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tv   U.S. Senate 10182017  CSPAN  October 18, 2017 11:30am-1:31pm EDT

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colleagues has offered a plan to provide health care for everyone in america paid for by the federal government. that would cost tens of trillions of dollars ove. over a dozen members of the senate have signed on to it as a plan. there's no plan to pay for it. not $1.5 trillion like the tens of trillions over the next dozen years. a lot of concern there. it kind of boils down to we're prepared to spend it but if this is money we're going to take and give it to you to spend, that's a real problem and irresponsible. that's kind 6 the framework. the second point i would make on the debt is i believe the debt is a significant threat to the future of the united states. the problem is we can't tax our way out of it and we can't simply grow our way out of it. we have to do a combination of things. the first is we have to grow our economy, and the second thing we have to do is bring some constraint to future spending. not slash medicare, not get rid of social security. my mother is on social security and medicare. this may surprise many people
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watching, but there are a significant number of people in my whole state of florida on social security and on medicare. as i said, my mother is one of them. i'm an enormous supporter of these programs. i also look at these programs and i look at the number of people going into it and how long they are going to live, and the math tells you these programs are going to have some big problems in the years to come which threaten not just to take them down but threaten to trigger a debt crisis in america. so we have to deal with the spending side and create a more disciplined way of spending in the future years to bring some certainty, but we also have to grow the economy. in essence, if you just take a stagnant economy, no cuts in the world are going to get you there. you can't just simply cut your way and can't simply tax your way. the only solution to our debt problem and it happens to be good for america all around is the combination of discipline on future spending combined with rapid, robust, and sustained economic growth. and as much as anything else, this effort of tax reform is, among other things, an effort to generate sustained economic growth, and to do so in a unique
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period in the history of the world. this is not 1986. we are not -- our economy is not the only show in town anymore. there are now dozens of developed economies around the world that following our example from the 1980's reduce taxes, reduce regulations, frankly made investments in infrastructure and the like, and today they are no longer recipients of our aid. they are no longer nations looking to work with the united states to get a little closer to the way we are. they are full-blown competitors in the global economy. so every four years, -- every two years, actually, once in the winter and the next two years in the summer, we send our best fleets in different events to the olympics to compete. in our economy, it is the olympics every single day. and what makes it even more complicated is that sometimes our team isn't just made up of americans. our team is partnered with the japanese team to create a company or the mexican team to create a manufacturing chain. so that complicates it further. but the fundamental thing to understand is america today is in a competition.
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and by the way, a competition that doesn't have to be one where they lose and we win or we lose and they win, but a competition nonetheless. and every day, businesses, investors, ideas, people with ideas are making a decision where do i want to do this activity? where do i want to create this new job? where do i want to create this new company? where do i want to innovate this new idea and where do i hire people to do all this? do i do it in america or do i do it somewhere else? and we are not performing well in that competition. it's not just because of taxes. we have infrastructure problems that we have to confront. we have a higher education system that is not built for the 21st century. we are not teaching people in sufficient numbers the skills they need for some of the best jobs in the world. look, i have no problem with a four-year degree from a liberal arts college. that should always be an option on the menu. but we need a lot of plumbers and pipefitters and electricians and people that can do -- welders. these are important jobs as well, and in fact oftentimes pay
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a lot more than a four-year degree in political science will ever pay you. we need to do a better job of training people in those fields as well. we need to have an immigration system that's pro-american, a pro-american economy that allows us to compete for the best talent in the world. if you think about it, i don't see anybody complaining that their team just signed a guy that can throw 98-mile an hour fastballs but he is from the dominican republic. in sports, we go out and find the best people. we should be able to do that in our economy as well, and you can do that without hurting the american worker. we also have to have a tax code that's competitive. it cannot be substantially more complicated and expensive to start a business or operate one in america than it is somewhere else, because if we do that, we will lose. and that as much as anything else in this global economy is hurting the american people. you talk about putting america first. i think it's about allowing america to compete. i'm not asking for an unfair advantage over other countries. we're just asking for a fair chance to compete because i believe the american people,
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given the chance to compete, can outthink, outinnovate and outwork anybody in the world, and our tax code is a key part of it. and so the goal here, when you hear a lot of this talk about businesses getting this without deduction, is we want to make america an attractive place to invest. we don't want people taking that money and investing all of it in another country. we want them to invest it here, invest it here to allow a company to grow and hire more people. we want companies to decide this is the place we want to hire, this is the place we want to innovate. we have to have a tax code that reflects that. we have to understand that the vast majority of american businesses don't pay taxes the way the big companies do. they pay the small businesses through passthroughs. and a lot of these -- you know them because i know them. these are not sophisticated operations. they are successful but they don't have an army of lawyers to deal with a complicated tax code and accountants that know every trick in the book. to them, the tax code hurts them, especially since they are paying on their personal rates. and that's why the personal side is related to the business side. these are things that we need to
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deal with so we can be competitive, so we can have more taxpayers. not more taxes. more taxpayers. more people making more money, not just improves the quality of life, it generates more revenue to pay for the bridges, the roads, and the national security of the united states of america. so tax reform, as much as anything else, is the growth side of this endeavor, and it is not the only thing we need to do, but it is an important thing we need to do if we are going to let america compete and win in the 21st century global economy. there's another dynamic of the 21st century that's different from 1986. and from that i rely heavily on my own personal experience, not just today but growing up. in 1986 -- what would that have been? ninth grade or something. my parents, my mom worked at kmart, and my father was a bartender in miami. we owned a home. we didn't have everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed. and they were able to sustain a family and allow us to go to
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school, public school, go on to college, and all -- and do those sorts of things on the salary of a bartender and a stock clerk at kmart. i don't need to tell anybody here that there isn't a community in the country at this point in the 21st century where my parents could achieve the standard of living that they had in 1986. for two reasons. everything costs more, and those jobs either don't exist anymore or have not kept pace with that cost of living. now, throughout -- since the year 2000 up until today, my wife jeanette and i have been raising four children in the 21st century. i enter it by telling you while we certainly have been blessed to have more resources available to us than the vast majority of people who will be impacted by what we're about to do here, i certainly have enough people in our lives and have certainly had periods in our lives where we understand some of the challenges facing people today. and here's the bottom line.
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raising children in the 21st century is more expensive than raising children at any point in the history of this country, and the reason is there are more things to pay for. i know people may tell you that wi-fi and access to the internet is a luxury. i'm sorry. you can't do homework in the 21st century with your kids if you don't have access to the internet. and that costs money. not only do you have to have access to the internet, you have to have access to it in a mobile device, and those mobile devices cost money. those data plans cost money. if you don't -- if you're paying for a data plan, you know how much they cost. it's not just about watching movies on netflix or talking to your friends on snapchat. you literally didn't do homework in many of the schools in this country in the 21st century unless you have access to it. that's why i have personally witted people at mcdonald's -- witnessed people at mcdonald's at 6:30 in the evening because they have wi-fi and the single mom or single dad is there helping their kids with homework. the cost of everything keeps going up, of clothing, of food,
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of everything. and you look at our tax code, and it has not kept pace with it. so let me give you an example. accounting for inflation, from 1960-2015, which is when the latest numbers were available, the average cost per child of raising that child, in a middle-class family, went up by over $11,000. over $11,000 more expensive, adjusting -- accounting for inflation. here is a stunning figure. and again, this is different in different communities, but by and large for middle-class families -- and by that, we mean a firefighter and a teacher who are raising a child. they're going to spend approximately $230,000 to raise that child in the 21st century from zero to 18. and by the way, my oldest is now 17 1/2. i have been told by plenty of my colleagues it doesn't end at 18. in many cases it begins to
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accelerate in some form or fashion. nevertheless, $230,000. let me tell you something else, that doesn't even include college. that doesn't even include going to college, which is another thing we're going to right now, which, by the way, is completely and totally out of control in terms of what they are charging. and it's more than that. it's more than that. there are people now out there spending $10,000 or $15,000 on s.a.t. prep courses. for the live of me, i don't understand how these schools can expect someone who comes from a single-parent home in a poor neighborhood could keep pace with people who are having these sorts of resources available to them, but that's another topic for another day, but that's a cost that's involved in all of this. how about child care? in 38 out of 50 states, child care is more expensive than college. so think about it. you make -- let's say you take home $900 a week, and child care is $250 or $350 a week. that's a third of your paycheck just for child care. so these things are reducing the ability of families to afford to
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have children and to raise them, and these costs keep going up. and so one of the things that we have offered as a partial solution -- it's not going to solve every problem -- is to increase the child tax credit, and to do so in a way that actually helps people. because what this would do it would reduce families' tax bills on a per-child basis, increasing the flexibility that family has at a time when, for example, child care costs have risen more than ever before and are already higher than they have ever been. so if we want -- and i think the other advantage is this is not -- we have to understand the family is the most important unit in all of society. it's the most important institution in society. it's the first government. it's the first school. it's the core institution that underlies everything else we do as a nation. there is no more important job that any of us will ever do than the job of a parent. and if you think about our tax code, it says if you invest money in a piece of equipment or a business, the tax code will help you with that, but if you invest it in a future american taxpayer, if you invest it in
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someone who you are going to need to build the sort of economy and future we want for our nation, the tax code does not really take it into account. that makes no sense to me. i have two charts here to kind of outline how important this tax credit is to tax reform. and again, i'm operating off the framework because there is no bill out yet, but based on the framework, the amount of tax relief that a working or middle-class family will get almost entirely depends, almost entirely will depend on what we do with a child tax credit. so here is the first chart. this chart shows the average tax cut for american families if the child tax credit is doubled from its current size -- not just doubled but we make it refundable against payroll tax liability, which is the tax every american pays, right, for social security and medicare. it's the first chunk that comes off your paycheck, no matter how little you make, everyone pays it. we make the child tax credit double and we apply it towards your liability on payroll tax, this chart which is what i have proposed, what senator lee and i
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have been working on, what ivan ca trump is advocating and we have worked with her office on it, it shows you what the impact would be, and that's the blue line. you can see from the blue line that that chart begins with some cut, depending on how much money you make, and it begins to drop as the amount -- obviously, the more money you make, the larger the credit will be up to its limit because of you can't get a credit if you're not making any money at all, even if applies to payroll tax. but you start to see it also grows with the number of children because it's per child. so it doesn't just phase off at two children. and that's the blue chart. now, what's the red chart? the red chart is that we do nothing, or basically just do a gimmicky thing about it. then you tart to see without the child tax credit being made refundable and without the child tax credit -- payroll refundable and without the child tax credit being per child and sufficiently increased, this framework would be a tax increase. people will actually pay more.
