secret that tax policies influence the everyday dollars and cents decisions of individuals and small businesses. they help drive such decisions as whether to work an additional hour or invest an additional unit of capital. this is why economic experts
note that potential economic growth should always be considered when talking about tax cuts. in fact, the joint committee on taxation states, quote, tax policy can directly influence the level of labor supply, physical capital, human capital, and technology in an economy by changing the after-tax returns to certain economic activities or changing the cost of pursuing such activities, end quote. pro-growth reform that removes government distributions of the marketplace would also allow for resources to be re-allocated from what produces the best tax outcome to what's the best economic use. this efficiency will lead to increased investment, increased growth of businesses, and higher economic output or gross domestic product, g.d.p.
in fact, increasing g.d.p. from private sector growth can provide additional dollars to the treasury. let me repeat that. better tax policy will boost the value of everything we produce, and this will mean more revenue for the federal government. according to the congressional budget office, a one-tenth of a percentage point increase in productivity can increase revenue in the treasury by $273 billion over a ten-year period. that's a one-tenth of a percentage point increase in productivity producing $273 billion over a ten-year period. a return of our historic average growth would decrease projected spending deficits by over $2 trillion in the ten-year window, more than enough to pay for the decrease in revenues assumed
under static scoring conventions that don't account for economic growth. that's what we have to operate under. in addition to the senate's budget key role in reforming the tax code, it is a serious fiscal plan. if congress and the administration can adhere to this blueprint, we'll be taking steps to get our fiscal house in order with the combination of restraint spending, reduced tax burdens, and a growing economy. the senate budget committee has put together a responsible budget that provides a path to creating a more effective, efficient, and accountable government for hardworking taxpayers. to accomplish this goal, the budget proposes $5 and one-ten one-tenths trillion in savings while investing in a strong national defense, providing for the care of most vulnerable citizens, and not touching
social security. from the start this budget was focused on achieving on budget balance by the end of the ten-year budget window. by 2026 the resolution with ensuing economic growth from tax reform and an improved regulatory landscape will generate a $79 billion on budget surplus. this surplus would rise to $197 billion by 2027. in addition to the fiscal reforms proposed by this resolution, it also continues efforts to respond to concerns about the broken budget process. this budget promotes curtailing budget gimmicks, increasing honesty and accuracy by government score keepers and ending the spend now, pay later mentality of washington. it's also important to note that the thorough and robust committee process that produced
this senate budget resolution more than 150 amendments from both sides were filed and 29 were voted on during our day-long markup process. this budget reflects bipartisan input and includes five amendments that were accepted from democratic members of the committee. the next step for tax reform will build on the budget committee's open and transparent committee process. majority leader mitch mcconnell and senate finance committee chairman orrin hatch have promised that tax reform legislation will also move through the committee process. in other words, any speculation people have heard about where the tax is is not right because it has a process to go through. this will provide finance committee members the opportunity to offer amendments during the full -- before the full senate considers the legislation. so be considered in committee and then on the floor.
once the bill moves to the senate floor, every member will be able to offer amendments before voting on the measure. mr. president, this budget serves as a framework to expand economic opportunity for each and every american. it reflects our belief in the american entrepreneurial spirit and that by allowing american families and small businesses to keep more of their hard earned dollars, they will innovate and invest money in ways that will grow our economy. we believe that our nation's best days and those of its citizens are ahead of us. the time to act is now. if we don't change course, our nation will continue to experience the sluggish economic growth of the last decade. i urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support america's hardworking families and employers and help put our nation on a better course. approving this budget focused on
pro-growth tax reform does just that. i yield the floor and reserve the balance of the time. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i ask unanimous consent to be permitted to complete my remarks before the senate recesses. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, i know that budgets are not particularly sexy and exciting discussions. and a lot of people wonder about a trillion here and a billion there. what does it all mean? it means a lot. and what it means is that if this horrific republican budget is implemented, what it will mean is an enormous amount of pain for tens and tens of millions of working class and middle class and lower income
people in this country. that's what this budget means. mr. president, after failing to pass a so-called health care bill that would throw up to 32 million americans off of the health insurance they currently have, a bill that was widely, widely opposed by the american people, donald trump and the republican leadership are back again. while i totally disagree with what they are trying to do, i do appreciate their temerity. they're not giving up in terms of trying to protect the interests of the billion their class against the vast majority of the american people. mr. president, the republicans are now pushing one of the most destructive and unfair budget