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and the more children you have, the bigger your tax increase will be. so suffice it to say, we have got to do it. this red line cannot be what we wind up at. i don't think that's the intent of the people who drew up the framework, but that's where we wind up if we don't do it. i pull that chart out to show you how important it is we do it as part of this framework. it won't happen, it won't pass without it. it's the right thing to do. this is a pro-job, pro-family initiative. i actually think it's pro-growth. it's hard for economists to measure it that way but it would be. there are a lot of people that can't start a business because they can't afford to leave the security of a tern type of employment. the tax credit leaves that up for them to be able to do. let me get to the second chart if i can get it up real quick. how can we -- this kind of shows you basically the same dynamic but now based on how much people are making, what kind of jobs they do. so we picked out just arbitrarily some of the jobs that many of us know people are in these fields -- home health aide, retail person, working
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sales, macy's, whatever, office clerks, we all see office clerks every day, a truck driver, a vocation like a nurse, firefighters, obviously i have three firefighters in my own family. again the $1,500 tax credit with only the first thousand refundable, you start to see the red line here, how pathetic it is for these folks in these proinvestigations -- professions. doesn't really do much. look at the blue line. that's where we want to get to. that's at least $2,000 child tax read applied to their payroll tax. now you start to see the figures get better here. you start to see the home health aide getting about $1,000 in relief. the retail salesperson a little bit under $1,000. the truck driver between the truck driver and office clerk getting down here to $1,400. the nurse getting down here at about $1,it00. the firefighter -- $1,200. the firefighter at $1 jrks 200. it's not going to change the
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world but it will help. i didn't say it was a solution to every problem. the other solution is to get the salaries up higher. that's the other part of it. but the other solution is to get the cost on in of -- on some of these things lower. get a grip on the cost of -- getting college credits. the other solution is to provide more opportunities for child care options for people. but there's no way this doesn't help. it helps. it helps. and it helps the people we need to help. and it helps us get closer to the goal that we all have for this nation, and it is a place of equal opportunity because we pride ourselves on equal opportunity, but i am telling you that we are lacking equal opportunity if two children growing up in two different homes, one has access to quality pre-- pre-k education and quality schooling and then the right support for that schooling and one does not, biff the time you're a junior and -- by the time you're a senior and senior, it hurts you. it absolutely hurts you on your
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way forward in life. this is not the solution to all of our problems. that would be misleading but it is a big step in that direction and it would show in tax policy that we are supporting the most important institution in society which is the family. the most important function any of us will ever do which is to be a parent. and we are investing in america's future. the children being raised, the two, three, four children, you know who those are? those are the people who are going to fund social security and medicare when i retire and many of you retire. these are the people that are going to be starting the businesses and these are the people that are going to be the backbone of our economy, not in 50 years. in the next 10, 15, 20 years. this is the future of america literally and figuratively, the future of our nature that we would be investing in. and we would be allowing their parents to make that investment on their behalf who are the right people to be making it. and so this has to be a part of whatever else happens. and i think this has strong bipartisan support. i know the white house supports it. i'm optimistic it will happen.
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the only thing that will keep it from happening is if tax reform itself goes down. but this has to happen. there's no choice but to do it and it's the right thing to do. i'm pleased we've come this far on it. now i look forward to the work to get it achieved, but it can't just be a gimmick. it can't just be we increase the child tax credit by a little bit. if we don't do it right and sufficiently and structured in an appropriate way, we'll be raising taxes on working families. that can't happen. i know no one here wants to see that happen. we'll have a lot of debates about everything else but this is the one i hope will have strong bipartisan support as we move forward on tax reform and i look -- i'm excited to be able to work on it. mr. president, i have five requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leader. the presiding officer: duly note -- duly noted. mr. rubio: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to start by making it very clear that this -- this is not the way our
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budget process should work. in fact, even call this a budget process gives it more credit than it deserves. with republicans in control of the white house in both chambers of congress, the budget process has now descended into chaos and dysfunction. i talked about this in the budget committee. but i'm going to keep talking about it, because it is important. first of all, mr. president, look at the date. we are debating a budget for fiscal year 2018 months too late and more than two weeks into the fiscal year we are supposed to be budgeting for. but second and far more important is this. we're not really here to talk about a budget. we're not really here to have a debate about our values and our priorities or where we should be directing our limited natural resources. we're not here to talk about what or who we should be investing in as a nation. we're certainly not really here to try to come together around a
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shared vision for where our country can head next year or five years from now or even ten years from now. democrats two want to have this -- democrats do want to have this conversation. we believe this is a critical debate to have, and we would love to spend time on this floor debating a budget that opens up that conversation and puts us on a path towards working together to actually get that done. but, mr. president, we all know we're really here because republican leaders want to start another fast-track partisan process to jam legislation through congress and do everything possible not to have to work with democrats. and for what? to give more tax breaks to the rich, to raise taxes on the middle class, to circumvent any debate about a major environmental decision that would be unwise and potentially catastrophic, to blast a hole in our budget that will increase
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the deficit, blow up the debt, and put social security, medicare, medicaid, education investments, health care, and so much more priorities at risk. so, mr. president, all this isn't just shameful, and it's not just wrong but it isn't going to work. we've all seen what happened in the last few months. republicans have spent months trying to jam trumpcare through congress. they refused to work with democrats. and here we are now months later with democrats and republicans now finally working together to improve health care after months of delay. so, mr. president, i say this to my republican colleagues. let's skip this first part. let's skip this partisanship and dysfunction and acrimony and bitterness and let's move, right now, to the bipartisan work and negotiations that we all know that our constituents actually want and expect. i know it won't be easy, but i'm
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confident we can get it done. because, mr. president, all we are asking is that president trump keep the promises he made on the campaign trail to put workers and the middle class first. so it shouldn't be that difficult. and the choice could not be clearer. should we give president trump and his cabinet of millionaires and billionaires more tax breaks? or should we cut taxes for the mom or dad who's working to jobs or struggling to pay their mortgage or help their kid go to college? should we preserve and protect medicare and medicaid? or should we allow those critical programs to be cut to give tax breaks to the rich. that's really the crux of this debate. mr. president, democrats believe that workers and the middle class should get tax breaks. and from everything we're seeing about this republican plan and everything we are seeing in this budget today republicans don't agree. so i'm hoping we can move away
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from this partisan process and really get to work for the people we represent. and i'm hoping we can return to a budget process that allows a true debate about our values and our priorities as a nation. we should be here talking about the path to another bipartisan budget deal that will restore the investments in domestic and defense priorities. we should be having conversations about ways to strengthen medicare and medicaid, not cut them. we should be talking a lot about how we tackle our deficit and debt challenges fairly and responsibly. and, mr. president, i want to note on that point i find it especially interesting that so many republicans spent years pretending to care about the deficit when it came to making cuts to middle class priorities. but the minute it came to handing tax breaks to the rich, all of that went out the window. and one republican even admitted
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to "the new york times" that deficit concerns were nothing more -- and i quote -- a great talking point when democrats are in charge. and with the budget that would add trillions of dollars to the debt that's on the floor today, we will see where people actually stand on that issue. and finally, mr. president, we should be talking about ways to help our workers. we should be talking about ways to grow our economy from the middle out, like making sure we have access to high quality child care and pre-kfor every work -- pre- pre--kfor every wog family. investing in retirement for our working families. we should be talking about how we're going to support our veterans and protect women's health care rights. there's a lot we should be talking about in this budget. those are the conversations we should be having. those are the people we should be investing in. so i'm going to be doing everything i can in this so-called budget debate to keep
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the focus on the people i came here to fight for. and i'm going to stand with democrats and families across the country to fight back against republican attempts to jam a massive partisan tax break for the rich through congress and force working families and middle class to pay the price. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island ree. mr. reed: thank you very much. i rise in strong opposition to the budget resolution for fiscal year 2018. let me say consideration of this budget resolution seems surreal not only because of the timing coming as it does three weeks into the fiscal year but also because of the real challenges the united states faces today. we have important work to do. at this moment three states and to u.s. territories are struggling to recover after significant natural disasters. the resources we are providing simply are not sufficient.