and tax proposals in the modern history of the united states, a plan that would do incalculable harm to tens of millions of working families, our children, the sick, the elderly, and the poor. the republican budget that we are debating on the floor of the senate this week is the robin hood principle in reverse. robin hood took from the rich and gave to the poor. what this budget does is take from working people, the middle class, the elderly, and the poor to give massive tax breaks to people who are already living in incredible opulence. donald trump and the republican leadership claims that their plan would provide a quote,
unquote, big-willing tax cut for the middle class. nothing could be further from the truth. according to the tax policy center, by the end of this decade, nearly 80%, underlined, 80% of the tax benefits of the republican plan would go to the top 1%. even more incredibly, the top one-tenth of 1%, one-tenth of 1% would receive some 40% of the tax breaks over a ten-year period. a tax proposal which gives 80% of the benefits to the top 1%, 40% of the benefits to the top one-tenth of 1% is not a tax proposal benefiting the middle
class or working families of this country. it is a tax proposal designed to benefit the wealthiest people and the campaign contributors of the billio billionaire class. -- of the billionaire class. mr. president, this budget cuts medicaid by more than $1 trillion over a ten-year period. now, that's kind of strange. the united states of america is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. what the american people want, in my view, is to join the rest of the world and understand that health care is a right that we should not have 28 million people without any health insurance and even more underinsured with high
deductibles and high copayments. yet what this budget does unbelievably is to throw 15 million people off of the health insurance they have with a trillion dollar cut in medicaid. and i hope my friend, and he is my friend, the chairman of the budget committee, might at some point during this long debate tell us what happens to somebody today who is struggling with cancer, with heart disease, with diabetes, with a life-threatening illness who suddenly loses the medicaid health insurance that they have, what happens to that person? i would hope that some of my republican friends would tell the american people what happens because study after study tells us what will happen, and that is, thousands of people will lose their lives. they will die because they will no longer have access to the health insurance they had.
further, mr. president, this budget does what republicans have not yet attempted to do during the past year in their so-called health care legislation, and that is to make a $473 billion cut to medicare. so it's not only a trillion dollar cut to medicaid, it is a $473 billion cut to medicare. now, interestingly enough, i think many americans will recall that during his campaign for president, donald trump told the american people that he would not cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. he said that over and over again. on april 18, 2015 -- this is just one quote of many --
mr. trump said, and i quote, every republican wants to do a big number on social security. they want to do it on medicare. they want to do it on medicaid. and we can't do that, and it's not their to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of a sudden they want to be cut, end of quote. that is donald trump running for president. well, i would say to president trump that's what you told the american people during your campaign. now i hope you will tell your republican friends right here in the senate that they should respect the campaign promises you ran on and that if they pass a budget that cuts medicare or medicaid, that you will veto that legislation. i hope the president has the integrity to do that. i don't think he will, but i would hope that he does that.
mr. president, poll after poll after poll tells us that the overwhelming majority of the american people do not want congress to cut medicare or medicaid. in fact, i think in this country today, if you ask people what their deepest concern is, they're concerned about jobs, they're concerned about income. i think even more so they are concerned about the health care they have, how much it costs, whether they're going to have it tomorrow. and poll after poll tells us the american people do not want congress to cut medicare, which, by the way, is the most popular health insurance program in this country, and they don't want to see medicaid cut as well because they know among other things, that about two-thirds of nursing home dollars comes from medicaid. so if you have a mom or a dad dealing with alzheimer's or some
other terrible illness in a nursing home and massive cuts to medicaid are made, what is going to happen to your parent in a nursing home? people know that. they do not want to cut medicare and medicaid. a recent pew foundation poll finds that 85% of republicans and 94% of democrats want to either maintain or increase funding for medicare. 60% of americans oppose slashing medicaid, according to a recent quinnipiac poll. a recent "wall street journal" nbc poll finds that only 12% of the american people believe that the wealthy should receive a tax cut while 62% believe that the wealthiest people in our country should pay more in taxes.
so what you have is the american people saying don't cut medicare, don't cut medicaid, don't give tax breaks to billionaires. in fact, ask them to pay more in taxes. that by and large is where the american people are coming from, whether they're democrats, republicans, or independents. so then the question arises why is the republican leadership bringing forward a budget that does the exact opposite of what the american people want? and the answer to that question, i am sorry to say, is not complicated. it has everything to do with a corrupt campaign finance system that allows billionaires and the wealthiest people in this
country to exert their influence over the political process. that increasingly it is not the ordinary american, the middle-class worker that the congress listens to, but it is wealthy campaign contributors. today, we have a corrupt campaign finance system that enables multibillionaires, along with some of the most powerful c.e.o.'s in america, to contribute many hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process. many of us believe that the concept of democracy is one person, one vote. you get a vote, you get a vote, i get a vote. sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. majority wins. that's what we teach the children in the fifth grade and the sixth grade.