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in addition, we sadly and tragically have observed las vegas just experienced the worse mass shooting in american history breaking a record, an only nowtion and sinister record set only last year in the tragic mass shooting in order. but there's -- in orlando. but there's no serious bipartisan effort to address gun violence. after president trump's reckless efforts to sabotage the affordable care act, congress needs to act to stabilize private insurance exchanges. i think we were all pleased, at least i was, to see senator alexander and senator murray take strong steps in the last few days to do that. it bea appears, however, they're once again being undermined by the president. next week the president is officially going to declare what we all have recognized over several years an opioid crisis as a national emergency, but
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declarations mean nothing but the resources to help. and this is an emergency. we need to provide those resources now. but given this budget resolution before us, those resources won't be available. states are already taking steps to reduce health care coverage for kids under the children's health insurance program and services through community health centers because we have not been able to act in time to reauthorize these critical initiatives. we face international crises in iran, iraq, and north korea which are inflamed unfortunately every time the president seems to teet or declare -- tweet or declare or to claim about these issues. before december 8 the president and congress need to come to an agreement to provide relief for funding caps for defense and nondefense priorities. the president and congress also need to act immediately to undo the crisis created by the president's executive order on daca which will put thousands of
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dreamers at risk of deportation and have adverse impacts on our economy. this budget addresses none of these challenges. in fact, it so weights tax cuts to the rich and deficits that we will not have the resources to deal with any one of these issues. instead after the president took steps that would cause millions to lose their private health insurance last week, this budget will pave the way for trillions of dollars in cuts to health care offered under medicare and medicaid. last week the president basically tried to strangle the affordable care act. now the goal is to undo medicare and medicaid. and that's astounding. but the real goal behind there is not just undoing these critical programs for every american.
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the real goal is to provide trillions more in tax cuts which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest. the majority will say the budget only lays out a broad fiscal plan and that none of the details have been set, but we have seen this play before. it's -- it starts with tax cuts for all but it will end with nothing short of a historic transfer of wealth if low and middle-income americans to those who are prospering the most in this country. it starts with the promise of a balanced budget but it will end with greater deficits. it will start this time when after a long and difficult recovery from the economic crash under the bush administration, the economy is finally moving forward with stock markets high, low unemployment and low interest rates. nothing about our current economic situation demands massive deficit-busting tax cuts, particularly for the wealthiest americans. indeed, it's instructive to look back to the 2001 and 2003 bush
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tax cuts. these tax plans were also paid for with trillions of dollars in debt because the nation was nearly at war. these plans also overwhelmingly favor the top 1% of americans. we were told then that the tax benefits would trickle down to the working class and pay for themselves. i oppose these tax plans because i didn't believe that would occur and in fact it didn't occur. despite the substantial benefits overall household income was weaker than ever. with weak regulation and oversight, this fiscal policy ushered us into the great recession. now the g.o.p. is poised to do the same thing yet again. just for contrast, in the early 1990's, under president clinton, democrats took tough
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votes to raise revenue and rein in spending. despite predictions to the contrary, the economy took off on one of the biggest economic booms in history. and at the same time we turned budget deficits into the first surplus in a generation. there are lessons in that experience. there are no shortcuts to restoring fiscal order. tax cuts do not pay for themselves. and you can't balance a budget while cutting revenue. so how does the majority promise to turn straw into gold this time? by paring $5.8 trillion in cuts from basic services including medicare and medicaid with deficits and rosy assumptions. the g.o.p. says it can balance the budget by $1.5 trillion. never mind the tax cuts to the wealthy will likely cost more than $1.5 trillion and never mind this budget assumes absurd
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cuts to nondefense programs and leaves spending to defense at sequester levels which we all recognize are inadequate. but even if the numbers are phony and built on unrealistic assumptions, won't most americans be getting a substantial tax reform in this plan? no. about 80% of the tax cuts will go to the top 1%, increasing their after-tax income by about 9%. nearly half of that money will go to the top .1%. meanwhile the bottom 80% of americans wage earners will get only 13% of the tax cut. many hardworking families with children could actually see their taxes go up. based on the tax policy center's analysis, most rhode islanders who would get a tax cut would see only $190 or less out of this deal. and that's less than the cost of
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a week's worth of groceries for a family of four. yet, most rhode islanders and most americans stand to lose much, much more to the inevitable cuts and investments like medicaid, pell grants, title 1, health research and public infrastructure. most middle-class families in my state depend on programs like these to send their children to school, they need pell grants and stafford loans. to make sure that their elderly mother or father is well cared for, they need the assistance of medicaid for nursing home facilities. so that $190 tax cut will be nothing compared to the losses they will incur in the cost of college to their children, in the cost of health care for their parents just struggling to get by. on the other hand, people in the top income bracket will get a tax cut large enough to buy a new mercedes. they will pocket that money,
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invest it or send it overseas. that money doesn't trickle down, and working americans are losing in this tax deal, will not see it in their paychecks. the american people deserve a better deal than this budget resolution offers. i know president trump and the leadership on the other side of the aisle are desperate for a legislative win. they have spent the entire year trying to ram through a partisan trumpcare bill that would upend our entire health care system, kick over 30 million americans off their insurance and make massive cuts to medicaid harming our most vulnerable citizens including seniors, children and people with disabilities. the process, the tactics and the product, even members of their own party and americans cross the political spectrum, after having failed with trumpcare and all the other challenges we face, the majority leadership has set a deadline of november 13 for committees to produce a tax cut legislation. all the other business we need
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to do must wait until we cut taxes for the wealthy. i know there's room for compromise and that there are members of goodwill on both sides who are actively working to address many of the real challenges i earlier mentioned. tax cuts to the rich shouldn't be on our to-do list, let alone at the top of the to do list as it is today. one of the things we should be standing up for is our men and women in uniform by providing the revenue we need to support them. but when it comes to providing that revenue, this resolution takes a need and gives revenue away to millionaires and billionaires. this is a truly rigged process. its only purpose is a fast-track tax cut for the rich. for that reason, i will oppose this budget resolution and will urge my colleagues to do the same. with that, madam president, i will yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, thank you, madam president. last week the trump administration took a very important step, a step to end the war on coal and the war on american energy. the environmental protection agency said that it has begun the formal process to roll back the obama administration's so-called clean power plan. this plan was the cornerstone of the democratic efforts to destroy the reliable forms of energy that the american public continues to use today. my goal is to make energy as clean as we can as fast as we can without raising costs on american families. the trump administration wants exactly the same thing. the steps it announced last week will help provide greater energy security, more jobs, and a stronger economy. this is exactly what president trump promised that he would do. it is exactly what the american people voted for last november.
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americans said that they were tired of washington's out-of-control regulators. president trump took action right away. he issued an executive order in march telling his administration to go back and review some of president obama's worst energy regulations. one of those was the clean power plan. it's a plan that tried to regulate power plants in a way that wasn't even allowed under the clean air act. president trump's executive order was the first step in correcting this bureaucratic overreach. last week's announcement by the environmental protection agency was the next step. with this move, the agency is saying that washington will no longer trample on the law. it tells the rest of washington that there are limits. so i applaud president trump and scott pruitt, the administration of the e.p.a. the agency was created, created
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because america needed to do a better job of making sure that we had clean air, clean land, and clean water. there's a right way to do this job, and for a long time the agency did its job well. we can strike and need to strike the right balance. we need to do that again so that we can protect our environment while allowing our economy to grow. we can have reasonable regulations that protect americans while also respecting the law. my home state of wyoming is one of the most pristine, beautiful places in the world, and it is one of the most energy-rich places in the world. wyoming has struck the balance successfully. and so have many other states, madam president. we're addressing threats to our environment through the cooperation of states, towns, indian tribes and washington. the environmental protection agency did not get the balance right with its clean power plan.