one person, one vote, majority wins. but unfortunately as a result of the disastrous citizens united supreme court decision, the american campaign finance system has been totally corrupted, and we now have a situation where billionaire families can spend unlimited sums of money to help elect candidates who protect their interests. and not only can they spend that money, that is exactly what they are doing. mr. president, there was a very interesting article in "the boston globe" just the other day, october 14. and this is what the article says. headline -- the koch brothers and their friends want president trump's tax cut very badly. and this is what the article says. the message from the billionairy a word about the koch brothers.
not everybody knows who they are. the koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in america. they are struggling to catch up to the waltons. not quite there yet. they are only worth $90 billion. struggling, but they are getting by, happy to tell you. and with that $90 billion, what they are doing, along with a few of their friends, is spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars every campaign cycle to elect people -- in this case, republicans -- who support their agenda. this is what the article says. the message from the billionaire-led koch network of donors to president trump and the republican congress it helped to shape couldn't be more clear. pass a tax overhaul or else. as the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the st. regis hotel in midtown
manhattan last week just a block south from trump tower, it came up again and again and again. quote -- it's the most significant federal effort we have ever taken on, end quote, said ken phillips, president of americans for prosperity, a koch-aligned group with offices in 36 states. quote -- the stakes for the republicans i have never seen them this high, end of quote. many in the koch network, a vast group of nonprofits and advocacy and political organizations describe the upcoming legislative push for a tax overhaul as an inflection point in modern political history. a do-or-die moment that would define whether their efforts over the years will pay off or not. the network leaders plan to dedicate much of their two-year, $400 million politics and policy budget to the effort, but they
wouldn't give an exact number. $400 million in the next two years to pass this piece of legislation. and this comes from a family, the koch brothers, who are pretty up-front about what they believe. they do not want to cut social security or medicare and medicaid. they'll take that, but that's really not their goal. they want to eliminate social security, medicare and medicaid, and virtually every other federal program that provides help to the working families of this country. and oh, by the way, just in passing, if the estate tax, which is part of the republican budget, is repealed, just in passing, we might want to mention that the koch brothers' family would see a benefit of some $30 billion.
so if your family is going to get a $30 billion benefit, putting a few hundred million dollars into seeing that legislation pass is not a difficult idea. mr. president, this budget makes it clear who the republicans in congress are listening to, and it is not the middle class or working families who do not want to see medicare cut or medicaid cut and certainly do not want to see a $1.9 trillion tax break to the top 1%. i am afraid that my republican colleagues are listening to their top campaign contributors who have told the republican party in no uncertain terms that if they do not get their tax cuts, they will stop providing republicans with hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign
contributions. how sad is that? you think about the incredibly brave americans who have fought for democracy over the years, some of whom never returned from the battlefields, to fight for an american democracy that makes us a country where people rule. abraham lincoln reminded us a government of the people, by the people, for the people. not a government of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the billionaires. and let's be clear about something else. the entire economic theory that senate republicans and president trump have embraced with this budget is called trickledown economics. that's it it is. you give tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, benefits trickle down, they improve the economy. this whole theory is a fraud and has been when it applied an --
has been when applied an abysmal failure. when president reagan and george w. bush slashed taxes on the wealthy and deregulated wall street, trillions of dollars in wealth have been redistributed from the working class and families to a handful of millionaires and billionaires. today, mr. president, we have more wealth and income inequality than any time since the 1920's. today the top .1% own as much wealth as the bottom percent. this would make a bad situation even worse by widening that gap with its trillions of cuts to social programs and gifts to the top 1%. the republican budget we are debating today would make horrific cuts to the needs of working families, and let me just give you a few examples. this budget would give the wealthiest family in america, the walton family of walmart, a tax cut of up to $52 billion.
does anybody in their right mind think that the wealthiest family in this country needs a tax break of up to $52 billion? and they do that by repealing the estate tax. at the same time, however, if you are a low-income senior citizen -- we have too many of them in the state of vermont trying to figure out how to keep warm in a cold winter -- you and 700,000 other senior citizens and families might not be able to keep your home warm in the winter because of a cut of about $4 billion to the low-income home energy assistance program. this budget says that if you are the second wealthiest family in america, the koch brothers, your family will see a tax break of up to $33 billion, but if you are a working class kid right now in high school in vermont or in texas or wyoming and you are scratching your head as to how
you can afford to go to college and in your computations you're looking at what a pell grant might mean to you, this budget would cut over $100 billion in pell grants and other financial assistance programs. this budget gives members of the trump family a tax cut of up to $4 billion, but if you are a low-income pregnant woman, you and over a million other moms, new moms, babies anded to letters, may not be able to get the nutrition you need thanks to a $6.5 billion cut to the women, infant, and children's, so-called w.i.c. program. at a time when millions of wowing class families all across this country are paying 40% or 50% or more for the housing that
they need, this budget eliminates housing assistance for more than a million families due to a cut of about $37 billion to the section 8 rental assistance program and other housing programs. at a time when the cost of child care has skyrocketed, a very serious problem in my state, the republican budget eliminates head start services for 25,000 children each and every year by cutting this program by some $3 billion. in total, the republican budget would cut more than $5 trillion from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, transportation, and other programs that working people desperately need over the next decade. what is alarming is that despite this incredible giveaway for the billionaire class, the koch brothers and their networks say that it's starting up.
they want more, and let us be very clear that their eventual goal -- not today, not tomorrow, but their eventual goal is to see that programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid are completely eliminated. mr. president, let me conclude by saying this -- this budget is not a budget for the people of texas. it is not a budget for the people of vermont or the people of wyoming or the people of the united states of america. this is a budget for the billionaire class which today is already doing phenomenally well. this is a budget for campaign contributors whose greed has no end, who provide millions and millions of dollars to candidates who represent their interests. this is a budget that must be opposed by the american people,
and i urge the american people to tell their members of the senate to vote no on this budget. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate >> senate now in recess for the weekly party meetings. we are planning to bring two comments fly from senate leaders following their lunches. just before going into recess senate members voted to proceed to the 2018 republican budget resolution. that triggers 50 hours of debate on the measure. amendments will be offered over the next couple of days. a vote on final passage expected later in the week. house passed turkey and funding may also be brought up in the senate this week. live coverage when senators return here on c-span2. today christopher sharp will testify before the senate
intelligence committee on his nomination to be inspector general of the cia. live coverage at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. you could watch it firstname.lastname@example.org or.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. president trump i like this tax reform policy at heritage foundations annual presidents club meeting. you can see that live tonight at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. the presidents of planets also on our website for your reading at c-span.org. the c-span bus is traveling across the country here on a 50 her. we recently stopped in charleston, west virginia, asking folks what's the most important issue in their state. >> hey, my name is isaiah smith and that my prelaw major here e university of the charleston and i think the most important issue for west virginia's somewhat twofold. i think it's an issue of poverty which also ties into our drug epidemic. lack of jobs, lack of opportunity, just makes the drug
epidemic worse, and it's just a cycle of builds upon itself. >> i'm a senior political science major at the university of charleston, and one of the biggest issues i see in west virginia now is governor justice pushing for a special election that is going to supposedly pump millions into infrastructure which sounds really, really nice, but when you look at the big picture it's going to hurt my generation and millennials in the future. it says is not going to raise taxes, not going to be problem, but if you look down the road it's just going to screw west virginia a long time and that's not something we need right now. >> tim, speaker of the house of delegates. in west virginia we got some very difficult economic times over the past five or six use, particularly at her coal one of our top priorities is to improve our economy and be able to put people back to work. we have taken a great deal of
different steps to do that, and that's what our priority is right now. >> my name is lauren. i'm a senior at the university of charleston, double major in english and political science. i actually did my senior project on west virginia's what we would consider to be a well-known issue is our opioid dependency issue. so determining a perspective look from larger perspective on individual perspective and determining an issue that would be more effective individually for patients. >> my name is danny jones and i'm the mayor at the capital city of west virginia, charleston. i think the most important issue for us is keeping young people here. because of the plantings around the youth and able to keep the youth, then we will have a state that is young and vibrant and exciting, and full of new ideas. and i think that continuous default is what will make our
city, state great. >> voices from the state on c-span. >> now to a forum on press freedom the executive editor of the new york times and "washington post" talk about first amendment rights and the trump presidency. [applause] hello and welcome to the national press club and to another edition of the kalb report. i marvin kalb. we are programmed -- our program tonight, guardians of the fourth estate, and our guardians are our guests, the executive editor of the "new york times", and martin baron, executive editor of the "washington post." arguably the two most influential edito o