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it overstepped its bound, overstepped the bound to fulfill a political agenda. in 2008, when barack obama was running for president, he said that under his policies, he said, quote, if somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. he went on to say it's just that it will bankrupt them. bankrupt them. once he got into office, he did everything he could to keep that promise and to bankrupt as many coal companies as possible. the obama administration pushed out unnecessary, unlovely regulations on coal producers, on power plants and on their customers. look at the difference between the two presidents. president obama promised to bankrupt american energy producers, and then he misused his power in order to do it. president trump promised to promote american energy sciewrpt and economic growth, and he's
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following the law to do that. the law never gave the environmental protection agency the authority to write its clean power plan. the agency went ahead and did it anyway. that's why states sued, sued the federal government to block this destructive bureaucratic overreach. states knew, people knew that the environmental protection agency had written a dangerous regulation that would shut down american power plants and would raise energy costs for american families. their rule would have thrown thousands of people out of work in wyoming and in other states. it would have led to as much as $33 billion in compliance costs in the year 2030. that's what the agency estimates. $33 billion in compliance costs. last year the supreme court decided that this rule could do so much damage that the court
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stopped president obama in his tracks. last week the agency recognizes that there is a better way. it's going through the process to set aside the old rule and take a fresh look at what it could or should do legally. it said that any regulations at these power plants is going to be done the way every new regulation should be done. that means listening to the people who have the most at stake, like the states and the communities affected by these regulations. it's especially true in places like wyoming where there are already partnerships in place, partnerships that can accomplish many of the goals of the new rules. it means that washington should consider the costs as well as the benefits of regulation, and it should use reasonable estimates about both the costs and the benefits. in twitter, the supreme court -- in 2015 the supreme court criticized the obama
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administration for another rule that made this same mistake. the court says it's not, quote, rational, not rational, never mind appropriate to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits. that's the courts. you know, if washington is going to write regulations the way that they should be done, this means acting rationally and it means following the law. the clean air act didn't give the environmental protection agency the authority to write its so-called clean power plan. that should have stopped the regulators right there and then. it should not have been a sign for regulators to interpret the law in a brand-new way that congress never intended it. that's what the obama administration did anyway. if washington knows regulations right, that means doing them in a way that provides calculator,
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not confusion -- that provides clarity, not confusion, not more questions. it means doing what's best for america, not just what is the preference of the people writing the regulations. madam president, we are blessed in this country with enormous natural resources. our goal should be to use these resources responsibly, in ways that protect our environment and help to make our economy grow. we need a strong economy. that's what the american people are looking for. over the eight years of the obama administration, the leaders of the e.p.a. created broad and legally questionable new regulations. they declared a war on coal and a war on american energy. under the trump administration, the war is over and america, madam president, is back on the right track. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. we are now debating the budget resolution for f.y. 2018. and the main reason which, why this budget resolution is before us is to allow for floor consideration of tax reform. so i want to talk a little bit about what i would hope would be our guiding principles in a way that we would proceed on tax reform, because tax reform is needed in this country. our tax code is overly complex. there is significant problems, particularly as we harmonize with the international community. there are things that we need to do in our tax code to make it a fairer tax code, make it a simpler tax code, to raise the revenues we need in order to make sure that we don't have deficits. there's things that we need to do. so i would hope that we would have three guiding principles,
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and i'm going to talk about those three and how the budget resolution that came out of the committee would violate each of these principles and why i cannot support it as it has been presented by the committee. first, we should have an open process on tax reform. the last time we did comprehensive tax reform in 1986, it took well over a year for us to complete the work. we had numerous committee hearings, we had a lot of public input because when you change the tax code, it has lots of different affects, some of which are not apparent. there are a lot of tradeoffs and we need do this in an open manner. it is also important to have a bipartisan product because we want the tax code to remain in tact so people can plan. we don't want to see a tax code changed in one congress only to be radically changed in the next
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congress. that only happens where you have a bipartisan agreement where democrats and republicans are working together in order to bring about a consensus change in our tax code. it doesn't work if it becomes a partisan process. the budget resolution that has been presented on the floor by the budget committee fails on this first guiding principle. it is not a process that will lead to a bipartisan result. it is one that is a partisan process, reconciliation by definition becomes a partisan process when a budget resolution is bassed -- passed along party line votes. secondly, under reconciliation and the rules of the senate you cannot enact permanent tax changes because it would create deficits outside of the budget window. for that reason, if we want permanency in our tax code, let's use regular order where we can bring amendments to the floor without restriction and at the end of the day we can pass
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permanent changes to the tax code which is in the best interest of the taxpayers of this country. once again, first principle on open, fair process, the budget resolution by the committee fails. the second principle i would argue all of us should agree upon is that we don't want to finance the tax changes through debt, that it would be wrong for us to do debt financing of tax relief because that only adds to our national debt and deficit. it's -- it affects our economic growth. it really presents, i think, a moral issue. do we really want our children and grandchildren to pay for what we spend today? the budget resolution presented by the committee fails on the second guiding principle. by its own instructions it allows for a $1.5 trillion increase in the national debt by
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the tax changes that are presented. there is no pretense here but to say that we will allow for a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit. but to make matters worse, there's a provision that was put in the budget resolution that allows the budget chairman to bring the bill to the floor without getting the congressional budget office tax committee score. we will be allowed to vote on a bill that will increase the deficit the well beyond $1.5 trillion without the objective scoring by those responsible to know what impact it will have on the economy. we will get an opinion by the chairman -- chairman of the committee. to make matters even more problematic on the deficit, the guiding principle we have here on what the committees are looking at was presented by what
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is called the big six, that is the fiscal leadership of the senate -- the republican fiscal leadership of the senate, the republican fiscal leadership of the house, along with the fiscal advisers to the president. they've come in with an outline that doesn't add up to $1.5 trillion. it adds up to a much greater deficit number than $1.5 trillion. we're starting with deficits well in excess of $1.5 trillion and being asked to vote on something that we don't know what it will do to the deficit. that is a test we all failed that we shouldn't do this and increase the deficit. the third guiding principle should be one that is fair. we want to be fair to the taxpayers of the country. the truth is middle-income taxpayers are overburdened.
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we certainly don't want to pass a tax bill that will increase the burdens to middle-income taxpayers. i would think we all would agree on that particular point, but you look at the budget resolution presented by the committee and it fails on that test. it eliminates the estate tax, hundreds of billions of dollars of costs financed by middle-income taxpayers to the .it% -- .2% of the wealthiest in this country. it fails on the tax -- that is eliminated on the individual side on the corporate side. there's tax cuts, breaks, reduction of rates for the wealthiest neaps this country -- taxpayers in this country. how is it offset? some testify is not offset. to the extent that we know it is offset, the budget resolution
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will allow for cuts in medicare and medicaid. we're going to cut medicare by almost $500 billion in order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in this country and we call that a fair tax bill? we're going to cut the medicaid program by $1 trillion. we just went through that debate on the floor of the senate on the changes in the health care system where we had significant cuts to the medicaid system and we saw the public reaction, and rightly so, because when you cut medicaid you're cutting the lifeline for many hardworking families that may have had a child born with a difficult medical condition, those are the families at risk. why are we giving it? to give a tax cut to the .2% of the wealthiest people?
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the budget resolution fails on the third test of fairness. so whether it's failing on process, on increasing the deficit or not being fair to middle-income families, this budget resolution should be rejected. now, i saw where the big sition, i referred to them before, we have their outline. it's a broad outline. i acknowledge that. it's heavy on promises on tax cuts and it's very light on how they are going to finance it so some of us can start filling in the blanks as to who are going to be tarts for losing important provision -- targets for losing important provisions in our tax code. in0 cup -- in a couple of provisions we don't have to guess. one is the loss of deduction on the state and local tax that's we pay. to me this is a direct attack on federalism. it's the same taxpayer who pays
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state and local taxings that pays federal taxes and now we're going to tell those taxpayers they are going to have to pay taxes on taxes. that makes absolutely no sense. it's a direct attack on federalism. the work that our states and local governments do to provide services to taxpayers in this country should have the exact same respect as what we do at the federal level of government. and we can only surmice that -- surmise that might not be the last attack on federalism. there could be an attack on how states finance their programs. that has been on the list before and there are big gaps as to how they will reach a $1.5 trillion deficit target. that concerns us because state and local governments have been hit by restrictions at the national level as to how they can borrow money.
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another area that we don't really have to guess about is the impact it's going to have on the real estate market. we know the trigger to the 2009 recession started in the housing markets, and yet this proposal that is likely to be done if you eliminate state and local taxes, you're eliminating the deductible ability of probability taxes and if you do that, you affect the value of homes. the largest single asset for families could be jeopardized. the outline said we're going to look at all of the standard deductions, will we look at mortgage interest deductions and compromising that? will the deductions be as valuable as they are under the current tax code. if you reduce the value of a deduction, you reduce its worth and you reduce the value of real
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estate. madam president, i've been working for many years to improve retirement security. i'm very proud to have worked with senator portman on these issues and we have done a lot of things to make it easier for people to save for their retirement and yet we don't know how the proposal under the budget resolution will affect retirement security, but we do know there's been discussions about the roth-zation of the 401(k). if you pay into a 401(k), you don't have to pay on the contributions, you pay for it after your retirement. if this happens, it means you would no longer have the ability to defer taxes on the contributions you make as you can today on a 401(k). and if that's mandated, it will affect people's ability to save for their retirement and affect
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retirement security in this country. here's the rub. it doesn't raise any revenue. it's just the timing of revenue. rather than collecting -- or by collecting it today, we lose it tomorrow. it builds in a larger deficit in the out years. it is actually contrary to good budgeting from the point of view from preserving us from going further into debt. we don't know if that will come out of the committee, but it could come out of the committee in order to moot the in -- to meet the instructions recommended by the budget committee. i could use the same arguments about how we could jeopardize the new market tax credits which are very important for economic developments, the historic tax credits that affect economic growth, the work opportunity tax credit that affects hiring people who have challenges in the workforce, low-income housing tax credit that gives us affordable housing. all of those tax credits could lose value or could be
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eliminated under the outline that we have before us. so i will -- i hope we adopt some amendments. that's not -- i hope we take a different course, but there will be amendments that i hope will be offered to eliminate the use of reconciliation for a tax plan so we can truly have a bipartisan tax bill that can stand the test of time that we demand that we have the scoring before we vote on it so we know what we are doing, that we won't deficit finance tax changes that -- that we don't jeopardize the state and local tax deduction or the interest deduction or the retirement savings we have today or the various tax credits. i hope we will all clarify that together. i hope we will get some of that done during the amendment process. let me make this clear. there's a better way. there's a better way. let's give up use of this partisan process and start from
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the beginning on a bipartisan process to recognize -- that recognizes that we need tax reform. we need to do this, but let's do this in a bipartisan manner, let's know what we're doing, let's be fair to middle-income taxpayers, let's do in a way -- do it in a way that will not increase the size of the deficit and stand the test of time and give permanent reform to our tax code. that's what we should do. and i regret we are heading down a path that will make that impossible. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, madam president. i've had a little bit of time to listen to some of the speeches that have been given on the floor today. i want to talk about a few of those today. my great colleague from maryland who i have had the great privilege to serve on the same committee. he has talked about amendments. the definition of an open
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process is to be able to offer amendments. we are going through something called vote-a-rama where rewill have amendments -- where we will have amendments. mr. cardin: will my colleague yield for a question? mr. gardner: i would be pleased to yield. mr. cardin: do you believe the open process will begin at 2:00 a.m.? mr. gardner: if the gentleman would like to work with us on the budget process, i hope he will. we have not changed it since 1974, the year i was born, maybe a few years after that. we ought to change the process so it works for the american people. we ought to do something to make this process more effective. we've heard people talk about medicare, medicaid. these are important social safety nets for this country. people in my community, my parents, our families, people we've lived with and known for our entire lives rely on
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medicare and medicaid. there's a big birth that washington has this ability to increase funds but yet rename it as a cut. that's what's happening here. you have a group of people in washington, d.c. or that are trying that washington, d.c. kabuki dance where they say a decrease in the rate of increase is a cut. now that's like saying my son who is six years old, if he grows four inches next year, if he's supposed to grow four inches next year, the doctor says your son is going to grow four inches next year based on the chart. if he comes in and only grows two inches that year, did he shrink? no, he still grew. but in washington,d.c., they'd say no, no, he's shorter than he was. this is absurd. let's be honest with the american people. medicare increases in funding. we have tried to be more responsible with the dollars that we have because guess what? the united states is in debt. and the way that we're going to
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fix that is to be responsible with the dollars that we have and to grow our economy. a couple of weeks ago i saw a map of the united states. it showed distressed communities in this country. it showed that the haves have more and the have-nots have less. and it's time we do something about that in this country. it's time we fix this fact that there are countries -- there are counties in our country that are suffering. there are communities in our country that haven't seen a new net job for nearly two decades. we can do better than that. it's been 30 years since congress last passed major tax reform. it was 1986. i was 12 years old. for those who are wondering what the number-one movie was the last time we passed tax reform, it was "top gun." a new hit movie. the one thing i wanted the same year we passed tax reform was i wanted an atari 700. that's what i wanted the last time this body passed tax
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reform. fast forward to today. the last time we did tax reform 30 years from then, we now live in a word of self-driving cars and cell phones but we still have an atari. it's clunky, bloated with more pages than any of us would care to read. the tax code is longer than the bible and unlike the bible there's no good news in it. it feeds this suspicion that you can gain the tax code if you're wealthy. but if you're an average person or small business you'll be stuck with the bill. we can do better. that's the opportunity we have now and we must seize it. we must seize it in a way that helps hardworking american families and businesses to create jobs on main street, to change this unfair system that we have. because when i go across the state of colorado, throughout our four corners of our great state there are people that i meet who have been very scuffle. if you go to den -- very successful. dozens of construction cranes on the horizon, talking about
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showing the success that we've had in that state. you go to southeastern colorado, western colorado and northeastern colorado and there are pockets of poverty that remain strong as ever because we haven't been able to find the tools necessary to grow the economy the way we should. that's what this debate allows us to do, to grow this economy, to give this nation firing on all cylinders again. it's the opportunity we have and should seize it now, passing this budget, leading the tax reform to make sure we can grow american opportunity and innovation because too many people in colorado, too many people have, haven't had a meaningful pay increase for far too long. and they know that they spent too much time working through a tangled mess of rules just to file their taxes that are too high to begin with, as a country we spendsix billion hours and $263 billion each year just to jump through all the hoops and tangles and check the boxes of our atari-era tax code.
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$263 billion that we're spending on a 1986-era tax code just to file the code, to check the boxes, fill the forms, pay the accountants, to find the lawyers. that's the entire g.d.p. of the nation of new zealand. $263 billion, that's more than the g.d.p. than new zealand. we spend as much money preparing and filing our taxes in this country as the entire economic output of the nation of new zealand. american people need relief. it starts by reducing the number of brackets, simplifying the tax code, reducing our rates. for many american families this will leave them with more money in their pockets at the end of the day. it also would cut that six billion hours that are spent on working taxes -- spent working trying to file taxes and leave families with more time to do things that matter to them, not trying to fill out a tax code but let them be with their family, let them be at work, let them invest the way they want to with their time and their money.
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but it's just a start because in the end, a death tax will also bring relief to working americans. let's start with the death tax. i've heard people criticize the death tax. it's unfair and at times cruel. that should be enough for congress to repeal it. we have a tax that causes families to have to consider breaking up businesses that have been in the family for generations or selling off the family farm just to keep what they built and what they already paid taxes on all because somebody died. the government seems to think that death is a taxable event. when i visit with colorado's farmers and ranchers, one of their biggest concerns -- i met with a group of ranchers this past week who said the repeal of the estate tax is more important to them than passing a new farm bill because it's aeffecting their way of life. these aren't billionaires we hear so much complaints about on the senate floor and the critical op-eds and pundits on tv. these are farmers and ranchers whose family have been working
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for generations dirt under their finger nail. people who have been sufficing sufficing -- sacrificing to build up capital. if you're fortunate enough to have incredible land in colorado underneath your farm or ranch, maybe you homesteaded around aspen, are you going to be forced to sell that land in 36 acre parcels so you can pay the estate tax when it was open spate and we were able to conserve that open space and enjoy that great beauty? washington, d.c. driving local development decisions because of estate tax. it's suffocating our way of life in rural america and it must end. froarnlg business taxes will -- reforming business taxes will bring tax relief to american families. the corporate tax rate is the highest in the world and employees are paying the price for uncompetitive corporate tax rates. we have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. president obama said in a in his
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2011 state of the union speech. if you look at what we can do by decreasing tax burdens on american businesses, we can actually increase the average american household income between $4,000 and $9,000 a year. this is an average increase to american households across the country. this isn't millionaires and billionaires. this is to hardworking american families who are just trying to g.e.d. ahead in life. -- get ahead in life. $4,000 at a minimum in their pocket as a result of lower tax rates. that's not just a onetime increase either. we're not talking about a onetime hit. the tax foundation says that workers across the income distribution will feel the effects year after year. now you go home and you ask your constituents whether or not they'd like to have more money in their own pocket or whether they'd like to have that in the hands of washington or wall street. you know what? i'm pretty sure they're going to say i can spend it better than any bureaucrat, any member of congress could.
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if i'm going to keep it i'm going to make smart choices for my family. that's what we have to focus on. the council of economic advisors put out a report explaining how reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to to% will result -- to 20% will result in the average american household going up to $9,000 and it's worth walking through what they said. before 1990 when corporate profits went up by 1% worker wages actually went up by more than 1%. before 1990, profits go up by 1%. workers wages go up by more than 1%. since 1990, that relationship between corporate profits and workers has changed. over the last eight years from 2008 to 2016, a 1% increase in corporate profits only increased workers' wages by .3%. .7% decrease. part of the reason for that is our incompetitive corporate tax rates. we'll go to another chart to illustrate what has happened. during that same time from 1990 up until this decade, foreign
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countries, foreign nations figured out that lowering the corporate tax rate leads to more money in their workers' pockets. while our tax rate has stayed stubbornly high, the high tax rates in other countries plummeted. here's an example. the u.s. decided we're going to keep the highest tax rates while other economically developed countries are dropping theirs. they're dropping theirs resulting in higher wages for their workers. today u.s. corporate tax rates are far higher than that of any other country that i talked about today. in fact, look at this. under the -- if you look at what, where the united states is right now, here we are right here. top of the chart, 35%. that's the u.s. federal only tax right there. 2017 average statutory corporate tax rate. look at the oecdk united states. look at shash, 20%, is 15% lowe. look at europe, 18% and some countries in europe are going lower because they realize when they lower their taxes they have done a better job attracting businesses, creating more work. it would be tempting, i think,
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by some to assume that taxing corporations just skims some of the cream off the top. you're going to hear rhetoric over the next several rates about lowering corporate tax rates being a giveaway. here's the sad truth. and i hope people take the time to learn this lesson. it's the employees that bear the burden of corporate taxes. studies show that workers pay between workers -- workers pay between 45% and 75% of corporate taxes in the form of lower wages. how do you fix that? lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% will alleviate that burden and result in higher income to that average american family, allowing them to keep as much as $9,000, have a wage increase of $9,000, an effective increase of $9,000 as much as that each and every year. it's an average increase according to the council of economic advisors. once those effects are fully
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felt those effects are going to continue year after year across all income distributions. we'll go to another chart here. that's $4,000, $9,000 a family is going to be able to spend the way they want to. it could be the difference between having a rainy day fund and living paycheck to paycheck. it could be the down payment on a new home or a route to a better education or a way they can do what they want to with their free time if they have some, if they're able to get some because of our innovations that we're able to create and the jobs we're able to better and the wages people are able to see increased. it's about them putting more money into their families instead of their government. none of that's going to happen, though, with this current atari tax code. none of that is going to happen unless we can give families and businesses the relief that they need. that's what we have the opportunity here to do today. this week when we approve the budget, set the stage for budget reform, the budget bill to move forward on tax reform,
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tax relief, allowing the american people to keep more money in their own pockets. we can provide meaningful relief with a simpler code, less hassle, less squandering of money to avoid the unfair death tax and more businesses hiring more workers and paying i higher wages. that's why this budget is so important. it's why i hope it's approved this week and we set the stage for p brighter future in the coming months, years as we fight for every chance for the american people to keep the dollars they worked so hard to get. thank you, madam president, i yield back. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that it be in order to call up the following amendments and that the senate vote in relation to the amendments following disposition of the sanders amendment number 1119: nelson 1 15. heller 1146. sanders 1 120. collins 1151. further that there be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to all votes in the series at 3:00 with the exception of ten minutes prior to the vote in relation to the heller amendment and that no second-degree
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amendments be in order prior to the votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you madam president, very much. i'd like to begin by quoting david stockman. david stockman was the head of the office of management and budget in the reagan administration. and he wrote a famous book after his tenure as running the office of management and budget. it was called "the triumph of politics: why the reagan revolution failed." let me read you a quote from david stockman's book. this is what he says: the hard part of the supply-side tax cut is dropping the top rate. the rest of it is a secondary matter. the general argument was that in order to make this palatable as
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a political matter, you had to bring down all of the brackets. but i mean the plan was always a trojan horse. to bring down the top rate. that quote from david stockman is in his book, "the triumph politics." he wrote about how president reagan sold massive deficit-busting tax cuts for the wealthy by making knowingly erroneous arguments, by making faulty economic arguments. and as we stand here on the senate floor today debating the trump budget of 2017, we focus on what mark twain once said, that history doesn't repeat
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itself. but it does tend to rhyme. so this looks very much like what reagan tried to pull off in the early 1980's to no avail. his book is very clear as to why they were unsuccessful. because the reagan era promises of economic growth and budget surpluses turned out to massive and deficits. there's some kind of nostalgia for a reagan era that never existed and instead a painting of a past that just has to be replicated today. so let's look at what david stockman said he did and why it turned out so unsuccessful for
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president reagan. the republicans are back again with a new budget but they are using the same old bag of tricks and gimmicks from more than 30 years ago. so is this their -- this is their plan and it is very simple and it is identical. two assume unrealistic growth from your policies that will magically balance the deficit, and finally, number three, use those questionable economic assumptions to provide massive tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations in our country. the budget we are debating today hits all of these points. it claims to balance the deficit while in reality it is a blatant
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attack on the middle class for the benefit of the super rich. let's start with the budgetary trick, unspecified cuts to domestic problems. back in the 1980's, david stockman called these magic as asterisks. in reality it is somebody else's problem to figure out at a later time. today we are dealing with a budget containing more than $1 trillion in completely unspecified and unallocated funding cuts over the next decade, the magic asterisk. please vote for this budget, but do not take any responsibility, my republican colleagues, for telling the american people what programs will be cut.
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number two, second, we have the same unrealistic economic growth assumptions that stockman referred to in the 1980's as rosy scenario. that's what he called it. today we are being told that tax cuts for the wealthy will magically grow the economy to $1.2 trillion and somehow pay for themselves. history has taught us tax cuts do not pay for themselves. it was not true under raying p ann, david -- under reagan, david stockman tells us this, and it didn't work under bush and it will not work under president trump. they continue to use the fairy tale economic assumptions for the same reason they did in the 1980's. the tax cuts for the wealthy do
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not look completely irresponsible to the american people. can we sell the people once again on rosy scenarios, on unspecified cuts, on a budget that is balanced sometime in the future but not the responsibility of these members of the republican conference at this time out on the floor of the united states senate? can we pull it off again? can we fool the american people again? can we hide our real agenda which is to give a huge tax break to the wealthiest people in america and in the same way that david stockman called that the trojan horse, to get a tax break for the wealthy, so too they built the trojan horse to give tax cuts to the wealthy without touching anything like political kryptonite, they will not lay out what programs will be cut in the future. that's why these tax cuts are
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irresponsible. the framework that republican leadership has presented is to avoid details and what it will do to families. it doesn't specify what it will do to small business. and it is completely silent on how it will assist workers who have been struggling for years to keep up with rising cost of living. but what the republican tax frame is crystal clear on is how it will benefit the wealthiest americans and corporations. in fact, the tax framework released by the republican leadership will send 80% of the benefits directly to the top 1% of the wealthiest individuals in this country. ronald reagan redux, david stockman redux. 80% of the benefit goes to the upper 1%. what did david stockman say? the plan was always a trojan
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horse to bring down the top rate and so what we have now is a republican party genetically hard wired in order to the do -- to do the same thing that failed as an economic policy in the early 1980's. it was so bad that republicans had to actually get together with democrats in order to fix it it was such a -- it was such a catastrophe after it went into effect. this particular version of it will provide tax cuts for shareholders and c.e.o.'s, it allows the richest 1% of all americans to concentrate wealth to a greater degree, and while middle-class families will actually see their tax bill go up, they want to take away the state and local tax deduction. we're going to see millions of americans with an actual tax increase who are the middle
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class. there is almost nothing in this bill that helps the middle three quintiles. there is nothing in this bill that helps them. they know it, by the way. they know what they are doing. they know 80% of this is going to the upper 1 percentile, they know that it doesn't go to the middle three quintiles and they know they will take away the tax breaks from state and local taxes. despite the talk about how the tax giveaways for the rich will pay for themselves, the republican tax plan will create a $2.4 trillion hole in the deficit and we know what the trump administration will do with it. they will go where the 1980's plan did not ultimately go, to gut medicare, gut medicaid, gut social security.
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to their credit -- let's give them credit. at least on medicare and medicaid in this bill they actually do talk about their specific cuts. they actually talk about them. a $475 billion cut in medicare. if you can hear that grandma and grandpa. they are going to cut medicare by $475 billion in this bill. grandma and grandpa may be old but they are not stupid. they know what you're doing. they are going to figure this out. they want to cut medicaid by $1 trillion as well for those tax breaks for the upper 1 percenters. there's your plan. grandma and grandpa are going to understand it, the american people are going to understand it, but it's all toward the trojan horse to get the tax break for the upper 1%.
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the recent report from will -- will cut critical programs like education and transportation but unspecified at this particular point in time because they know it will create a political nightmare for them. it will be nitro hits glicirin. republicans said that -- we couldn't finance infrastructure, we couldn't do anything about the health care of people who need it in our country because of the threat to our national debt. but before that we were famously told in the 2000's that deficits don't matter. and right before that -- before that david stockman was
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convincing president reagan that df sits were no concern and should not get in the way of tax cuts for the wealthy. we have seen this before and now once again it sounds like the present rhymes with the past and we come back to the central erroneous premise of the republican party, which they continue to try to sell to the american people, that it's possible, simultaneously to have massive tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, to increase defense spending simultaneously and massively and to balance the budget at the same time. it's not possible. the american people know it. they've seen it in the past. they are trying to run the same old movie past the american people, but it's all, in the immortal words of david stockman, toward the goal of a trojan horse to bring down the rates to the wealthiest people in american. that's the choice the american
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people are going to have to make. this budget is a. mr. moran: ral -- is a moral disgrace to be considered out here. mr. markey: medicare and medicaid, this is shameful. madam president, i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from flew mexico. -- from new mexico. mr. udall: madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that melanie authorityon, a congressional -- thorton be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 115th congress. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. madam president, i wanted to rise today to talk a little bit about something very obscure that's buried in this budget bill but something that's very, very important to me. i -- first, before i talk about the specific policy issues, i just wanted to talk about a personal exploration i had, and this is with regard to the arctic wildlife refuge and this area called the 1002 area. i had the opportunity in the 1980's to take a raft trip down across this arctic coastal plain and down to the sea. and part of the reason was that many of the alaska senators at the time said if you're going to make policy in alaska, you ought to see that part of alaska. i took the opportunity to see it
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and took a raft trip down the river called the houla river which flows into the beauford sea there. i can say from my personal experience this is one of the wildest, most magnificent places on the earth. and to talk a little bit about the creatures and critters that we saw there. we saw the beginning of the caribou migration which occurs in canada over to this area. it is one of the biggest migrations in the world of a mammal cease cease. -- species. we vaw -- we saw grizzly bears and one came to our camp and we had to retreat until it moved
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along. we saw polar bears and we saw what a marvelous and just incredible area this was, what a rich, rich echosystem it was. and i was reminded of my uncle mo, congressman morris udall who was the author of legislative protections for this area. and he required congressional action to drill in the arctic national wildlife refuge and in this 1002 area. he did that because he realized how significant and magnificent it was. and, you know, one of the things we have to realize is what we're protecting here. people travel all over the world to go to the serengeti and see
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the migrations of the animals on the he is engetty plain. this -- serengeti plain. this is very much like the serengeti. in fact, it is our serengeti. when you have animals migrate from canada and to alaska and back. this is our serengeti. it's a special place. it's a real treasure. and i don't have any doubt in my mind that we should save it. now, madam president, the arctic national wildlife refuge represents one of the world's wildest and most biodiverse places. its coastal plain or the 1002 area here is the biological heart of the refuge. there's no other place like it on the planet. congress showed remarkable restraint and forethought when it put the refuge under federal protection. and i'm proud that my uncle mo
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udall was instrumental in passing legislation that doubled the size of the refuge. under that law, only congress can open up the 1002 area for drilling. today i rise in strong opposition to the republican proposal to drill for oil in this remarkable place. i will fight their plan tooth and nail. and the only reason they are doing this is to pay for tax cuts for big corporations and tax cuts for the richest americans. madam president, the arctic wildlife refuge coastal plain is an environmental time machine. it is a rare place on this earth where almost everything has been preserved as it was 10,000 years ago. oil and gas development will change its delicate ecosystem forever. you could never get it back.
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this refuge is the largest arctic conservation area on the globe. it's part of our national heritage. it's part of the world's heritage. and that's why i compare it to the serengeti, where people travel from all over the world to see that migration, the same thing is true here. it would be wrong to plunder this magnificent area for short-term gain, especially when that gain is speculative. the 1002 area is home to 37 species of land mammals, eight species of marine mammals, 42 fish species and over 200 species of birds. migratory birds fly in and out from every state and every continent out of this area. the coastal plain in the refuge is only 20 to 30 miles wide. no other equivalent slice of
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alaska's north slope is as biologically diverse. here are a few examples of the wildlife that depend on this area. here's a photograph of a caribou, and its young during the spring calving time. the 1002 area hosts the largest and most concentrated herd of porcupine caribou in the world. 197,000 caribou make the longest land migration of any animal, 2,700 miles to give birth there on the coastal plain in the 1002 area. their numbers are strong now, but even a small change in reproductive rates could threaten the herd's existence. now here is a picture of a polar bear. 900 beaufort sea polar bears den on and offshore in the 1002 area. the magnificent polar bear is
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threatened under the endangered species act, and with climate change causing sea ice to melt rapidly, more bears are expected to den onshore. and here is a photo of the musk oxen. about 250 musk oxen live there year round. this impressive mammal survived the last ice age. but forcing them from their habit at that time -- their habitat now could threaten their survival. people also depend on the refuge. the guiechen have lived there for thousands of year. caribou represent about 80% of their style. they use it for clothing, food and shelter, they make fishhooks and other tools from
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the caribou bones. the guichen are spiritually tied to the caribou as well and they have a saying that, quote, every caribou has a bit of human heart in them and every human has a bit of caribou heart. the people depend on the caribou for spiritual surviefl and oil development would threaten their very future. the republicans' budget resolution instructs the senate energy committee to identify at least $ 1 billion in deficit savings over the next ten years. the republicans have their sights on the 1002 area to produce that $1 billion. as i said, this estimate is highly speculative. but for the sake of argument, let's assume that the number, $1 billion, is correct. it still doesn't even scratch
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the surface of the $1.5 trillion deficit the republicans recklessly propose. it's not even one-one thousandth of the money the republicans need to raise to pay for the megadeficit they will rack up to pay for a tax break for the super wealthy. opening the arctic refuge is not necessary for u.s. energy independence. we are now an oil exporter, and oil prices are low. low prices are forcing companies to stop drilling in areas that are much more accessible and less sensitive to development. opening the refuge now makes even less sense and more people are demanding fuel efficient. when people are demanding more fuel efficient and electric cars. the arctic national wildlife refuge is one of the last truly wild places in america. the decision to protect the
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refuge from drilling was done carefully and thoughtfully. the decision to undo that protection should be given the same care and thought. but we haven't held hearings. we haven't even been able to hear and question experts, directing the energy committee to draft legislation to raise funds without a public process is premature. the american people will have to live with our decision. this rushed proposal shortchanges them and it shortchanges future generations. mr. president, there are few places left in the world where the arctic coastal plains, foothills and mountains and the wildlife they support are wild and free. the arctic national wildlife refuge is one of those places. this unique, grand, and biologically rich place deserves full protection in perpetuity.
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mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. president. i want to start by commending the senator from new mexico for his leadership on many issues but today for being here on the floor to protect this vital, beautiful american treasure, the arctic national wildlife refuge. thank you, senator. i want to talk about the budget as well, because i hope everyone across the country will really pay attention to the debate we're having here in the senate both over the next couple of days and over the coming weeks and months. because there's no doubt that if
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you look at the budget that's going to come to the floor of this senate, it is stacked overwhelmingly in favor of the wealthiest americans and powerful special interests, and the benefits that will go to the folks at the very top are paid for in one way or another by everyone and everything else. i want to be very clear, i think we need to reform our tax code. we need to simplify our tax code. we need to reduce the tax burden on middle-class families throughout the country. and we should do that in a transparent, accountable, and bipartisan fashion. but make no mistake, unfortunately what we've received so far from the trump administration is something that has been cooked up behind closed doors. and the more you look at it, the worse it gets from the perspective of making sure the american public is protected in this process. because at the end of the day,
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it's just another warmed over version of what we know of as trickle-down economics. what's trickle-down economics? it's the idea that if you give big tax breaks to the top 1%, the folks at the very top of the income scale, big corporations, that somehow the benefits of that tax cut are going to trickle down through the economy and lift everybody up. the problem is we already have a real-world example of how that whole theory failed, how it ran aground. we saw that in 2001, in 2002; cut taxes in the united states. what went up? what went soaring up were the incomes of the top 1%. the other thing that went up were our deficits and national debt. everybody else was left behind. so, yes, the yachts went up,
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but all the other boats kind of ran aground. and if you look at this chart, you will see that it's been part of a pattern over a long period of time where the incomes of the top 1% -- that's this red line have risen steadily. they bounce up and down usually with respect to some things in the financial markets. but right after the 2001-2002 tax cuts, you saw after-tax incomes of the top 1% shoot up. and did it really help the economy? it did help the economy overcome the financial crisis, and so you saw some of the incomes come down during the financial crisis. but if you look at the pattern, our tax policies and other policies have resulted in this huge dramatic increase in the incomes of the top 1%. everybody else has been kind of static. that's an average. many of those american household are much worse off today than they were even 20 years ago in terms of real income.
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so a lot of people are on a treadmill, millions falling behind. and why in the world we would then adopt a tax plan that actually increases this inequity without improving the economy is just another windfall tax break to the top 1%. and, mr. president, let's just take a look first at the estate tax. it's a great example of how this republican bill, this trump bill is stacked overwhelmingly in favor of the very wealthiest in the united states of america. now, our republican colleagues like to call this a death tax. a death tax. there are 2.6 million deaths in the united states every year. only about 5,000 american
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households pay the estate tax. this isn't a death tax. this is a tax to prevent the growth of dynasties in america. teddy roosevelt would be crawling in his grave as a republican to hear about this republican proposal. because he thought that america should be a place where we don't have an aristocracy, we don't have an oligarchy. we don't just let people sit around and pass on billions of dollars. billions and billions of dollars, and over time what happens is that growing wealth inequality in the united states, instead of making sure that people can sort of make it on their own in the country, which is what we thought america was all about. and just to illustrate the point, if you're a couple and you have an estate of lower than $11 million, your estate as a couple is below $11 million, you don't pay a penny in federal
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estate tax. not one penny. if you're an individual that has an estate below $5.6 million, you don't pay a penny in estate tax. that's why only 5,000 household, the very wealthiest households in the country are the only ones who pay it. in fact, if you look at this chart, you can see these two little red dots out of all of those squares, those aren't -- are the only house holders that are impacted -- households that are impacted. what this republican plan would do is give a $240 billion tax cut over ten years to these wealthiest households in the united states of america. donald trump's estate, they will benefit mightily from this according to bloomberg. i think that's a trusted source around here. and yet, you're going to give that $240 billion tax cut to the super wealthy, and the rest of
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the country is going to have to pick up the bill. and so who's going to pay for that bill and how? well, it really happens in two ways. one is tens of millions of middle-class taxpayers are going to get socked by this tax plan. and the other way is under this bill, it greenlights deep cuts to medicare and medicaid, so you're going to see increased burdens on folks who are on medicare, seniors. i want to talk for a minute about the increase in middle-class taxes under this trump administration plan, increase in middle-class taxes. first of all, under their plan, taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct their state and local taxes, their property taxes, their state and local taxes. you hear a lot about our
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republican colleagues about double taxation when it comes to corporations, and yet their plan proposes the double taxation of tens of millions of middle-class taxpayers around the country. on that dollar, they pay their state and local taxes, and then you're going to tax them on what they paid to their state governments or their local governments, what they paid on property taxes. that's why this plan is opposed by the national governors' association. it's why it's opposed by the national conference of mayors. and if you look at i.r.s. data, you will find that 40% of taxpayers between $50,000 of annual income and $75,000 of income -- that's just that small band -- 40% of them take the deduction for state and local taxes, and you're going to be increasing their taxes under this plan.
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that's almost eight million americans right there. there's another provision in this republican plan that says the bigger your family is, the bigger the tax you're going to pay. you have three, four, five kits. you're going to be paying more taxes than you are paying today. what they give on the one hand in the standard deduction, they take away on the personal exemptions. seniors, low-income seniors are going to see their taxes go up because the bottom rate is increased from 10% to 12%, and the deductions that many of those seniors get, especially if they are disabled, are eliminated. they're going to see their taxes go up. finally, mr. president, -- and i really hope that members will begin to focus on this -- the national association of realtors hired pricewaterhouse coopers to do an analysis of the republican
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plan. here's what they found. and this is from the national association of realtors. homeowners with adjusted gross income between $50,000 and $200,000 will see an average tax increase of $815 a year. and because of the interaction of what you do on the -- with respect to the home mortgage deduction and the fact that it's not as big a benefit and the inability to deduct your local property taxes -- and i want to read this very deliberately. home prices in the short run will fall by an overall average of 10.2%. let me say that again. home prices in the united states will fall by an average of 10.2%. that's pricewaterhouse coopers.
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i'm telling you, they may recover at some point, they say, but i'm telling you if you're a senior and you have got all those savings in your house, and the value of your house drops by 10%, you're in a world of hurt. and that's what the national association of realtors tell us this bill will do. that's on the tax side. that's not the only way seniors are going to be hit. middle-class families are going to be hit on the tax side. their taxes are going to go up, but they are also going to be hit because in order to pay for those estate tax breaks for the superwealthy, the 5,000 households in the country that each year benefit from that, this budget also greenlights cutting medicare by
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$473 billion. and it greenlights cutting medicaid by over a trillion dollars. not only does the middle class take it through increased tax burdens, tens of millions of them, but folks on medicare are going to see that program cut and a trillion dollar cut in medicaid. we just went through a big debate here in the united states senate, and a majority rejected the idea that we should cut medicaid by a trillion dollars, especially in the middle of the opioid epidemic and all the other health challenges we face around the country, and yet that's what this republican budget greenlights. so the bottom line, mr. president, is you have got big tax cuts for the superwealthy, paid for by increasing the tax burden on tens of millions of middle-class
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americans, paid for by cutting medicare and medicaid, and here's the thing. at the end of all of that, this budget is actually designed to increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion. it's written right into this budget bill. now, i served for many years on the house budget committee. i was the ranking democrat. the chairman of that committee for many years was paul ryan, now speaker of the house. and every year, congressman ryan, now speaker ryan, would come up with what he called a path to prosperity. it was a 59-page document. it repeatedly referred to, and i quote, quote, the crushing burden of debt. he mentioned that 12 times in that one budget document.
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and i happen to believe that we need to be serious about reducing our long-term deficits and debt, and our republican colleagues used to say they cared about that, too. but this budget, it actually calls for a $1.5 trillion increase in our national debt. what happened to the fiscal conservatives? what happened to the budget hawks? on the other side of the aisle? it turns out that when it comes to cutting medicare and medicaid , a lot of our republican colleagues have been all in for that, but when it comes to tax cuts, tax cuts on middle-class families -- excuse me, tax cuts on the very wealthy, somehow deficits and debt don't matter anymore because this budget actually calls for $1.5 trillion increase in the national debt. so, mr. president, i really hope
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that we will get to the regular order. let's have a full bipartisan discussion. the only time there has been successful tax reform is when it's been done in a bipartisan, transparent way, and yet what this bill is doing is segregate up a vehicle to try to jam something through on a partisan basis, something that will help the most powerful and the most wealthy in this country at the expense of everybody else. let's not go in that direction. mr. sanders: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you. and let me thank senator van hollen for his very perceptive and i think comprehensive analysis of this horrific budget proposal which is designed to give huge tax breaks to people who don't need it and make terrible cuts to millions of families in this country who are struggling to keep their heads above water. so i thank him very much for his remarks.
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mr. president, for the past ten months, my republican colleagues here in the senate have tried and failed to slash medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars. and even though the american people stood up and said don't do it, medicaid is just too important, they keep coming back and back and back. what i want to tell the american people today is that despite the fact that we were able to prevent cuts from medicaid in the so-called republican health care proposals, they are back again in this budget proposition , holding for a $1 trillion cut in medicaid over the next decade. meanwhile, as senator van hollen just pointed out, these cuts are
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designed to provide a $1.9 trillion tax break to the top 1%. now, there may be some people who think it's a good idea to cut health care for working families and give tax breaks to billionaires. there may be some people. i don't think there are a lot of people who think that makes any sense at all. and so the amendment that i am offering today which will be voted on at i believe 3:00, along with senators casey and senator stabenow, is very simple and straightforward. it would simply prevent the republicans from cutting medicaid by $1 trillion, and it would be fully paid, fully paid for by stopping the republican effort to give the wealthiest people in america another tax
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break. plain and simple, this budget resolution is nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth from working families to the very rich. huge tax breaks for billionaires, terrible cutbacks on programs that working families desperately need. at a time when the middle class of this country continues to shrink and when families in the state of vermont and all across this country are struggling to make ends meet, they are struggling to put food on the table, put gas in their car, to pay their electric bill, to pay their health insurance, maybe put away a few bucks to send their kids to college, it would be highly impork-barrel and bad economic policy to take from these working families, to take from america's senior citizens to give even more to the very wealthiest people in this
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country, people by the way who are already doing phenomenally well. mr. president, at a time when 28 million americans have no health insurance and millions more are underinsured with high deductibles and high co-payments, at a time when so many of our people cannot afford the prescription drugs they desperately need, cutting medicaid by over a trillion dollars would throw at least 15 million americans off of the health insurance they currently have. it is beyond my checks how anybody with a conscience could support legislation that throws 15 million people off of the health insurance they have. think for a moment about people out there who are struggling with cancer, they are struggling with heart disease, they are struggling with diabetes, they
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are struggling with life-threatening illnesses, and they have medicaid. medicaid is their lifeline to the health care they need. mr. president, i hope that you will get up here at some point and tell the american people what happens to those folks when they lose their medicaid? have you done any studies as to how many of those people will die? well, the truth is there have been studies that have been done, and the answer is that thousands and thousands of people every single year will die if medicaid is cut for 15 million people who lose their health insurance. mr. president, let me tell you what happens when you cut medicaid by over a trillion dollars nationwide over a ten-year period. what it means is not only that thousands of our fellow americans will die. it also means that if you are a child with a severe disability,
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perhaps with down syndrome or some other serious problem, you will no longer be able to get the health care that you need to adequately function. an estimated 11 million children, or 15% of all kids in the united states have special health care needs. they may have conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism or one of a host of other serious problems. they may have mental health needs, such as depression or anxiety or complications from a premature birth. today, medicaid covers five million or 44% of these children, providing them with coverage so that many of them can live at home with their families. in addition to standard health care services, medicaid helps these children get special
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education at school, long-term care, personal assistance from nurses and attendants, and may cover technology that helps them thrive. medicaid may also cover social workers to help parents of children with special health needs make sensible the bureaucratic red tape and get the services they need for their kids. medicaid provides these children with quality care. 92% of children enrolled in medicaid have had a primary care visit in the past year which is higher than families with private insurance. if medicaid is cut by $1 trillion over a ten-year period, children with special needs could be left to fend for themselves. what a terrible, terrible thing that is to do to families who are struggling today, to tell them that you are going to mo


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